The “Nutcracker” To Arrive On The Centenary Stage

Internationally acclaimed artist, Nikola Hadjitanev from the Sophia Ballet in Bulgaria, will headline the performances of the NJ Civic Youth Ballet’s (NJCYB) performance of “Nutcracker” when the Centenary Stage Company presents the final holiday programming of the season set for Dec. 16 – 18, at the Lackland Performing Arts Center in Hackettstown.  Hadjitanev will be performing the role of Snow Pas and Cavalier .  \

Over 60 talented dancers and actors from Hunterdon, Morris, Ocean, Sussex and Warren Counties have earned roles in the New Jersey Civic Youth Ballet’s production of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite. The NJCYB’s  Nutcracker is  narrated by Hadley DeGregoris, who tells the story from the perspective of twelve-year-old Clara Stahlbaum.

As the music of Tchaikovsky plays,  DeGregoris, as narrator, takes the audience on a storybook adventure.  In the story, Clara’s Godfather presents his magic show of dancing dolls, enchanting the children who attend the party, but it is the ugly Nutcracker which captures Clara’s heart.   As Clara falls asleep under the beautiful Christmas tree the noise of mice wake her. To save Clara, the Nutcracker and his army battle the giant Mouse King. The Nutcracker turns into a handsome prince, and takes a grown-up Clara through the enchanted forest into the land of Christmas in this fairy tale of a child’s most unforgettable Christmas

The role of Clara will be shared by Grace Lazzarotti of Mt. Olive, Sophia Musal of Mt. Olive, and Meaghan O’Leary of Mansfield Twp..   Lazzarotti was a finalist for the role of Clara in Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular.  Guest performer Shanna Heverly Hingle and her partner, both from NYC, will dance the Arabian Dolls. Hingle’s credits include the National Tour of Cats as Tumblebrutus.  Michelle Quiner returns to the stage this year dancing as the grown-up Clara and the Sugar Plum Fairy. Quiner danced Clara in 2009 at the Grand Ole Oprey House in Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular. She has been featured as “The Dancer You Should Know,” in Dance Sprit Magazine. This past summer Quiner was honored to dance the Black Swan in Pittsburg Ballet’s, Swan Lake.

Returning to the stage this year is Emma Crow a recent World Ballet Competition Gold Medalist. Crow danced Clara for the company in 2014 and 2015, and will perform the role of Columbine, Snow and Flowers.

In the role of Snow Pas and Cavalier will be  Nikola Hadjitanev from the Sophia Ballet in Bulgaria.    Hadjitanev was a finalist in the International Ballet Competition in Varna, and received first prize in the International Festival of Arts in Fivizano, Italy.  As an international guest artist he has performed in Austria, Denmark, Greece and Spain.

Performances of “Nutcracker” are Dec. 16 at 7 p.m., Dec. 17 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Dec. 18 at 3 p.m. Ticket prices range from $25 -28, with discounts for children under 12.

This performance of the “Nutcracker” is appropriate for children ages 4 – 104. For tickets call the Centenary Stage Company box office at 908-979-0900 or purchase online at


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