Dec 19 2018 | Posted in Press Releases

Image of Nia Vardalos smiling, and wearing a blue top

My Big Fat Greek Wedding Star Among List of Walk-on Roles

This December, over 15 individuals can add “Nutcracker cast member” to their accolades, including Winnipeg-born Nia Vardalos. Every year the Royal Winnipeg Ballet (RWB) invites musicians, professional athletes, and young entrepreneurs tied to the local community to join the RWB Company and School dancers on stage as Nutcracker walk-on roles. This year, the RWB is pleased to welcome 15—and counting, special guests to Nutcracker’s cast from December 19-29 at the Centennial Concert Hall.​

“As a Winnipegger, I truly appreciate and admire our Royal Winnipeg Ballet,” said Vardalos. “Being a part of the Nutcracker is a special milestone for me because years ago my theater school teacher told me I was the worst student in her ballet class. I was and it’s my fault because I mostly spent my time doing comedy bits at the barre. I plan to make up for my lack of skill now by bending my size ten feet into ballet slippers and being en pointe by December 26th.”

Aside from Vardalos, this year’s roles also include the familiar faces of Winnipeg Blue Bomber Thomas Miles, Muhammad Ashan, Pride Winnipeg President, and Bailey Bram, Team Canada hockey player. Winnipeg Jets fans will be thrilled to learn which two Jets will follow in the footsteps of Mark Scheifele, Jacob Trouba, Adam Lowry, and Dmitry Kulikov for their break-through Nutcracker performance on December 28. The RWB will reveal the Jets’ names on their social media closer to performance date.

Others who are participating include Hon. Cathy Cox, Minister of Sport Culture and Heritage, Hannah Taylor, founder of the Ladybug Foundation, Blair Yakimoski, Member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, Johanna Seier, founder of Fit Girl Gang and Aurea Fitness, and Catherine Wreford Ledlow, Broadway performer and RWB alumnus who will also share the stage with RWB Company dancers.

This year, the RWB ran a “What’s your Favourite Nutcracker Memory?” social media contest for an elusive walk-on role in the RWB’s largest production.

Margaret McCulloch, social media contest winner, shared “When I first attended the performance in Winnipeg, it struck me just how much the depicted celebration reminded me of the holidays in my native Poland… it was a very warm and heartfelt moment. I was then reminded that ETA Hoffmann wrote the story of the Nutckraker while living in Warsaw, married to his Polish wife, and celebrating the season in the local manner; this was my little Polish connection to the Nutcracker in snowy Warsaw and Winnipeg.”

Nutcracker has been made possible in part by the Government of Canada, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Manitoba Arts Council. The RWB would like to express their gratitude to Great West Life, Premier Sponsor of Nutcracker, who have supported Nutcracker annually since 1997.


December 19 - 7:00 p.m.
Thomas Miles: Winnipeg Blue Bombers Football Player

December 20 - 7:00 p.m.
Hannah Taylor: Founder, Ladybug Foundation
Blair Yakimoski: Member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba

December 21 - 7:00 p.m
Muhammad Ashan: President, Pride Winnipeg
Margaret McCulloch: Social Media Contest Winner

December 22 - 1:00 p.m.
Colleen McGurry: Great West Life Colouring Contest Winner
Kate McGurry: Great West Life Colouring Contest Winner

December 22 - 7:00 p.m.
Debra Warnick: RWB Gala Contest Winner
William Warnick: RWB Gala Contest Winner

December 23- 1:00 p.m.
Johanna Seier: Founder, Fit Girl Gang and Aurea Fitness
Catherine Wreford Ledlow: Singer, Actress, RWB Alumnus

December 26 - 4:00 p.m.
Nia Vardalos: Actress, Screen Writer, Producer

December 28 - 7:00 p.m.
Winnipeg Jets Hockey Players

December 29 - 1:00 p.m.
Hon. Cathy Cox: Minister of Sport, Culture and Heritage
Bailey Bram: Team Canada Hockey Player