Art Beat: Local "celebrities' shine onstage

Not everyone in life gets their 15 minutes of fame, but special patrons of Gwinnett Ballet Theatre have at least three minutes to experience the thrill of live performance. For each of the 11 public performances of "The Nutcracker" and three of its outreach shows, a local public figure has donned Mother Ginger's enormous wig and over-the-top makeup. Transported onstage atop a gigantic rolling skirt, these area VIPs wave, clap and enjoy the audience's applause for their exaggerated and funny antics as 10 little dancers and a tiny gymnast emerge from the skirt.

GBT's "Nutcracker" will enter its last weekend of performances today, Saturday and Sunday. The 27th annual production of the holiday favorite has enjoyed enthusiastic audiences who have applauded for the many beautiful moments that "Nutcracker" offers. However, when Mother Ginger is rolled out during the second act, roars of laughter fill the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center.

This year's "Celebrity Mother Gingers" have been a mix of political, community and corporate figures. Launching the first weekend's school shows was the Gwinnett Daily Post's own Deanna Allen, followed an hour later by Shiloh Elementary Principal Betty Ann Schoeneck, who delighted her pupils in the audience.

The annual Scout show Dec. 5 enjoyed the performance of Duluth Mayor Nancy Harris. The first weekend's public shows had many familiar Gwinnett names and faces such as the Hudgens Center's Acting Executive Director Teresa Osborn, Spitfire Media Group's Paige Havens and Apple Printing's Cathy Arostegui.

The second weekend was special for featuring three gentlemen who had the courage to don Mother Ginger's false eyelashes and foam rubber falsies. John Kincade of Atlanta's 680 The Fan brought down the house. United Way Gwinnett's own Demetrius Jordan brought the house down even more, as did Suwanee Dental Care's Dr. Bill Williams.

This coming weekend, "Nutcracker's" final performances of the season, will see four lovely ladies enjoying the role. Gwinnett Magazine's Sarah Forbes is featured tonight. Saturday's matinee will see Suwanee's Denise Brinson onstage. Saturday evening showcases Georgia Gwinnett College's Martha Sosobee. Gwinnett Center's own Marketing Director Cheryl Gee will be the year's final Mother Ginger on Sunday.

Tickets for "The Nutcracker" can be purchased by calling Ticketmaster at 404-249-6400. For more information, visit www.gwinnettballet.org.