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A familiar face directs 34th annual production of the Homer Nutcracker

The waltz of the snowflakes during dress rehearsal on Dec. 1, 2022.
Courtesy of Christopher Kincaid
The waltz of the snowflakes during dress rehearsal on Dec. 1, 2022.

A recognizable figure directed Homer’s beloved Nutcracker production this year.

Sally Oberstein is a Homer local that has put on a number of plays involving sizable casts over her three decades in the community. Most were written by herself or in collaboration with other local talent.

Courtesy of Christopher Kincaid

This year, she was asked to direct the 34th annual Nutcracker by Mayor Ken Caster, who has been involved with the production since its start.

She had just finished acting in Pier One Theatre’s production of Beauty and the Beast in November, leaving her a short window of time to develop a script for the show.

Normally when I write a play, I can take half a year to write it, and I had half a month to write it,” Oberstein said.

Oberstein had seen Nutcracker shows around the world, and read various stories about it, so she had a lot to go off of.

Courtesy of Christopher Kincaid

Now, it was her turn to write a script that would stay true to the classic production Homer has put on for decades. But, she said, she thought past productions were sometimes too dark or scary for younger audiences, so she developed a script with a positive storyline, bright happy dances and even a singing narrator.

Initially, those additions were met with some skepticism.

Everyone ultimately realized that it was going to work,” she said. “But right in the very start, I got a little bit of, ‘Well that's not how we do it,' kind of response.”

Courtesy of Christopher Kincaid

Oberstein said people eventually came around and started backing her. And they began working together to bring what she envisioned to the stage.

This year, the cast and crew included some of Homer High’s own alumni, including the show’s lead choreographer Rhoslyn Anderson, who danced in the production as a kid.

Oberstein said Tyler Langham was her pick to play the character of Drosselmeyer — who entertains everyone with magic — but she had no idea he would actually say yes to the role.

Langham’s entry into the show prompted several others to join, including two brothers that ended up playing the substantial roles of the nutcracker and assistant director.

Courtesy of Christopher Kincaid
Courtesy of Christopher Kincaid

“When he said yes, then Sam [Tenhoff] sort of fell in line too,” Oberstein said. “And then when I was looking for an assistant director, Gabe [Tenhoff] came in. And because Rhoslyn wanted more assistance with the battle scene, we knew that Kaec Brinster, who's also an alumnus, was a great help, and then Ethan Martin also jumped in because all of his friends were in it.”

Over two weekends, shows were met with hundreds of animated spectators packed into Homer High’s auditorium.

Oberstein said one of the highlights of the show was the support of the cast, tech and crew that worked so hard to put the production together.

“It has been just a wonderful experience with everyone going in the same direction,” she said. “And especially, this family of performers that are on stage actually doing everything together. It just feels like a real happy experience for everyone.”

You can find an assortment of photos from this year’s production on the Homer Nutcracker Ballet’s Facebook page.

Simon Lopez is a long time listener of KBBI Homer. He values Kachemak Bay’s beauty and its overall health. Simon is community oriented and enjoys being involved in building and maintaining an informed and proactive community.
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