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Nov 29, 2022

Monmouth County Performers Take the Stage in ‘The Nutcracker’

This holiday season, the Company of Dance Arts (CODA) returns to the stage to present its latest production of “The Nutcracker” at the Count Basie Center for the Arts. “The Nutcracker,” a timeless ballet, has given many thousands their first glimpse of classical ballet. Audiences join Clara and her nutcracker on a magical journey through the Land of Snow and Kingdom of Sweets to meet the Sugarplum Fairy! 

The Company of Dance Arts’ rendition is the only area production to feature the choreography of Peter Anastos set to Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s celebrated score, along with elaborate Victorian costuming and the famous Christmas tree that “grows.” Under the direction of Artistic Directors Nicholas and Shayne  Mishoe as well as Artistic Staff Sori Gottdenker, Michelle Symos and Elaenee Nowell, CODA has been performing “The Nutcracker” in area theatres for more than 30 years.   

Sophia Castellano, of Middletown, will perform the leading role of the Sugarplum Fairy, accompanied by guest artist Christopher Bloom, of Ballet Hispanico, as Cavalier. Mia Bertodatti, of Fair Haven, will perform the role of Snow Queen. Caroline Cevasco, of Lincroft, will delight audiences as the Dew Drop Fairy. Lola Bassett, of Wall Township, and Emma Markiewicz, of Rumson, will share the role of Clara, while Leah Messina, of Red Bank, and Ellery Cannizzaro, of Shrewsbury, will share the role of Fritz. 

Performances will be held Friday, Dec. 9 at 7 pm; Saturday, Dec. 10 at 1 and 5 pm; and Sunday, Dec. 11 at 1 pm. Tickets, priced between $25 and $55, are available through the Count Basie Theatre Box Office at 732-842-9000. Visit for more information. 

The Company of Dance Arts, a pre-professional ballet company, serves to provide young dancers with performance opportunities that meet professional standards of artistic development, performance values and production qualities. Founded in 1985 by Jennifer James Church, the nonprofit company performs “The Nutcracker” each December and a production from its vast repertoire in the spring.