Toledo Ballet Announces Lead Roles for 79th Annual Nutcracker

The longest-running annual production in the nation

Published Friday, October 25, 2019 9:00 am

Toledo Ballet presents its 79th annual production of The Nutcracker with three performances on Saturday, December 14, 2019 at 2 PM and 7 PM and Sunday, December 15, 2019 at 2 PM at the Stranahan Theater, staged by Lisa Mayer-Lang, Toledo Ballet’s Artistic Director with choreography by Gen Horiuchi and additional choreography by Lisa Mayer-Lang and Marie Vogt. Under the direction of Music Director Alain Trudel, Toledo Symphony Orchestra (TSO) musicians will perform Tchaikovsky’s score live to the choreography.

Toledo Ballet’s Nutcracker, the longest-running production in the nation, tells the magical story of Clara, her Nutcracker Prince, and their adventures with toy soldiers, mice, dancing snowflakes, and a Sugar Plum Fairy in the dazzling Land of Sweets. This year’s production features many dancer debuts, Soloists, and Principal roles.

Toledo Ballet is proud to announce Principal dancers Melissa Gelfin and Cervilio Miguel Amador from Cincinnati Ballet who will join the Toledo Ballet cast in this year’s Nutcracker production.

Melissa Gelfin began her ballet training with Lisa Collins Vidnovic at Metropolitan Ballet Academy and continued with Barbara Sandonato and Andrea Long-Naidu at Barbara Sandonato School of Ballet. As a dancer with Cincinnati Ballet, she has danced Principal roles in Septime Webre’s Alice in Wonderland, Victoria Morgan’s The Nutcracker, King Arthur’s Camelot and Romeo and Juliet, Kirk Peterson’s Coppélia, George Balanchine’s Rubies and Serenade, Devon Carney’s The Sleeping Beauty and originated roles in Penny Saunders Nannerl, Myles Thatcher’s Anamoly, and several works by Jennifer Archibald. Gelfin most recently choreographed and performed a solo work in the inaugural 2018 Female Choreographic Initiative Festival hosted by Houston Ballet and performs during the summer months as a dancer in Moving Arts Company.

Cervilio Miguel Amador trained with the Vocational Ballet School in Camagüey, Cuba and National Ballet School of Cuba. He joined Cincinnati Ballet in 2004 as a Soloist, was promoted to Senior Soloist in 2005, and Principal Dancer in 2006. Amador has danced numerous lead roles in full-length ballets throughout his extensive career at Cincinnati Ballet, including Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, King Arthur in King Arthur’s Camelot, Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Peter in Peter Pan. He is currently a co-artistic director of Kansas City Dance Festival and founder of Moving Arts Cincinnati.

“We are honored to work with two outstanding artists in this year’s Nutcracker,” says Mayer-Lang. “Every year is a little different. Marie Vogt produced Toledo Ballet’s first Nutcracker in 1941—which is one of the longest running continual productions in the country—and each year we present a fresh take on the beloved tradition with new Principal roles, casts, costumes, and more. It’s our way of continuing the timeless tale with a new perspective.”

Each year, Toledo Ballet selects two students to perform the role of Clara in its annual production. Toledo Ballet is proud to announce that Sydney Mack and Kiera Lang will perform the role of Clara in this year’s performances. Toledo Ballet is also excited to announce community leaders Gus Mancy from Mancy’s Steakhouse (Saturday, December 14 at 2 PM), Phil Barone from Rosie’s Italian Grill (Saturday, December 14 at 7 PM), and Brandon Fields from Inside the Five, Brewing Co. (Sunday, December 15 at 2 PM), who will perform the iconic role of Mother Ginger in this year’s production. In Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, the appearance of Mother Ginger in Act Two brings a light-hearted distraction from the more serious roles in the ballet. The role is traditionally played by a man, in part because of the weight of the dress.

“This is a time of year that is filled with traditions—we all have our family traditions and musical traditions. I’m so proud that Toledo Ballet’s Nutcracker has become a tradition for so many," says Zak Vassar, President & CEO of the Toledo Alliance for the Performing Arts. "There’s such a sense of spectacle to this production, from the incredible sets and staging to the fantastic dancers and live orchestra. It’s the sort of thing that still enchants us, whether we’re 5 or 85. We are proud that Nutcracker has become part of this community’s holiday traditions and look forward to making more memories with our audiences this year.“

Toledo Ballet’s 79th Nutcracker, presented in collaboration with the Toledo Symphony, will be performed Saturday, December 14, 2019 at 2 PM and 7 PM, and Sunday, December 15, 2019 at 2 PM at the Stranahan Theater. Tickets range from $26-$62 and are available at or by calling the box office at 419.246.8000.


Toledo Ballet and Toledo Symphony are the region’s oldest performing arts institutions. Toledo Ballet, celebrating its 80th year of dance instruction, is recognized as one of America’s finest pre-professional dance programs. The Toledo Symphony, celebrating its 76th season, is recognized as one of the finest regional orchestras in the country. By joining forces as the Toledo Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA), the Ballet and Symphony build on years of history and tradition to present the finest performing arts in the region while reaffirming their shared focus upon education. Toledo Ballet and Toledo Symphony continue to operate as sibling brands under the TAPA umbrella. For more information, please visit


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