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Academy for The Arts to present ‘The Nutcracker’

By Staff | Dec 9, 2014

It has become a Christmas tradition in the arts community, and on Friday, it comes back to the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall.

The North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts will present its fifth annual performance of “The Nutcracker” at 7 p.m., and it is expected to bring in the biggest crowd to date, according to principal Dr. Douglas Santini.

“It’s probably going to be a sellout. As of now we have 1,300 of the 1,800 tickets sold,” Santini said.

Originally, the show was done at the school. But as popularity soared, they had to perform the show multiple times because the auditorium has just 500 seats, Santini said.

“We had to do it too many nights and the kids became exhausted, so we had to find a venue so we can do it once,” Santini said. “Barbara B. Mann has been great to us, giving us a good deal and a great fundraiser for us.”

The money raised will go toward the arts, as the school system pays for the teachers, but the school has to raise the rest, Santini said.

“It goes for musical instruments, dance floors, field trips and competitions and costumes we have to buy,” Santini said. “We have more than $100,000 in costumes for The Nutcracker alone.”

Dress rehearsals were held Saturday at the school for the more than 250 kids who will perform, including Santini, who will play his traditional role of Uncle Drosselmeyer and who savors the opportunity to work with his students.

The show will begin with a performance of Christmas favorites from the middle school choir and will feature eighth-grader Hayden Edison on keyboard.

“Anybody who’s never been to see the show needs to see it. It’s a tradition in Lee County now, people come just to see it,” Santini said. “It’s one of the things everyone needs to see once.”

Tickets are $10, $20 or $30 and can be purchased at the front office at the school or the theater website at www.bbmannpah.com/

For more information, call the school at 997-2131.