What is Christmas without The Nutcracker?

Each year at Christmas, ballet companies across the country (and around the world) stage performances of the Christmas classic.  Based on ETA Hoffman's book The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, the ballet, composed by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, was first performed in Russia in December 1892.

The story is universally known, as is the cast of main characters: Clara, The Nutcracker, The Mouse King, Herr Drosselmeyer and the Sugar Plum Fairy. 

When Lori Mitchell introduced her Nutcracker collection, she also included the character Fritz.  Over the years, we have had countless customers question who this figurine is.  So, who is Fritz and what is his role in The Nutcracker?

Well, the answer is very simple:  Fritz is Clara's annoying little brother.  Fritz appears at the beginning of the ballet, at the Christmas Eve party hosted at their parents' house.  It is Fritz who, in a fit of jealousy, breaks Clara's beloved Nutcracker. It is Fritz's toy soldiers that come to life to fight the Mouse King's army of mice.

Although he does not appear as a main character in the ballet, what is The Nutcracker if Fritz doesn't break Clara's new toy, in true little-brother fashion?

If Fritz doesn't break Clara's nutcracker, Herr Drosselmeyer doesn't fix it with a handkerchief, pulled from thin air; Clara doesn't sneak down in the middle of the night to check on her beloved doll; the Mouse King doesn't emerge with his army, only to be defeated by the Nutcracker (with the help of Clara's shoe);  and the Nutcracker doesn't transform into a handsome prince who whisks Clara away to the Beautiful Land of Sweets, and all it entails.

So, when it really comes down to it...is Fritz the most important character in The Nutcracker?  Not sure that there are many out there who would argue that point, but you may want to add a couple of Fritz to your collection...just in case.


July 14, 2022 — Dianna Jordan

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