A Father's Holiday Wish: Washington Ballet's Nutcracker to Be Broadcast to U.S. Troops Worldwide

Classic Arts News   A Father's Holiday Wish: Washington Ballet's Nutcracker to Be Broadcast to U.S. Troops Worldwide
 
The Washington Ballet is granting a holiday wish for Lt. Col. Frank Johnston, a Marine currently serving in Iraq. His daughter, Isabelle Johnston, is performing in TWB's The Nutcracker for the first time this year. Knowing that he would not be home in time to see Isabelle perform live, Lt. Col. Johnston contacted the Ballet to see if there was still some way he could see his daughter's debut as a Mouse.

With help from the Warner Theatre, WRC (channel 4, the NBC affiliate in Washington), and the Pentagon Channel (the broadcast service for U.S. armed forces), TWB has found a way to make the Lt. Col.'s dream come true.

WRC NBC-4 will film Isabelle's first performance this Friday (December 7), opening night of TWB's Nutcracker at the Warner Theatre, and then transfer the footage to the Pentagon Channel. This performance will then be broadcast on the Pentagon Channel a total of three times through the month of December, making it possible not only for Lt. Col. Johnston to see his daughter dance, but also for troops stationed around the world to enjoy TWB Artistic Director Septime Webre's unique patriotic take on the Tchaikovsky ballet.

"We are thrilled to give Lt. Col. Johnston the chance to see his daughter on stage, and we are grateful for the support of our partners who have helped us to make this possible," says Webre. "The Nutcracker is a beautiful holiday story with a simple message that 'anything is possible.' It is a privilege to share it with those serving our country."

"I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to see a new 'first' in the life of my daughter, Isabelle, while deployed overseas," says Lt. Col. Johnston. "Thank you, DC, for bringing a piece of America to me and my fellow service members deployed during the holidays. I will watch this show as a father but also as a representative for all the other fathers and mothers deployed overseas this Christmas season that will miss many other firsts — the first birth of a son or daughter, first steps of a newborn, the first tooth of a growing child. The price of duty and service to our country is indeed great, especially during the holidays. Thank you all, each and every one of you, for the incredible support you are providing to us overseas. It is reassuring to know America has not forgotten those deployed in harm's way."

Isabelle Johnston, now seven years old, is in her first year as a student at The Washington School of Ballet; she is one of nearly 250 children performing in TWB's The Nutcracker. As a Mouse, she will perform in the Battle Scene in Act I. "Daddy hates mice!" Isabelle giggled. "But he will love me as the Baby Brother Mouse in The Nutcracker."

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