mussel

2014 Nutcracker BAM Season

134 posts in this topic

Yes, I was surprised too by the finality of ABT's statement that this will never be performed again in NY. I thought they would give it a hiatus of 5 years, and maybe bring it back later. The finality suggests that ABT's version got clobbered at the box office by the competition from NYCB.

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I was also surprised by the irrevocable tone of those mailings, but there is always the marketing flip side called "back by popular demand."

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I wonder whether ABT has pitched this Nutcracker to the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. Like the Kennedy Center, it presents a different production each year. Since there are really only four Canadian productions big enough to fill its opera house, American companies make the occasional appearance, too. If memory serves, a couple of years ago it was Pennsylvania Ballet which did Nutcracker duty. The ballet is usually presented the first week of December, because the productions have to be shipped back home for their usual runs. But since ABT's won't have a New York home anymore, the ballet could be presented closer to Christmas. It could be an (occasional) option if the Segerstrom arrangement were ever to fall through.

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From the company:

AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE OFFERS “VIP SWEET SEATS” FOR ALL PERFORMANCES OF THE NUTCRACKER AT

THE BAM HOWARD GILMAN OPERA HOUSE

TICKET PACKAGE INCLUDES PREMIUM SEATS, GIFT BAGS AND MORE

VIP SWEET SEATS will be offered for each of the 13 performances of American Ballet Theatre’s The Nutcracker at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, December 12-21, 2014. The VIP SWEET SEAT package includes premium front orchestra or front mezzanine performance seating and a commemorative souvenir program and holiday gift bag. In addition, the package includes pre-performance and intermission access to the Natman Room at BAM, where ticketholders will meet a Nutcracker character in costume prior to the performance.

The Nutcracker, set to a score by Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky, features choreography by ABT Artist in Residence Alexei Ratmansky, scenery and costumes by Richard Hudson and lighting by Jennifer Tipton. This production was given its World Premiere at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House on December 23, 2010.

American Ballet Theatre’s 2014 season of The Nutcracker will be the final

New York performances of the ballet at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House.

VIP SWEET SEATS for American Ballet Theatre’s The Nutcracker, priced at $185-$195, can be purchased in person at the BAM box office, by phone at

718-636-4100 or online at www.bam.org. The BAM box office is located in the Peter Jay Sharp Building at 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, New York. For more information, please visit ABT’s website at www.abt.org.

David H. Koch is the Lead Underwriter of American Ballet Theatre’s The Nutcracker.

Linda Allard is the Original Underwriting Sponsor of costumes for The Nutcracker.

Joan Taub Ades and Alan M. Ades, the Susan and Leonard Feinstein Foundation, and Brian and Darlene Heidtke are Co-Underwriting Sponsors of The Nutcracker.

A gift as Co-Underwriting Sponsor of costumes for The Nutcracker has been provided in loving memory of Ellen Everett Kimiatek.

Lisa and Dick Cashin, Linda and Martin Fell, and Ruth and Harold Newman are

Co-Underwriting Partners of The Nutcracker.

ABT’s The Nutcracker is generously supported through an endowed gift from The Toni and Martin Sosnoff New Works Fund.

Additional support has been provided by Ed Fox, Theresa Khawly, The Rockefeller Brothers Fund and The National Endowment for the Arts.

American Airlines is the Official Airline of American Ballet Theatre.

Northern Trust is the Leading Corporate Sponsor of the American Ballet Theatre Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School.

ABT is supported, in part, with public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

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Doesn't NYCB call their special seat packages "Sweet Seats"? Has ABT just copied from NYCB?

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Doesn't NYCB call their special seat packages "Sweet Seats"? Has ABT just copied from NYCB?

Yes. If they were going to copy the concept, you'd think they would at least change the name. There are plenty of images/concepts they could have drawn upon... "Sugarplum Seats," etc...

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Maybe the marketing department at ABT is hoping that certain customers might get confused and accidentally buy tickets for ABT instead of NYCB.

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So I saw what's available for the ABT Nutcracker and am shocked. Basically, everything. Seats have been heavily discounted throughout the house (I remember paying loads more for a back of the mezzanine seat when this show first opened), and still the whole run is unsold. I had wondered why shows hadn't shown up to Goldstar or some other usual suspects but then it occurred to me that they really can't discount $35 tickets even more. It's depressing.

