PITTSBURGH, PA – Onstage Dec. 7-30, at the Benedum Center, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre brings the magic of The Nutcracker home for the holidays with a Pittsburgh-inspired production featuring more than 210 costumes, 190 performers and turn-of-the-century Pittsburgh set design.
Recognized as one of the most popular ballets of all time, The Nutcracker is a timeless holiday classic based on the German tale written by E.T.A. Hoffmann. PBT has performed The Nutcracker since the company’s founding in 1969. Beginning in 2002, PBT Artistic Director Terrence S. Orr created an entirely new production with an enhanced storyline, new choreography and a unique Pittsburgh theme.
“It’s a joy to bring this timeless story to Pittsburgh year after year: a story of a young girl’s coming of age, a story that’s full of enchantment, romance, adventure and the comforts of home,” Orr said. “Each year, we honor the tradition of The Nutcracker while constantly advancing its sense of adventure with new surprises.”
Throughout The Nutcracker’s 20-performance run, Orr encourages creativity by challenging company members to dance and develop a range of character roles. Casting is unique for every performance; one dancer can perform as many as eight roles during one season of The Nutcracker. More than 150 students, ages 7 and up, also will join PBT company dancers on the Benedum Center stage performing a variety of whimsical roles ranging from bumblebees and mice to flowers and toy soldiers.
Set to Tchaikovsky’s iconic score, PBT’s The Nutcracker stays true to many of the original elements of Hoffmann’s tale while lacing the production with the rich traditions and culture of early 20th century Pittsburgh.
With the help of theatrical designer Zack Brown, the set design pays tribute to relics from Pittsburgh’s past. Act I is set in Shadyside at the Stahlbaum house, rendered after F.W. McKee’s mansion on Fifth Avenue. Although the Stahlbaum family of the Hoffmann tale hosts the party, a number of historic Pittsburgh families are on the guest list, including Mr. and Mrs. Kaufmann, Mr. and Mrs. Heinz, and Mr. and Mrs. Grandview. Other Act I Pittsburgh imagery includes a Heinz delivery truck; a proscenium clock inspired by the famous Kaufmann’s Department Store clock; Kaufmann’s Christmas Stories for Boys and Girls; and an artistic rendering of the stunning Mount Washington View as the backdrop to the famous Snow Scene. The Pittsburgh theme continues into Act II by way of the Land of Enchantment Carousel, representing the elaborate carousels at several famous amusement parks in the Pittsburgh region.
Act II also features unique alterations to the original second act of The Nutcracker, as Terrence S. Orr has added a variety of energetic characters to make the Land of Enchantment evoke the wonders of childhood. The second act is full of virtuoso performances including the exuberant Russian trepak, the exotic Arabian dance and culminating in the beautiful and elegant Grand Pas de Deux danced by the Sugarplum Fairy and her Cavalier.
Tickets start at $25.75, and are available online at www.pbt.org, by calling 412-456-6666 or visiting The Box Office at Theater Square.