ion Joyce Stahl

Joyce Stahl

If you want to put a twinkle in Joyce Stahl’s eyes, just say “Nutcracker.” After having spent 38 years with New Jersey’s American Repertory Ballet and 27 years performing as Madame Stahlbaum in the original Princeton Ballet Nutcracker, this classically trained dancer is a sucker for Sugar Plum Fairies.
So it’s not surprising that after having “retired” to Key West over 18 years ago, she started playing around with the idea of creating and producing her own “island” version of this timeless holiday spectacle.

Finally in 2005, with a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, her dream came true and Stahl’s re-interpreted “Nutcracker Key West” took to the stage. In Stahl’s re-imagined production, tiny free-roaming chickens and humorous roosters replace the original Nutcracker’s mice and Rat King. Instead of the “Land of Sugar Plum Fairies,” a Coral Reef in a Lemonade Sea is now the fantasy dream destination where a whole new cast of characters takes to the stage.

King Neptune, fighting fish, the ghosts of the sunken Atocha, a breathtaking Sea Star Fairy, and a Nutcracker with a Conch Shell Headdress, are now the stars of the show. In addition to being the Executive Producer and Artistic Director for the show, Stahl also designed the costumes valued at over $300,000 and brings in principal dancers from national and international companies.

ahlHer treasured production only happens once every two years and lucky for us, it’s happening this holiday season from Friday, December 7 through Sunday, December 16 at Key West’s Tennesee Williams Theater. For info and tickets call 305-295-7676 or go to