Digital Program

Mid-Columbia Ballet

Artistic Director

Debra Pearse Rogo


Naomie Bracy Anna Brehm Tessa Callister Curran Campbell Saffron Campbell Michael Cryan Brianna Deray Isabella Deray Alyssa Ekstrom Alanna Engler Emerie Fergusson Emma Gonzalez Philippe Gonzalez Abigail Johnson Morgan Lowry Aislin Maloney Anniston Martin Emily Martin Leah Nguyen Salma Oummani Isabel Paslean Elissia Presti Reese Robinson Emme Scherer Natalie Scherer Sana Schiffern Lily Stout Elayna Thurston Josephine Whitney Lucy Williams Addison Wiser

About Mid-Columbia Ballet

The Mid-Columbia Ballet (MCB) is a nonprofit corporation, whose mission is to foster and advance the art of ballet in its various forms in the Mid-Columbia region. MCB is managed by a Board of Directors and the MCB Guild is responsible for managing volunteers and many fundraising activities.

The MCB consists of young dancers committed to the art of ballet. MCB’s repertoire includes classical, neoclassical, and modern works by choreographers from throughout the United States. MCB has been granted performance rights to several Balanchine works by the George Balanchine Trust and was the first pre-professional group to perform a work by Twyla Tharp.

MCB has performed at Chop Shop: Bodies of Work in Seattle, USA/International Ballet Competition, in Austria at the Tanzsommer Austrian Arts Festival and at SPRING TO DANCE in St. Louis, Missouri. MCB has hosted Regional Dance America/Pacific Festivals four times, each time bringing to the Tri-Cities over twenty amateur and professional ballet companies, internationally known dance teachers and lecturers, and university recruiters for the 4-day convention.

MCB has also grown to be a valuable community resource. MCB received the 2020 STAR award from the City of Richland for pivoting The Nutcracker to a free movie, Clara’s Tri-Cities Nutcracker Dream that had 14,000 YouTube views and featured over 30 local businesses and locations. In addition, MCB was selected as a grant recipient for Gesa’s Local Heroes program in 2020 and 2021 in recognition of the positive impact our outreach and educational efforts have had in our community. We are very honored to be recognized this way.

Welcome Letter

Welcome to Mid-Columbia Ballet’s (MCB) 47th annual presentation of The Nutcracker for the greater Mid-Columbia Community. This is also the 25th anniversary of the premiere of the current Nutcracker set and backdrops which were custom made for the Richland High School Auditorium stage. In June of this year, we were notified by our original set designer, Greg Elder, that the Scenic Design Shop in Seattle, the fabricator and painter for the original set, had an unexpected opening in their schedule and that they could be available to update or create new set pieces for MCB. As many of our backstage volunteers know, our weary backdrops have been showing their age recently, having been folded and unfolded multiple times over the last 24 years. With a new look at the Richland High School Auditorium, it was only fitting that our Nutcracker scenery get a facelift as well. This decision had to be made quickly, and the MCB Board stepped up with unanimous approval, and then started looking for ways to fund the project.

The original Nutcracker Set was funded by local corporate sponsorship. So naturally, the MCB Board started by approaching the Columbia Center Rotary Club for help with funding this much needed update. As with many service organizations such as Rotary, there is a very active network of potential corporate sponsors. Very quickly, MCB was notified that four of our Community Organizations were willing to provide the necessary funding. MCB is pleased to announce our Nutcracker Backdrop Sponsors:

Many thanks to our Backdrop Sponsors for helping provide new backdrops which we will use for many more years to provide performance opportunities for our dancers and to bring artistic excellence to our Community.

Al Wells
Chair, Board of Directors
Mid-Columbia Ballet

The Nutcracker Story

The story begins on Christmas Eve. Dr. and Mrs. Stahlbaum are having their annual Christmas Eve celebration. Their children, Clara and Fritz, and their guests happily admire the treasures under the brightly decorated Christmas tree. Soon, Clara's godfather, Herr Drosselmeyer and his nephew arrive. The mysterious Drosselmeyer, an inventor and magician, gives Fritz a mouse doll, and then he chooses Clara for a very special gift, a lovely wooden doll a Nutcracker. Fritz jealously chases Clara, teasing her with the mouse doll, causing Clara to trip and drop the Nutcracker. Drosselmeyer’s nephew comes to her rescue and the Nutcracker is returned to her. After the guests depart and everyone is asleep, Clara tiptoes back into the darkened living room to find her beloved Nutcracker. An army of huge rats and mice attack Clara. Drosselmeyer appears and stranger things begin to happen. The Nutcracker, and the Christmas tree begin to grow, and life-size toy soldiers and cavalry are attacked by the rats and mice as the Rat King and the Nutcracker begin their battle. The evil Rat King seizes Clara. The noble Nutcracker has no choice but to surrender. The Rat King releases Clara and is about to deal the Nutcracker a fatal blow, when Clara outsmarts the terrible villain! The Nutcracker is magically transformed into a handsome prince. As a reward for her bravery, Clara is transported to the Land of Snow where the waltzing Snowflakes greet her, and she is crowned a princess. The journey continues into the Kingdom of Sweets. Trumpets sound, heralding the arrival of sweets from around the world. Eventually the dream comes to an end as everyone gathers to bid Clara farewell.

