For the Register Citizen By Jack Sheedy TORRINGTON – “We built everything,” said Roger LaVoie, designer of a brand-new set for Nutmeg Ballet’s “The Nutcracker.” Lavoie, who has been designing for more than four decades, previewed his new design before staff and board members at the Nutmeg Conservatory in October. A full reveal will take place Nov. 13 during a Business After Hours session at the Conservatory, sponsored by the Northwest Connecticut Chamber of Commerce.
“I’ve done ‘The Nutcracker’ many times,” LaVoie said. His past “Nutcracker” clients include Alberta Ballet, Springfield (Missouri) Ballet, Northeast Youth Ballet, Tucson Ballet and more. “So I’ve done a lot of ‘Nutcrackers,’” he said. “They’re all completely different.”
The new set will debut in 2019 as part of Nutmeg’s 50th anniversary celebration, said Sharon Dante, who founded Nutmeg in 1969.
“I’m a seasoned designer,” LaVoie said in a recent interview. “I know the questions to ask. I know how things work. And so I think my strength is that I’ve been doing it for many years,” he said with a chuckle.
One of the challenges he faced while designing the set over the past year was how to make the same set fit two stages of different dimensions – the Warner Theatre in Torrington and the Bushnell in Hartford. The Warner stage is about eight feet wider than the Bushnell’s, he said. To accommodate both venues, the portals through which the audience views the set can expand, as can many elements of the set itself.
Victoria Mazzarelli, Nutmeg’s artistic director, said, “I was immediately drawn to Roger’s color palette, creativity, and beautifully painted designs. I am honored to have the opportunity to work closely with him during the creative process and to bring what I am sure will be a visually stunning production to our audiences.”
Donna Mattiello, academic dean at the Nutmeg Conservatory, said, “It’s so exciting to see imagination and vision come together and the result is a set design that stacks right up there with those of professional companies in much bigger cities. Truly spectacular!”
The full reveal of the new set will be a highlight of the Nov. 13 Business After Hours at the Conservatory, Dante said. Business After Hours is a monthly networking event the Chamber sponsors. It is held at a different member location each month. “We really want to share the wonderful experiences that Nutmeg is creating for this community, this region and well beyond,” said JoAnn Ryan, president and CEO of the
Chamber. The event will be from 5 – 7 p.m. at the Nutmeg Conservatory, 58 Main St., Torrington. For information on how to register to attend, call the Chamber at 860-482-6586.View Story