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Nutcracker Children’s Cast Member Larke Johnson.

Inspiring America and beyond

Access and inclusion are long-held staples of Robert Joffrey's original version of The Nutcracker, which debuted in Iowa City in 1987. That tradition has since carried over to Christopher Wheeldon's re-imagined version, the production that the Joffrey proudly presents to audiences today.

NBC Nightly News recently profiled Larke Johnson, a JoffreyNutcracker Children’s Cast member and a student of the Joffrey’s Abilities in Motion program, part of NBC’s Inspiring America segment.

Larke’s role is near and dear to Joffrey history. It was first created in 1997 by Joffrey co-founder Gerald Arpino, who was inspired by  a young boy with cerbral palsy who had auditioned for The Nutcracker that year. The role figures prominently in Act I and remains an indelible part of the cast sheet since its debut nearly 25 years ago.