WATCH: The Nutcracker and its Rat King wreak havoc around Dayton

Dayton Ballet video portrays what might happen if characters went out and got real jobs during pandemic

As it turns out, the Nutcracker’s Rat King would run a horrible food-delivery service, make for an awful taxi driver, and most of all, should never, EVER be trusted to make a cheese pizza.

On Giving Tuesday earlier this week, Dayton Ballet released a video that humorously depicts what would happen if the characters from the beloved Nutcracker ballet were to be turned loose on modern life and forced to get a job. It was filmed using a crew of Dayton Ballet performers, and it took months to make. And it’s a hoot.

The six-minute video titled “Nutcracker Characters — Getting By in 2020″ was made by Dayton Ballet wardrobe supervisor Lyn Baudendistel and her husband, Tommy.

Over the summer, when the outlook of a live performance of the Nutcracker happening in 2020 was starting to look bleak, Baudendistel and her husband started talking about how the show’s performers would, at some point, probably need to find work elsewhere to tide them over while the show was shut down.

“We thought, wouldn’t it be funny if we had just a short little video of, like, driving down the road and you see a little toy soldier mowing grass, trying to just earn a buck,” Baudendistel said. “We both thought, that is hysterical just thinking about driving past and seeing the little marching band uniform, mowing across the street.”

The video encourages people to consider making a donation, however large or small, to help the Dayton Ballet weather the storm of the coronavirus pandemic.

In the first scene, a text screen reads, “When Dayton Ballet announced there would not be a Nutcracker performance this year, many of us were left without a job. Some of us have tried new things; a new job, going back to school, an extra side-hustle. Sometimes it’s gone smoothly, sometimes not ... .”

Under guise of comedy, a number of the video’s actors were playing a role in their actual second place of work.

“Honestly, we just looked at what a lot of the dancers do on the side, because so many of them have do have a side job, because dancers don’t get paid much,” Baudendistel said.

The locations used in the filming included Mudlick Tap House, Uno’s Pizzeria & Grill, Ghostlight Coffee, the University of Dayton, Dorothy Lane Market and South Park Tavern. Baudendistel said the video was also an opportunity to put the spotlight on local businesses that support the dancers in their efforts to earn income.

“These are our jobs and our livelihoods. Without the stage, we have no reason to go to work (or) to rehearse, and therefore many artists are unemployed,” said Margot Aknin, dancer with Dayton Ballet. “We need the support of our community to help the performing arts survive during this time.”

To donate, visit For those unable to donate, Baudendistel suggested sharing the video to spread awareness.

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