First presented on December 17, 1892 at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, the story of The Nutcracker is based on a tale by E.T.A. Hoffmann, a musician and lawyer as well as one of the master novelists of the Romantic movement in Germany. The versions of Nutcracker performed today contain virtually none of the choreography by Lev Ivanov from the original production. What has survived is the immortal Tchaikovsky score based on a story scenario by Marius Petipa, adapted from the original Hoffmann tale.

The Nutcracker


Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky


Debra Pearse Rogo   Willow Busselman   David Arce

Lighting Design

Bill Kickbush

Costume Design

Lecreta Andrews

Specialty Design & Costumes

Greg Elder & Jeannie Wood-Elder

Rehearsal Directors

Deborah Hadley & Anna Lantz

Production Staff

Production Manager
Joel Rogo
Stage Manager
Gaye Wutzke
Assistant Stage Manager
Rebecca Rogo
Wardrobe Managers
Michelle Engler, Kim Hattrup, Sarah Robinson, Angie Scherer
Special Effects Designer
Dan Porter
Lighting & Sound Technician
Scott Thomason
Realife Photography
Technical Director
Jason Martin

Cast List

Act I

Scene 1: The Christmas Party

Mr. Stahlbaum
Randy Hayden
Mrs. Stahlbaum
Susan Presti
Marcus Davis
Sana Schiffern
Herr Drosselmeyer
Joel Rogo
Philippe Gonzalez
Party Guests
Cheyenne Brown, Amber Davis, Rick Graff, Neil Henson, Kelsey Pontarolo, Vinnie Pontarolo, Kerrilynn Robinson, John Robinson
Party Children
Lyra Davis, Callum James, Emmett Kirk, Claire Phillips, Lillian Wall, Oliver Williams, Alaina Wright
Anniston Martin & Curran Campbell
Abigail Johnson, Aislin Maloney

Scene 2: Clara's Dream Begins

Addison Chamberlain, Corinna Chu, Emily Croyle, Brianna Dahl, Kayla Davis, Juliann Diaz, Addison Foy, Caetlyn Kovis, London Mulholland, Avery Ogden, Tabitha Orth, Isabellav Viera, Rylie Walters, Reagan Willis, Sadie Wysock
Rat King
Isabella Deray
Michael Cryan
Maria Chmura, Cornelia Darling, Ria Mascal, Claire McNeil, Mylinh Nguyen
Hazel Blodgett, Cerise Bricker, Vianne Bricker, Claire Debban, Elizabeth Flynn, Marisol Garcia, Jayani Haack, Emmaleigh Haugen, Liliana Littleton, Paige Maier, Annabella Mariscal, Reilly Murray, Jessie Nelson, Bailey Olsen, Paige Phillips, Vittoria Sabin, Aya Schiffern, Inara Solomon, Allyssandra Tuura, Olivia Venturini
Nora Barrett, Natalya Blackburn, Sydney De Leon, Madison Engler, Fiona French, Ava French, Genevieve Hickman, Remi Krieg, Sophia Littleton, Mikayla Moritz, Parker Murray, Sarah Oh, Brooklyn Parsons, Elizabeth Uhrich, Emery Woods

Scene 3: The Land of Snow

Nutcracker Prince
Michael Cryan
Snow Queen
Natalie Scherer
Naomie Bracy, Anna Brehm, Tessa Callister, Saffron Campbell, Isabella Deray, Brianna Deray, Alyssa Ekstrom, Alanna Engler, Emerie Fergusson, Emma Gonzalez, Abigail Johnson, Morgan Lowry, Aislin Maloney, Emily Martin, Anniston Martin, Leah  Nguyen, Salma Oummani, Isabel Paslean, Elissia Presti, Reese Robinson, Emme Scherer, Lily Stout, Elayna Thurston, Josephine Whitney, Lucy Williams, Addison Wiser

