BAR HARBOR — Mount Desert Island High School senior Jacob Sanner has been involved in theater for a long time, but he was still a bit nervous the first time he walked into a rehearsal as a director.
Sanner is directing the Acadia Community Theatre (ACT) production of “Nutcracker: The Musical,” set to perform at the Neighborhood House in Northeast Harbor on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 2 and 3, at 7 p.m.
Performances move to the Criterion Theatre in Bar Harbor on Friday, Dec. 9, at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 10, at 11 a.m. Tickets cost $8 for adults, $5 for seniors or children 5-12 years old. Children under 5 enter for free.
The play is adapted from the famous Tchaikovsky ballet, but playwright Patrick Rainville Dorn made some changes harkening back to the original E.T.A. Hoffman story, “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.”
Musical arranger Bill Francoeur added lyrics to some of Tchaikovsky’s music to create vocal parts, Sanner said. The musical is arranged for voices and piano. Christina Spurling is the musical director for the show.
The production is Sanner’s Senior Exhibition project, mentored by longtime ACT playwright and director Mark Puglisi. “Last spring when I was faced with what to do for Senior Ex,” Sanner said, “I went to the ACT board and offered to direct their Christmas play.”
They chose “Nutcracker,” he said, because it has lots of children’s roles and a place for everyone on stage.
“I came in on the first day really stressed. I didn’t have all the details figured out; I didn’t know how it was gonna flow. But we just started with the first scene, and it started to come together.”
Sanner has acted and served as technical director for previous ACT productions. “It’s really a supportive community to start this in,” he said.
“I would love to direct more in the future. I’ve only really done onstage stuff before, so looking at it from the outside and trying to build something together has been really cool. I’m really glad this cast has been so willing to work with me and pitch in their ideas. It’s been a big collaborative project, and we have had a lot of fun with it.”