About The Nutcracker 2023



It is Christmas Eve at the home of the Stahlbaum’s. Their annual holiday party is in progress, with games and dances for the guests. A friendly, generous atmosphere is felt and celebrated with a brisk march and a polite quadrille. Into this spirited gathering arrives a mysterious gentleman. It is Herr Drosselmeyer, Clara’s godfather and a toy maker. With Drosselmeyer is his young nephew. Drosselmeyer introduces Clara to his nephew, who she falls in love with at once. Drosselmeyer entertains everyone with his Harlequin, Soldier and Doll Puppets, he then brings out a nutcracker for Clara. He shows the children how it works. Clara is so pleased with her gift that her brother Fritz is furious. He grabs the nutcracker and smashes it, breaking it into pieces. Drosselmeyer helps Clara gather the pieces. After a final dance, the guests depart and the Stahlbaums go off to bed. After the Stahlbaums have retired, Drosselmeyer returns the Puppets to the living room. Clara sneaks downstairs to retrieve her nutcracker. She falls asleep cradling him. Suddenly, she awakens to find it’s midnight, with the clock chiming while Mice as big as grown ups scurry about the room, also realizing that the beautiful Puppets have turned sinister. She is terrified as she watches the Christmas tree and the interior of the room grow. Clara hides her eyes. When she looks up again, she sees the Mice, led by theMouse King, battle Toy Soldiers who have come to life. The Nutcracker has also magically grown and is leading the Soldiers in a fierce contest. During the fight Clara throws her slipper, which hits the Mouse King, mortally wounding him, and the battle is won. In victory, Drosselmeyer transforms the Nutcracker into a Prince. Clara falls into Drosselmeyer’s arms and dreams even deeper. In her vision the beautiful Doll Puppet that Drosselmeyer brought to the party becomes Clara. The Nutcracker turns into a Prince that leads Clara’s vision away on a journey to a snowy forest, where they dance with the snow flakes. He then whisks her away to the Kingdom of Sweets



A Beautiful Angel welcomes Clara and the Prince to the Kingdom of Sweets, a heavenly domain ruled by the Sugar Plum Fairy. Drosselmeyer enters this luscious realm to welcome the treats that live there. The Chocolate, Coffee, Tea, and Flower Sweets, Candy Canes, Marzipan, Tiramisu, Truffle Framboise and Polichinelles perform a lively Polonaise. Clara and the Prince relate the story of how they came from afar, how the Mouse King attacked Clara and the Toy Soldiers and how the Mice were finally defeated when Clarathrew her slipper. Everyone congratulates them on their victory and the Sugar Plum Fairy and Drosselmeyer escort them to the Royal Throne. There they watch the entertainment that has been arranged for their pleasure. A series of dances are performed by the Divertissments of the Kingdom of Sweets. Everyone then bids farewell to Clara and her prince, as dawn is approaching Clara’s dream comes to an end. 



Eastern Shore’s Own, Inc. (ESO) is a non-profit community arts center whose mission is to foster the development of the arts through instruction and performance. Our goal is to provide opportunities for local artists to teach, practice, perform and to make the arts available to all residents of the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

Our History

Eastern Shore’s Own, Inc. was founded in 1984 by Allen Derrick, a retired actor from New York and Joyce Holland, a local theater performer. Originally ESO was an adult theater troupe that expanded into instruction of the arts and became incorporated on August 1, 1986. ESO began leasing the Belle Haven School building from the Town of Belle Haven on September 1, 1986. ESO has been located in the facility since that time.

Our Facility

Many renovations and improvements have been made to the classic, three story brick building since ESO’s occupation in 1986. The ESO Facility currently includes:

  • a pottery/sculpture studio with four potters’ wheels and one kiln
  • a studio theater with stage, sound and lighting equipment
  • a kitchen
  • an art room
  • a small dance/fitness studio
  • a large dance studio
  • a “green room”/small dance studio
  • a costume shop
  • teaching spaces for music lessons
  • a performing music room
  • a hallway and lounge area
  • storage spaces
  • Main Office Suite with 3 work spaces
  • and updated restroom facilities

The ESO, at 15293 King Street in the Town of Belle Haven, is located in southern Accomack County and serves the residents of the Eastern Shore from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel to the Maryland State Line. The ESO classes, facilities and productions are available to all residents of the Eastern Shore regardless of age, race, religion, ethnic origin, financial means, or level of ability.

Productions & Events

The ESO School of Dance, the largest area of enrollment at ESO, performs two full scale productions per year, with all ESO dance students participating. ESO has presented a production of the “Nutcracker” every December since 1991. The ESO LIVE! Series features musical performances monthly by local and regional artists, in an intimate nightclub-like setting. ESO Fest is our annual fundraiser, held each year in late summer, Celebrating ESO Arts Center and arts and culture of the Eastern Shore. Music student recitals are held periodically for both instrumentalists and our Youth Chorale vocal ensemble.