Act II

Scene 1: The Enchanted Palace

Holly Adams, Maggie Avery, Ella Mae Cotter, Charlotte Debban, Lillian Roberts, Isabella Rodriguez, Lauren Siefken, Abigail Stout, Sherry Wen, Indie Williams, Brantlee Woolery, Christina Yao
Naomie Bracy, Leah Nguyen, Lily Stout with Eliza Bosch, Eleanor Brown, Elizabeth Chavarria, Gwenyth Cook, Chloe Custodio, Elizabeth Maldonado, Rose Merrill, Hannah Moody, Reese Mower, Hannah Smith, Robyn Wade, Isla Williams, Logan Wiser, Brianna Wright
Spanish Hot Chocolate
Morgan Lowry & Emme Scherer with Curran Campbell & Philippe Gonzalez
German Marzipan
Tessa Callister, Saffron Campbell, Brianna Deray, Alyssa Ekstrom, Alanna Engler, Emma Gonzalez, Abigail Johnson, Aislin  Maloney, Emily Martin, Isabel Paslean, Reese Robinson, Elayna Thurston
Arabian Coffee
Natalie Scherer
English Toffee
Lucy Williams
Russian Peppermint
Anna Brehm, Emerie Fergusson, Elissia Presti with Maria Chmura, Brianna Dahl, Kayla Davis, Juliann Diaz, Addison Foy, Caetlyn  Kovis, Ria Mascal, London  Mulholland, Mylinh Nguyen, Avery Ogden, Isabella Viera, Sadie Wysock
Chinese Tea
Josephine Whitney with Salma Oummani & Addison Wiser and Conner Bickford, PJ Darling, Desmond Hooper, Dexter Hooper
French Bon Bons
Armelle Bonneville, Addison Chamberlain, Corinna Chu, Emily Croyle, Chloe Custodio, Cornelia Darling, Claire McNeil, Tabitha Orth, Rylie Walters, Reagan Willis
Waltz of the Flowers
Naomie Bracy, Anna Brehm, Tessa Callister, Saffron Campbell, Curran Campbell, Isabella Deray, Brianna Deray, Alyssa Ekstrom, Alanna Engler, Emerie Fergusson, Emma Gonzalez, Philippe Gonzalez, Abigail Johnson, Aislin Maloney, Emily Martin, Anniston Martin, Leah Nguyen, Salma Oummani, Isabel Paslean, Elissia Presti, Reese Robinson, Emme Scherer, Lily Stout, Elayna Thurston, Josephine Whitney, Lucy Williams, Addison Wiser
Sugar Plum Fairies
Morgan Lowry & Natalie Scherer
Bradley Streetman

MCB Company Dancers

Naomie Bracy

Anna Brehm

Tessa Callister

Curran Campbell

Saffron Campbell

Michael Cryan

Brianna Deray

Isabella Deray

Alyssa Ekstrom

Alanna Engler

Emerie Fergusson

Emma Gonzalez

Philippe Gonzalez

Abigail Johnson

Morgan Lowry

Aislin Maloney

Anniston Martin

Emily Martin

Leah Nguyen

Salma Oummani

Isabel Paslean

Elissia Presti

Reese Robinson

Emme Scherer

Natalie Scherer

Sana Schiffern

Lily Stout

Elayna Thurston

Josephine Whitney

Lucy Williams

Addison Wiser

Intermediate Company

Maria Chmura, Addison Foy, Bella Viera, Brianna Dahl, London Mulholland, Caetlyn Kovis Ria Mascal, Mylinh Nguyen, Juliann Diaz, Avery Ogden, Sadie Wysock, Reagan Willis 

(Not pictured: Hadassah Thomas)

Junior Company

Armelle Bonneville, Claire McNeil, Kayla Davis, Cornelia Darling, Emily Croyle Rylie Walters, Corinna Chu, Addison Chamberlain, Chloe Custodio, Tabitha Orth

(Not pictured: Keziah Thomas)

MCB Staff

Susan Presti, Lily Wutzke, Rebecca Rogo, Willow Busselman, Debra Rogo, Allie Yates, Torrie Mower, Baleigh Bierman, Veronica Andersen

Artistic Director

Debra Pearse Rogo


Gaye Wutzke

Artistic Assistant

Torrie Mower

Artistic Assistant & INCLUDE Dir.

Rebecca Rogo

Wardrobe Supervisor

Allie Yates

Outreach Coordinator

Susan Presti

Social Media

Willow Busselman

Administrative Consultant

Renée Kolman

Artistic Intern

Baleigh Bierman

Artistic Intern

Lily Wutzke

Debra Pearse Rogo, Artistic Director

Debra grew up in Melbourne, Australia where she trained in the Cecchetti (Italian) Method of Ballet passing all exams, including her teaching certification, with Honors. She also received teaching and performing opportunities with the National Theatre and Ballet Victoria. After finishing her schooling, she performed with the Sydney City Ballet for three years before moving to the United States where she was the Assistant Director and then Artistic Director of Ballet Omaha, a professional company with its own school. In 1987, Debra and her husband, Joel, moved to Washington State to buy a small ballet school; the Tri-Cities Academy of Ballet. After more than 30 years it is now the Tri-Cities Academy of Ballet and Music and includes a Performing Arts Pre-School.

