Toledo Ballet and Toledo Symphony to Perform 78th Annual Nutcracker as Newly Combined Organization

Published Thursday, November 1, 2018 9:00 am

On Tuesday, September 18, 2018, the Toledo Symphony Orchestra (TSO) and Toledo Ballet announced plans to merge the area’s oldest performing arts institutions forming the Toledo Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA). This year, the two organizations will work closer than ever before in Toledo Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker, its 78th annual presentation of Tchaikovsky’s beloved masterpiece, and the first as a newly combined organization.

“It was Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker that originally brought together Toledo Ballet and Toledo Symphony,” says Zak Vassar, President & CEO of the Toledo Symphony. “This year, more than others, there’s something symbolic about joining forces with our new siblings at Toledo Ballet. We all want to present one of the best Nutcrackers in our joined history. There’s just such a sense of excitement in the air!”

TAPA is a partnership rooted in history, as Toledo Ballet and Toledo Symphony have collaborated artistically on The Nutcracker since the late 1940s. Toledo Ballet will present The Nutcracker with the full Toledo Symphony in the orchestra pit on December 8-9, 2018. This makes Toledo Ballet’s presentation of The Nutcracker the only local production to include a full orchestra of professional musicians.

“This year’s Nutcracker is more exciting than ever because of the merging of Toledo Ballet and Toledo Symphony Orchestra,” says Lisa Mayer-Lang, Artistic Director for Toledo Ballet.” “This historic merger has both organizations, as well as the Toledo community buzzing with excitement. Our dancers are thrilled that they will be dancing again to the live music of the Symphony in a heightened sense of unity.”

Toledo Ballet is proud to announce Chris Caputo (Caputo & Associates), Jay Berschback (WTVG13 Weatherman), Pat Bowe (President & CEO, The Andersons), and Zak Vassar (President & CEO, Toledo Symphony Orchestra) as Mother Gingers for this season’s 78th annual production of The Nutcracker.

In Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, appearance of Mother Ginger in Act Two brings a light-hearted distraction from the more serious roles in the ballet. Best recognized by her enormous hoop skirt from which her Gingersnap children spill out at the beginning of their dance, Mother Ginger’s antics delight audiences with equal part hilarity and cute-factor from the children. The role of Mother Ginger is a long-standing coveted comic role for Toledo leaders.

Chris Caputo, Financial Registered Representative at Caputo & Associates will play the role of Mother Ginger in a school day production of The Nutcracker on Friday, December 7, 2018 at 11 AM. Chris is a graduate of St. Francis de Sales High School and The University of Toledo Business School. He resides in Bellevue, Ohio and is a financial registered representative with Caputo & Associates. Chris currently serves on the Agent's Advisory Council for Ohio National Financial Services and is the incoming President of the Advisory Council in 2019. A community leader, Chris is past President and current board member of Sandco Industries, a business devoted to providing meaningful and dignified work opportunities to those with developmental disabilities. He is the President of The Bellevue Hospital Foundation, past President and current Rotarian of the Bellevue Rotary Club, and the current Chair of the Immaculate Conception Church Finance Committee. Chris has participated in worldwide charitable missions, including multiple trips to the Honduras and Haiti. Chris has a deep affinity for Toledo Ballet, his sister-in-law, Theresa Caputo, is on the faculty and is performing in The Nutcracker along with his niece, Anna Caputo, who is Clara's little sister and a Mouse!

“For years my family and I have enjoyed watching my niece and sister-in-law perform in The Nutcracker,” says Chris. “I would often joke with them, ‘I could play Mother Ginger’, which is now a reality after my dad secured the role for me as an auction prize in Toledo Ballet’s Tutu Golf Classic.”

Jay Berschback, WTVG13 Weatherman will play the role of Mother Ginger on Saturday, December 8, 2018 at 2 PM. Jay is the Chief Meteorologist on 13abc Action News at 5:00 PM, 5:30 PM, 6:00 PM, and 11:00 PM. He has earned the Television Seal of Approval from both the American Meteorological Society and the National Weather Association and is an active member in both organizations. A graduate of the University of Michigan's College of Engineering, Jay received his Bachelor’s degree in Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space Sciences (all meteorology degrees). Prior to his role at WTVG-TV, Jay was the morning and noon meteorologist at WTWO-TV in Terre Haute, Indiana. While in Indiana, he anchored the weather, read news stories, interviewed a wide range of guests, and even hosted a live cooking segment.

“I’m very honored and excited to play Mother Ginger in the Toledo Ballet’s Nutcracker this year,” says Jay. “I’m looking forward to taking the stage and being a part of this extremely popular Toledo holiday tradition. While we do wear some make-up on television, getting into Mother Ginger make-up will be quite an experience.”

Pat Bowe, President & CEO of The Andersons will play the role of Mother Ginger on Saturday, December 8, 2018 at 7 PM. Pat Bowe is President and Chief Executive Officer of The Andersons, Inc. Pat joined The Andersons in November 2015 with more than 35 years of experience in the agricultural sector. Prior to joining the company, Pat served as Corporate Vice President of Cargill, Inc. and as one of the leaders of the company’s Food Ingredients and Systems Platform. Pat graduated from Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, in 1980 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. He went on to earn a master’s degree from Stanford’s Food Research Institute in 1983. Pat currently volunteers as a board member for ProMedica and the Toledo Symphony Orchestra. Pat and his wife MaryLouise live in Perrysburg, Ohio and have 6 grown children who enjoy visiting Toledo.

“I’m excited and humbled to follow in the footsteps of Dick Anderson and other great community leaders as Mother Ginger in Toledo Ballet’s Nutcracker,” says Pat.

Zak Vassar, President & CEO of the Toledo Symphony Orchestra will play the role of Mother Ginger on Sunday, December 9, 2018 at 2 PM. Prior to becoming President & CEO of the Toledo Symphony in July 2016, Zak had a successful career as a marketing consultant. He worked for several marketing firms in the Boston area, focusing upon strategic market research. Zak always has held an active passion for classical music. He has attended hundreds of classical performances across the globe and maintains a collection of more than 2,000 classical recordings. He is enthusiastic about his position at the Toledo Symphony, as it unites his personal interest in arts with his professional capabilities in marketing and leadership.

The Symphony’s Vassar grins when asked about playing the role of Mother Ginger: “When [our organizations] were in merger discussions, it became clear at one point that I’d have to commit to playing Mother Ginger before the Ballet would take our merger discussions seriously. It was a quid pro quo of the most wonderful kind!”

Toledo Ballet’s Nutcracker, presented in collaboration with the Toledo Symphony, will be performed Saturday, December 8 at 2 PM and 7 PM, and Sunday, December 9 at 2 PM at the Stranahan Theater. Tickets range from $27-$65 and are available at or by calling the Toledo Symphony Box Office at 419.246.8000.


The Toledo Symphony and Toledo Ballet are the region’s oldest performing arts institutions. The Toledo Symphony, celebrating its 75th anniversary, is recognized as one of the finest regional orchestras in the country. Toledo Ballet, celebrating its 78th season, is recognized as one of America’s finest pre-professional dance programs. By joining forces as the Toledo Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA), the Symphony and Ballet will build on an accumulated 153 years of history and tradition to present the finest performing arts in the region while reaffirming their shared focus upon education. The Toledo Symphony and Toledo Ballet will continue to operate as sibling brands under the TAPA umbrella. For more information, please visit



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