The Grandest Illusion / Throw Some Flowers

The Nutcracker

The remarkable thing about The Nutcracker is that it does with music and dance what we, as a global society, often cannot. It transcends religion and geography and tells a story full of cross cultural fantasy and spectacle and fear and joy and when it’s over everyone throws or delivers flowers to the stage where it happened. How cool is that?

Here’s the deal. The Nutcracker is supposed to be about Clara, a little girl who dreams her dreams of faraway magical lands that she shares with a brave, handsome prince. But what makes the music come to life, what makes the principle dancers from the best ballet companies in the world look so spectacular, what makes people cheer year after year is that the stage where it happens is packed with ageless little girls’ dreams, not just Clara’s. Dreams so big and real they fill up a theater with their hope and that inexplicable magic of belief in something bigger than reality.

So if it’s your neighbor’s kid or your kid or grand kid or your wife, or even if no one you know is in The Nutcracker playing in your part of the world this year, go see it. Talk to a stranger in the lobby, toast the season. Take some flowers with you and give them to a dancer who might be famous, might have been famous, might have been hurt, might even be a grandmother. This season, no matter what you believe, make yourself part of something bigger and better and more magical than what the nightly news would lead you to believe is our world.


In North Texas? Chamberlain’s Nutcracker at the Eismann Center is my choice. My wife is in it.

Published by

Phil Huston

6 thoughts on “The Grandest Illusion / Throw Some Flowers”

  1. I will take your advice. Brings back a moment: I was watching a live performance of Peter Pan and the audience was filled with older men and women bussed in from an assisted living facility. As I was laughing at the antics on stage, many of the older people were crying. I was taken aback. Then I finally figured out why they were crying: Peter Pan is about a young man who would “never grow old…” and they were reading much more meaning into the play than I ever had before. Now I get it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I went to see Finding Neverland live not long ago. I think the tears are the result of a poetic pain of discovery. Where, in age, we learn how easy it was to murder the child within us to become the adults we’re “supposed” to be, not the children we always are. The Grandest Illusion. Where we can fly and dance and fight the dragons and Mouse Kings, win the hand of the fair maiden over and over and over…Where our dreams dance with the snake charmer girls and the Snow Queen, and where we can be forever young in a world where beauty and fair just are…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. lovely piece, Phil. The greatest shows on earth might well be the revelations of our dreams, fantasies and hope that we yearn to dream and continue doing so with high affinity.


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