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So sad this is happening during their final Nutcracker run. I've found Ratmanksy's version to be delightful and am very sorry to have it move to the west coast. But can't help but think that I was a chump for buying an expensive ticket so soon. Ah well, if the seats remain unsold I will clap even more enthusiastically than usual.

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Wow, I just checked now and it seems they've discounted them even more. There are now loads of $29 orchestra seats available. It honestly is depressing.

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Another press release:

FINAL NEW YORK CITY PERFORMANCES OF

AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE’S THE NUTCRACKER,

DECEMBER 12-21, 2014

AT BAM HOWARD GILMAN OPERA HOUSE

Stella Abrera and Misty Copeland to Debut as Clara, the Princess

American Ballet Theatre will give its final New York City performances of

The Nutcracker at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House beginning Friday, December 12, 2014 at 7:00 P.M. Choreographed by ABT Artist in Residence Alexei Ratmansky, the holiday classic will be given 13 performances through December 21 at BAM.

Stella Abrera will make her debut as Clara, the Princess at the matinee on Sunday, December 14, dancing opposite Alexandre Hammoudi as the Nutcracker Prince. Misty Copeland will make her debut as Clara, the Princess at the evening performance on Sunday, December 14, opposite Eric Tamm as the Nutcracker Prince. Additional casts will be led by Gillian Murphy and James Whiteside, Sarah Lane and Joseph Gorak and Hee Seo and Cory Stearns.

The Nutcracker, set to a score by Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky, features choreography by Alexei Ratmansky, scenery and costumes by Richard Hudson and lighting by Jennifer Tipton. This production was given its World Premiere at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House on December 23, 2010, led by Gillian Murphy as Clara, the Princess and David Hallberg as the Nutcracker Prince.

American Ballet Theatre’s 2014 season of The Nutcracker will be the final performances of the ballet at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House. Beginning

December 2015, Segerstrom Center for the Arts and American Ballet Theatre will co-present annual engagements of The Nutcracker at Segerstrom Center in Costa Mesa, California. The 2015 performances will mark the production’s West Coast Premiere.

Tickets for American Ballet Theatre’s The Nutcracker, beginning at $20, can be purchased in person at the BAM box office, by phone at 718-636-4100 or online at www.bam.org. The BAM box office is located in the Peter Jay Sharp Building at

30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, New York. For more information, please visit ABT’s website at www.abt.org.

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Oh boy, this is sad. What's next? A free shuttle service from Lincoln Center to BAM? McKenzie will drive.

It hasn't been this bad the previous years. Is it BAM? The competition with NYCB (that's definitely some of it)? Or ABT fatigue? Or some timely combo? Hope they'll have more success in CA next year.

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BAM jis not a Christmastime destination. When families come for a show, they also usually combine it with some other holiday activity like a wonderful meal, a look at the big Xmas tree in Rock Center, a trip to a toy store or a look at holiday department store windows. BAM does not have any of these attractions. Location, location, location.

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Didn't The Hard Nut used to run at BAM from time to time? I wonder how it did at the box office.

I realize that for people coming in from the other side of the Hudson, a trip to BAM means adding an hour to the journey, but surely there are families with children who live in Brooklyn.

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Hard Nut isn't a family kind of outing, in my opinion. It's an edgy, hip crowd.

the NYCB Nutcracker is, for a lot of families, an annual family tradition.

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Obviously, ABT failed to attract the families that don't already attend NYCB's Nutcracker. There should be plenty of potential audience left over.

Perhaps ABT underestimated the importance of presence in the community. I am familiar with one company which moved from one city to another within the same territory. Both cities have metropolitan areas of roughly equal population. After the move, attendance in the new location grew, and attendance in the original location dropped precipitously, even though the same productions were being presented in both places. A box office staffed by a handful of people was just not the same as having the actual company and its affiliated school on site, with much more direct and frequent presence in the local media. Maybe ABT needed to work harder to convince locals that it belonged to Brooklyn as much as to Manhattan.

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Hmm, I don't know, I remember when the ABT first played at BAM, I saw lots of families. BAM is also by Barclay's Center, which routinely sells out. And BAM has lots of stuff that sells out. Shakespeare productions, the annual visit by William Christie's orchestra. I don't think it's as simple as location.