Debra has served as Chairman of Regional Dance America/Pacific, President of Regional Dance America, on the Honorary Committee for the USA International Ballet Competition and as Executive Director of Regional Dance America’s Craft of Choreography Conference. Debra has been a guest teacher at many US schools and universities, the National Dance Foundation of Bermuda, the 2013 Australian Cecchetti Conference, the 2014 USA International Cecchetti Conference and the 2016 Cecchetti USA Summer School. In recognition of her work in the Tri-Cities, Ms. Rogo received the City of Richland 2014 Contribution to the Arts Award.

MCB Board of Directors

Honorary Board Member

Patricia Barker

Artistic Director, Royal New Zealand Ballet

Honorary Board Members in Memorium

Curt Colvin Patty Taylor Wally Weimer

MCB Guild

Guild Officers and Committee Chairs

Dawn Cryan
Ashley Lowry
Neil Henson
Jen Chamberlain
Angie Scherer & Lesley Paslean
Ballet Café
Bouchra Oummani & Aimee Kovis
Pam Campbell & Lot Deray
Travers Bracy & Brandie Bracy
Christina Stout
Kay Nguyen & Emily Maloney
Restaurant Fundraisers
Aimee Kovis
Cooklies & Water
Sandra Cortez & Shawna Ekstrom
Jen & Travis Chamberlain
Online Store
Jason Paslean
Front of House
Ashley Lowry & Nicole Wiser
Shevaun Martin
Kelly Bright & Lauri Whitney
Jody & Ron Longwell
Naoko Schiffern

The mission of the Guild is to support and promote the Mid-Columbia Ballet in their commitment to providing high quality performing arts to our community. The Guild assumes responsibility for organizing volunteers to support MCB productions such as The Nutcracker. Guild funds help MCB with production costs such as theatre rental, costumes, guest artists, and outreach. Volunteers organize a series of various events throughout the year to raise funds for MCB.

The Guild welcomes any new members who wish to ensure that the Tri-Cities will always have an opportunity to enjoy the cultural experiences of ballet. To learn more about the Guild and how to become a member visit our Guild page.

2022-2023 Season Guild Members

Ryan & Melany Bickford
Delphine & Alain Bonneville
Travers & Brandie Bracy
Paul & Tina Branson
JoAnn & John Brehm
Bradley & Talena Bricker
Amanda & Brandon Brown
Pamela & Dale Campbell
Travis & Jen Chamberlain
Robert & Svitlana Chmura
Rosey Chu
Sandra Cortez
Tim & Katie Croyle
Dawn & Mike Cryan
Brett & Stephanie Dahl
Rob & AmyLynne Darling
Amber Davis
Michelle Dearlove
Jeremy & Annie Debban
Arnulfo & Lot Deray
Jonathan & Erin Dickey
Karen Nguyen & Gene Dorendorf
Brett & Shawna Ekstrom
Caleb & Michelle Engler
Martin Family
Aaron & Kelly Fergusson
Anita Petra & Horacio Gonzalez
Rick Graff
Kim & Mark Hattrup
Kriste & Neil Henson
Ron & Jody Longwell
Ashley Lowry
Chris & Scott Lowry
Jill Lunde
Craig & Emily Maloney
Byron & Nancy Martin
Anitha & Srinivas Mascal
Sean & Kirsten McNeil
Harry & Terri Miley
Sara & Ty Mulholland
Katherine & Loc Nguyen
Fenton Norman
Jeremy & Esther Ogden
Bouchra Oummani
Lesley & Jason Paslean
Larry & Jennifer Peterson
Thomas & Kelly Precechtel Bright
Susan Presti
Sarah & Jeremiah Robinson
John & Kerrilynn Robinson
Joel & Debra Rogo
Blake & Angie Scherer
John & Naoko Schiffern
Christina & Ryan Stout
Victoria Suryan
Krista Thurston
Katherine Torelli
Christina & Mario Viera
Ethan & Ashley Walters
Al & Jan Wells
Mark & Signe White
Gerry & Lauri Whitney
Molly & JJ Williams
Cole & Jamie Willis
Matt & Nicole Wiser
Michael & Gaye Wutzke

Our 2022-23 Season Supporters

The Mid-Columbia Ballet (MCB) is incorporated in Washington State as a non-profit corporation and is exempt from federal taxes under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. For more information on MCB’s finances, including funding spent on programs, do a charity search at

Join those mentioned below by giving a gift that will help MCB sustain our efforts to provide artistic excellence in our productions and community outreach programs.

Donate Now

Please patronize the local businesses and other arts groups that support MCB