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Classic ballet, winter play open in Gwinnett

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Special Photo Abigrace Diprima performs as the Snow Queen in Gwinnett Ballet Theatre's rendition of "The Nutcracker."

If you go

• What: Gwinnett Ballet Theatre’s “The Nutcracker”

• When: 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday, runs through Dec. 16. Times and dates vary.

• Cost: $13.50 to $23.50

• For more information: Visit www.gwinnettballe...>

• What: Fifth Row Center’s “Narnia: The Musical”

• When: 7:30 p.m. Fridays, 3 and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays, runs through Dec. 9

• Where: Buford Community Center Theatre, 2200 Buford Highway, Buford

• Cost: $9 to $25

• For more information: Visit www.bufordcommuni...>

If you're in need of more holiday spirit, two theaters are offering winter-inspired classics: "The Nutcracker" and "Narnia."

Today, Flower Branch's Fifth Row Center is bringing "Narnia: The Musical" to stage at the Buford Community Center Theater. The cast consists of 24 cast members, made up of Gwinnett and Hall county residents, school teachers and several school children.

Based on C.S. Lewis' "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," the story follows four children -- Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie -- who discover a new land inside of Professor Digory Kirke's wardrobe.

The siblings run into creatures and spirits, representing good and evil in Narnia, as well as Aslan, a talking lion. They team up with the courageous leader to save the land from the White Witch, who has created perpetual winter.

In this musical version, the audience will hear several songs in the show, including "Turkish Delight," "From the Inside Out" and "Catch Me if You Can."

The play runs through Dec. 9.

On Saturday, Gwinnett Ballet Theatre with Artistic Director Wade Walthall present its annual performance of "The Nutcracker" at the Performing Arts Center at Gwinnett Center.

The ballet tells the story of Clara, a little girl who receives a nutcracker as a gift during a Christmas party. Later that evening, Clara's nutcracker comes to life and fights during a battle between a group of toy soldiers and vicious mice.

After the battle ends, the nutcracker becomes a prince and takes Clara on a fantastic journey. They see the Snow Queen and the Sugar Plum Fairy, who presents a number of dances for them.

As a tradition, the Gwinnett Ballet Theatre Orchestra with 35 musicians provides the live music throughout the entire show. Under the guidance of conductor Predrag Gosta, Dec. 8 marks the group's 50th performance with the ballet during the holiday classic.

"Started in 2006 and still going strong, the 50th show of the 'Nutcracker' proves the commitment as well as the courage of the musicians and GBT company dancers and staff," Gosta said. "We have a commitment to our community to provide the highest-quality arts performances using the talents of the finest professional musicians. The uncertainty of the economic climate has not kept GBT from offering the highest-caliber arts experience for its public."

The ballet runs through Dec. 16.