I think for whatever reason the Nutcracker was just not that popular with audiences. :( Not as aggressively kid-friendly as the Balanchine version, but the choreography in Act 2 is somewhat weak and thus it doesn't attract the hardcore dance fans. Either way it's depressing because this is the season that they've actually mixed up the casting somewhat and there are some debuts. I'd hate to think the dancers are going to perform to a mostly-empty house.

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Personally, after seeing this production once, I had no interest in seeing it again. canbelto, as you said, the choreography is weak in Act 2. It doesn't have the divertissements I enjoy seeing in a Nutcracker. And the grand pas de deux is odd and sometimes childish. I don't like all the cutie pie stuff the female dancer does. With regards to Brooklyn, you'd think with all the families and gentrification, you'd have Brooklynites with money looking to attend a Nutcracker in their own borough. Maybe ABT needed to do more outreach.

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The grand pas de deux is awkward because I think Ratmansky took the "child imagines herself grown up" part too literally. The pas de deux has the ballerina crying, and then playing peek-a-boo. It might work as a concept (that the ballerina is acting exactly how a child might act) but it's very awkward the times I've seen it danced.

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BAM jis not a Christmastime destination. When families come for a show, they also usually combine it with some other holiday activity like a wonderful meal, a look at the big Xmas tree in Rock Center, a trip to a toy store or a look at holiday department store windows. BAM does not have any of these attractions. Location, location, location.

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Gage and Tollner's is long gone,but there's the original Peter Luger's and Junior's is close by if you want real NY cheesecake. There's a zoo and ice skating and Frederick Law Olmsted's design in Prospect Park.

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I want to see Abrera but as I live in Jersey and already have an hour and a half commute to Lincoln Center, I can't see myself traveling to Brooklyn. So I'm seeing NYCB and PA ballet's Nutcracker.

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I'm lucky in regard to location - my daughter lives within walking distance to Barclays and BAM so for me it is a destination! In the past we've met in Manhattan and done xmas-y things there, hopped the subway back to Brooklyn for a rest and dinner then the walk to BAM - perfect!

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Personally, after seeing this production once, I had no interest in seeing it again. canbelto, as you said, the choreography is weak in Act 2. It doesn't have the divertissements I enjoy seeing in a Nutcracker. And the grand pas de deux is odd and sometimes childish. I don't like all the cutie pie stuff the female dancer does. With regards to Brooklyn, you'd think with all the families and gentrification, you'd have Brooklynites with money looking to attend a Nutcracker in their own borough. Maybe ABT needed to do more outreach.

I agree. I saw it twice when it first was produced and I never much cared about seeing it again. I too agree that it is choreographically weak, for the most part. The "snowflakes" are about the only thing that held any interest for me. Most of the rest was just too silly and convoluted to make much sense. It never captured the wonderment that the Balanchine version has in spades. It simply isn't much of a fantasy. Doesn't even have a "real" Sugar Plum Fairy". Most of the divertissments were sort of dumb with little dancing to make them interesting. And all that "when I grow up stuff" (inside the house) was pointless. This ballet has one of the most beautiful, expressive dance scores ever written and yet Ratmansky missed the boat again and again. And on a personal note. The sight lines in the Opera House at BAM are just not very good for dance. (I know, lots of dance is performed there). But unless one is in a front row of a section, one is usually directly behind another person making it difficult to see. Compare that to the State Theater where most of the seats are just fine for viewing, no matter what the price of your ticket!

Also, there was that horrible snow storm during the first year they did this ballet. And ABT refused to make any accommodation whatsoever to ticket holders who simply couldn't get to the theater. They did them selves no favors in the PR department there. (but what else is new in that area for ABT?) I for one was soured on ever going back to see it again. Let's face it, while the production will please many, it just falls so short of being worthy of seeing in so many ways. I have seen the Balanchine "Nutcracker" so many times (and danced in it when it first came to San Francisco when it was first produced....Party Scene and Hoops!), but I am always newly enchanted whenever it comes around again. There's a reason it's still the one by which to measure all others. Pure magic! Let the snowflakes begin to fall.

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"Doesn't even have a "real" Sugar Plum Fairy." There are other productions that don't have a traditional Sugar Plum. Nutcracker is one of those works that I think really does accommodate a lot of different choices.

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"Doesn't even have a "real" Sugar Plum Fairy." There are other productions that don't have a traditional Sugar Plum. Nutcracker is one of those works that I think really does accommodate a lot of different choices.

Perhaps. But the music tells us differently. The dance and choreography have to be in compliance and harmony with the score.

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