THEATER | Zenon’s “Nutcracker According to Mother Goose” is the perfect holiday show for children


What are you getting for Christmas? Mother Goose surprises her characters with magical dancing slippers under the tree. When the characters put on the slippers, they can “hop, skip, and dance” and begin telling their stories in rhythms instead of rhymes.

In Zenon Dance Company’s The Nutcracker According to Mother Goose, the title character, played in a very maternal fashion by Linda Andrews, narrates each dance by reciting a bit of the nursery rhyme and weaving it into a tale the audience can appreciate. She talks directly to the onlookers and has a helper called “Nibbles” the mouse, who runs through the aisles to get on stage. It makes for a delightful and interactive performance.

The scenes are quick enough to hold a child’s interest and packed with colorful costumes and interesting props. The backdrop seems a little lacking, at first, until you realize it’s a huge book and pages are turned according to the performance. Each skit is performed to Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker music, which creates an enchanting effect. Little Bo Peep, with its sassy sheep, is a well-danced piece that the audience appreciated at the performance I attended. Mary Contrary with her dainty flowers and The Mulberry Bush, with a very animated monkey and weasel, were also crowd-pleasers.

the nutcracker according to mother goose, playing through december 20 at the ritz theater. for tickets ($18 adults, $10 children) and information, see

The Nutcracker According to Mother Goose is a perfect play to take your kids to. Every bit is calculated, not only to be creative, but to keep the younger crowd enthralled. The Zenon dancers are as fabulous with their footwork as they are with their expressions, the Ritz Theater is a cozy environment that really suits the performance, from start to finish it is under an hour, and children are able to meet Mother Goose and Nibbles as they leave the theater.

It must have taken a lot of planning to coordinate the Mother Goose tales with the classic Nutcracker musical storyline, but Zenon is up to the challenge. This charming new take on the formal holiday classic will entertain young and old.

This event is featured in the Daily Planet’s complete guide to holiday theater. Throughout the holiday season, the guide will be updated with links to new Daily Planet reviews—so you know who’s been naughty and who’s been nice.