Clara's Christmas Dreams

by  E. Thomalen, Tim Starnes

Short Musical, Drama  /  4m, 3f, 1boy(s), 1girl(s)

The story of a young girl’s journey from childhood to emotional maturity, condensed into a series of dreams brought on by a high fever during a single meaningful evening.

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    4m, 3f, 1boy(s), 1girl(s)
  • Duration

    Duration

    75 Minutes
  • SubGenre

    Subgenre

    Fantasy, Adaptations (Literature), Theatre for Young Audiences, Christmas/Holiday, Fables/Folktales, Period
  • Accolades

    Accolades

    Not Applicable
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Appropriate for all audiences

Additional Info

Clara’s Christmas Dreams is based upon the Dumas (père) version of The Nutcracker, also used by Tchaikovsky for his ballet. It relates the story of a young girl’s journey from childhood to emotional maturity, condensed into a series of dreams brought on by a high fever during a single meaningful evening. She learns some valuable lessons from the beautiful and frightening figures that she encounters and from whom she is saved by the Nutcracker Prince.

 

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Reviews

“With duels to the death and high-spirited action, the show mesmerizes even boys [...] The lovely score by Tim Starnes dips into martial music, circus tunes and even Celtic influences.” - The New York Times

"We performed Clara's Christmas Dreams [...] I worked with a choreographer who has been doing the Nutcracker Ballet for several seasons. In this collaboration we thought we would try something different and Clara's Christmas Dreams really seemed to fit the bill. This presentation was performed by young people with teens playing the adult parts. We added choreography for the Mouse, Snow Queen and Christmas Treats sections. It was the perfect holiday show and very well received. We are considering doing another version next year with adults and children." - Barb Sturman, Center Church, Windham

“The dream sequences interspersed with the “real” illness scenes made sense of the ballet storyline to me. The characters were simple and clear, appropriate for a fable/fairytale. I enjoyed the dialogue in verse. [...] I felt that the play was an enjoyable alternative to the ballet, yet it still holds the potential for lots of spectacular elements. The staging could be as simple or elaborate as production budgets allowed [...] I found Clara’s fight for her life and character journey stronger than in the ballet [...]” - reader testimonial

“E. Thomalen's dulcet adaptation of The Nutcracker with music by Tim Starnes [...] is a traditional take on the famous holiday classic [...] Many audience members were strongly affected by the musical composition [...] Clara's Christmas Dreams is a classic tale of a young girl's adventures into a fantasy world. For a traditional Christmas production, this is a charming, sweet, show worth seeing." - Hi! Drama Review

“The play was well received in our community and we continue to hear compliments about the performances [...] This play was a pleasure to direct. Feel free to provide my contact information to any other groups performing this play if you feel I can be of any assistance to them.” - Director, Calhoun Georgia Production

Videos

  • Clara's Christmas Dreams
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Considerations

Performing Groups

  • Jr High/Primary
  • High School/Secondary
  • Community Theatre
  • Dinner Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Church / Religious Groups

Cautions

  • No Special Cautions

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $90 per performance

Production

Details

  • Time Period: 19th Century
  • Duration: 75 Minutes
  • Setting: The play begins, January 5, 1813, the study of Dr. Drosselmeyer in Hamburg, Germany, and then moves to a small parlor in the Silberhaus home, late in the afternoon of December 24, 1812. As the audience enters, they may be invited to have a glass of hot mulled cider or wine, and to put ornaments on the Silberhaus’ tree.
  • Additional Features: Play w/ Music, Stage Combat, Special Effects
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes

Music

  • Musical Style: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Vocal Demands: Moderate
  • Orchestra Size: Piano Only
  • Chorus Size: Medium

Song Samples

The Party Song
0:00
Goodnight
0:00
The Mouse King
0:00
Snowbound
0:00
Christmas Sweets
0:00

Casting

4m, 3f, 1boy(s), 1girl(s)
DR. DROSSELMEYER - elderly doctor, family friend
MRS. SILBERHAUS - Mother
MR. SILBERHAUS - Father
FRITZ - son, age 6
CLARA - daughter, age 12
MR. KLEIN/MOUSE KING
PRINCE
MRS. NORLDAND/SNOW QUEEN
MRS. ZUCKER/SUGAR PLUM FAIRY
ENSEMBLE - GUESTS, MICE, SNOW QUEEN’S COMPANIONS, GINGERBREAD MEN
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Cast Attributes

  • Ensemble cast
  • Expandable casting
  • Flexible casting
  • Roles for Children

Casting Notes

Plus Ensemble

Resources

Rehearsal Resources

Music Material Rental Packages Glyphs / UI / Tooltip

Full Package

Optional Piano/Vocal Scores Available.

Available Services

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Authors

E. Thomalen

E. Thomalen's produced plays include Clara’s Christmas Dreams (2004, St. Clements Theatre, New York City); The Metamorphosis, A Play (2003, Jose Quintero Theatre, New York City); El Tigre (2001, U of Texas at Arlington & Bass Performance Art Center, Fort Worth); Dances of Life - and Death Thespis Festival (2015) Ta ...

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Tim Starnes

Tim Starnes

Clara's Christmas Dreams was first performed Off-Broadway at the St. Clements theatre in New York City on November 26, 2004. It was produced by StageRight Productions and directed by Bruce Merrill.

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