March 9, 1944:
The auditorium at Technical High School in Scranton transformed into a candy wonderland for the production of “King Nutcracker.”
The show was a fantasy suite for ballet and choral music based on the beloved ballet created by Pyotr Ilyich Tschaikowsky, Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, which itself was based on the 1816 book “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” by E.T.A. Hoffmann.
Franz Bornschein, composer and faculty member at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, created the libretto, lyrics and vocal transcription for the newer version of the popular tale.
A total of 125 students from the high school participated in the production under the direction of Margaret Hosie and music direction of Stella Gallagher. The cast included Eileen Garber as King Nutcracker, Marie Tierney as the narrator, Betty Moran as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Jean Lewis as Spring’s Fay. Other students portrayed dancing bon-bons, mints, candy hearts and candy fairies. The school’s Glee Club played the woodland sprites chorus that handled the show’s choral parts.
Students throughout the school also participated in the show through their classroom lessons. In art classes, students made posters for the show, while home economics students created the costumes.
Marywood College’s Glee Club and orchestra previously presented “King Nutcracker” in May 1933 at the Ritz Theater on Wyoming Avenue in Scranton.
Brian Fulton has been the librarian at The Times-Tribune for the past 14 years. On his blog, Historically Hip, he writes about the great concerts, plays/musicals and celebrity happenings that have taken place throughout NEPA. He is also the co-host of the local history podcast, Historically Hip. He competed and was crowned grand champion on an episode of NPR quiz show “Ask Me Another.” Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9140; or @TTPagesPast