Eric Weichardt brought a viable but incompletely realized poetic interpretation to the role of Drosselmeyer in the American Ballet Theatre "Nutcracker," performed with an otherwise familiar cast Monday afternoon in Shrine Auditorium.
The tall, bony, sharp-featured Weichardt combined polished manners with a watchful, avuncular caring, a delight in imagination and a desire to share magic of the mind. The approach eliminated any aura of mystery, darkness or menace, and it too easily degenerated into a blank-faced, generalized nobility in Act II. But Weichardt's appeal to the disappointed Clara (Deirdre Carberry) to turn to the powers of her own imagination as consolation for the end of her dream made a reasonable, strong ending.
Sadly, Weichardt's partnering skills were not all that secure, and he nearly came to grief raising Clara in one of the side-lifts in the pas d'action in Act II.