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Child’s Eye View: Milwaukee Ballet’s “The Nutcracker”

“Is this her first Nutcracker?” asked Dania, as the applause built.

“No, she’s been before,” Gwen answered, watching her sister dance. As soon as the curtain call had begun, Hazel was on her feet, leading the adults to stand as well. She leapt off the ground, attempting to replicate the virtuosic jetés of the dancers. Gwen, bending down, put a hand on her shoulder.

“Wait until we’re outside,” she whispered, among the applause. “You could kick someone.”

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Join The Triumph: PBS’s “Arthur’s Perfect Christmas” Soundtrack

“What’s your favorite holiday movie?” asked Dania, as she tacked a paper snowman to the wall.

“Hm, I’d have to think about it,” Gwen demurred. So many good options to pick from. “The best Christmas films are the ones you watch when you’re younger. They’re family oriented. So should I account for that person bias when picking?”

“No, bias it up,” Dania replied. “Anyone can say, like Home Alone, I’m talking about personal favorites.”

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Sorrow At The Heart: Three Brothers Theatre’s “Spring Awakening”

Gwen was not a fan of Spring Awakening –– and she readily admitted that it was her fault, not the show. She’d burned out on the musical, ever since its 2006 Broadway production caught fire among the teen theatre set, with endless repetitions of its inanely pop-punk score dredged up at more cabarets than she could count. The lyrics were poetic enough on their surface that no one Gwen knew had needed to dig any deeper into them to find meaning. An angsty screed against uncaring parents, for a generation slowly acclimating to an uncaring world. A string of regional productions after performance rights were released in 2011, while the tide of interest was still high, had afforded her numerous opportunities to see a gaggle of Wendlas and Melchiors partake in enough hayloft intimacy to make the cast of Equus blush.

Gwen was, to put it mildly, over it.

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