Arts previews: “Match Girl” is one of Columbus’ best holiday traditions

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From the December 12, 2013 edition

For the last 14 years, Columbus Dance Theatre has been performing artistic director Tim Veach’s beautiful adaptation of the timeless Hans Christian Andersen tale, making “Matchgirl” one of Columbus’ best holiday traditions.

“Matchgirl” is a poignant holiday tale offering themes about the power of hope and the undying love of family. A little girl is selling matches on New Year’s Eve, but can’t go home to her deplorable stepfather unless she makes some money. So she hides in a nook, uses the matches to keep warm, and ends up on a journey into her most wonderful dreams.

Even though the holiday tradition is ever-present, this year’s “Matchgirl” production has new elements. There will be sections of new choreography and for the first time ever, music will be added to the production. Led by Ohio Wesleyan University associate professor of music Jason Hiester, a 16-musician orchestra and a 40-member choir from Ohio Wesleyan will contribute music to the second act of the ballet.

Another pleasant addition, er return, this year is Patricia Chambers revisiting the role of the Grandma, a role she played a number of years. “To see someone bring 80 years of life experience to a role such as the Grandmother is a rare and unforgettable opportunity for theatre- goers here in Columbus,” Veach said.