rg

Balanchine's NUTCRACKER

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the following scans document the casting for Balanchine's NUTCRACKER in 1959 when the ballet was celetrating its 4th anniversary and the company its 10th.

this is before the new designs by Ter-Artutunian, whose scheme changed the name of Bonbonniere to Mother Ginger and her Polichinelles, additionally this year was a time with the arrangement of the pas de deux as "The Sugar Plum and Her Cavaliers"

today's Marie was then Clara; and the "Maids" a "Maid"

a link to later history is also here in the form of Kit Culkin's presence as Drosselmayer's (now spelt Drosselmeier) Nephew (The Nutcracker) and The Little Prince; K.C. being the father of the filmed version's Macaulay Culkin.

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Robert, one other point of interest. Bonnie Bedelia, who danced Clara, was Kit Culkin's sister. She went on to have a nice movie career.

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thanks, i knew Bedelia's name rang a bell in the ole belfry, just didn't know which one in particular.

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...and Delia Peters is one of the children! I also see Rosemarie Dunleavy, William Weslow, another Culkin (Candace), and Nancy Reynolds are among the other small print names. I see a Susan Borree, who I assume is Yvonne's mother.

That is so fascinating, thanks loads!

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I must say I can't imagine Diana Adams as Dewdrop. That seems much more a role for Allegra Kent and Melissa Hayden.

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And I can't imagine Sallie Wilson in Hot Chocolate!

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Her Cavaliers? OK... I can see I need to pay more attention or others would be wondering too...

And Coffee with men?

It's wonderful to see old programs... so much company history! I didn't realize d'Amboise preceded Villella as Principal. Wish I had seen this production!

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Also- for you soap opera fans.. Lenore Engleman, one of the children is the mother of Eden Riegel- emmy winner for "All My Children" (and later classmate at PCS of Macauley Culkin- small small world!!)

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Also notice, among the Candy Canes, Zina Bethune, who went on to an acting career, notably The Nurses, a vehicle for her during the medical-theme show boom of the 1960s (cf. Dr. Kildare, Ben Casey, et al.).

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the Playhouse 90 telecast of NUTCRACKER in the City Center era, as detailed in this program, shows a good sampling, albeit in the confines of a tv studio, of the production as detailed in this program, including this version of Coffee and the arrangement of the pas de deux for the ballerina with four cavaliers.

also the Balanchine catalogue documents the number of changes that took place over the years.

[L. Garafola's Dance for a City exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York a few yeas ago showed this telecast in color.]

here is the NYPL dance coll. cat. entry:

The nutcracker 1958. 90 min. : sd. b&w.

Telecast by CBS Television on Playhouse 90 on December 25, 1958. Produced by John Houseman and Jack Landau. Directed by Ralph Nelson. Narrated by June Lockhart.

Choreography: George Balanchine. Music: Peter Tchaikovsky. Scenery: Bob Markell. Costumes: Karinska. Properties: Horace Armistead.

Performed by members of the New York City Ballet and children from the School of American Ballet.

Cast: George Balanchine as Herr Drosselmeyer, Debbie Paine (Clara), Robert Maiorano (Nutcracker prince), Diana Adams (Sugar plum fairy), Allegra Kent (Dewdrop fairy), Arthur Mitchell as Coffee (Arabian dance), Barbara Walczak and Roy Tobias as Chocolate (Spanish dance), Deni Lamont as Tea (Chinese dance), Edward Villella (Candy cane), and Judith Green (Marzipan)

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And Coffee with men?

precedent for Ratmansky's Nutcracker, which is also cast with one man and four women?

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Not really, unless Ratmansky's women are about 9 years old. The 1954 version of that dance has a Turkish/Persian/Arabian gentleman lounging about with his hookah, his coffee set and his parrots.

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Thank you so much, rg.

This is particularly evocative for me, since the 1958-59 season was my second attending NYCB. It was also the year I left for an out of town college. Since I knew I would only be able to get to City Center infrequently for the next few years -- vacations and an odd weekend or two -- I upped my ticket buying in 58-59.

The name "Lotte Lenya" as Guest Artist helps me to focus my memory. I know I saw Seven Deadly Sins several times that season and, in fact, went to NYCB performances at least once or twice a week throughout my high school senior year.

I also know that I saw both Hayden and Kent as Sugar Plum Fairy at City Center. So it's POSSIBLE that that was in December '58 and that I was in the audience for at least one or two of these performances. I recall Villella's Sugar Cane, definitely. And Francisco Moncion's moody, mysterious Coffee.

How I wish I had saved my programs, cast lists, and reviews from those days.

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I had read somewhere of the change at one time to Sugar Plum having four cavaliers instead of one. I can't imagine how jarring that must have been! The little tweaks and experiments over the years that Balanchine made to this production are facinating.

It seems so strange to compare how many principals the company had at that time compared to now. Of course, they had a much smaller season and repetory then.

Maybe I'm easily amused but I also love seeing the old advertisements as well. TransAtlantic voyage anyone? :wink:

I would really love to see more of these old programs posted if you have anymore RG. Thank you for posting this one.

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Wait... Parrots?....

Yep. The kids were got up in fanciful parrot duds with little beaks and tails. They must have been from New Zealand, as their behavior was rather like that of lap dogs than parrots, like the (flightless) New Zealand kakapo.

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I had read somewhere of the change at one time to Sugar Plum having four cavaliers instead of one. I can't imagine how jarring that must have been! The little tweaks and experiments over the years that Balanchine made to this production are facinating.

It seems so strange to compare how many principals the company had at that time compared to now. Of course, they had a much smaller season and repetory then.

Maybe I'm easily amused but I also love seeing the old advertisements as well. TransAtlantic voyage anyone? :wink:

I would really love to see more of these old programs posted if you have anymore RG. Thank you for posting this one.

Four cavaliers, as in the Rose Adagio? Or the pas de deux avec quatre as in the Vainonen Sugarplum pdd?

Beautiful program - I enjoyed the liquor ads immensely. :sweatingbullets:

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Beautiful program - I enjoyed the liquor ads immensely. :sweatingbullets:

And the Cunard ads. "Getting there is half the fun."

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a 1954 illustration from MUSICAL AMERICA for a report on the first season of Balanchine's NUTCRACKCER.

i'm unfamiliar w/ the intial design scheme by Horace Armistead, with its unfolding tree, so this helps me imagine what the production looked like before Ter-Arutunian's designs came into the picture.

interesting to see that the enlarged windows and toy cabinet in the latter designs repeat much of what was in place initially.

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