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Nutcracker season is starting soon, and I just wanted to say how excited I am about going to see my first HB production of it (I've always been out of town during Christmas, but this year I'm going early to see Nuts). I'm attending the November 29th matinee performance featuring Sharon Teague and Britain Werkheiser, both soloists, in the roles of Sugar Plum Fairy and Snow Queen, respectively, and Walsh as the Prince. I'm considering going to two performances because I'd really like to see Barbara Bears dance in one of the lead roles; I still haven't seen her this season. Tickets might be a problem, though, because I'm stingy and don't feel like paying full price for a seat (rush tics are not offered for Nuts). Even at discounted prices for off-peak dates, 2 dollars off affordable seating areas aren't that great of a difference. Oh, but a generous friend of mine gave me 2 complimentary tickets for Nov 29th. :grinning:

For those of you that have seen this production, could you tell me a little about it? How does it compare with other Nuts you've seen? Granted, there aren't many Houstonians on this board (and if there are, speak up!), but I'm hoping someone out there has seen it.

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We attended last night and it was lovely. Sara Webb was our Sugar Plum and was promoted to Principal on stage at curtain calls by Stanton Welch. Lauren Anderson is injured, so Kristina Harper, a corps member, stepped into the role of Snow Queen and did a very lovely job. What a big night for her! On a low note, Zdenek Konvalina, the Prince, injured himself in his solo just before the finale. Simon Ball stepped out of his lead flower role and finished with Sugar Plum as the prince. Were it not for the different costumes, you never would have known (aside from the poor prince working his way quickly and painfully off stage)...the transition was otherwise seamless. Mirielle Hassenboheler was lead flower and finished her last bit of the finale solo without her lead flower.

All in all, aside from the drama, a very nice show.

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I heard about the drama that went on opening night. Congrats to Sara Webb on being promoted; I saw it coming. :unsure:

Oh wow, what a spectacular Nutcracker. The opulent sets and costumes by Desmond Heeley put me in Christmas mode early this year. I knew that this production's Clara and Fritz were danced by adults, but when they came out, I was so convinced I was watching children I thought, "Holy shamoly! Those are a couple of talented 10 year olds!" Cleopatra Williams and Ilya Kozadayev were scheduled to perform, but I believe they were replaced by Laura Richards and Firat Kazbek Ozsoy (a little hard to tell from where I was sitting). They both did a fine job of fooling me (and of dancing). Werkheiser didn't quite come across me as a "Snow Queen"; she’s a lovely dancer, but I think I might prefer to see her in soubrette type roles. I would love to see Tyann Clement as the Queen, which she was scheduled to dance in for the evening performance. In Arabian, Clement had that mysterious “air” which is very compelling. Teague danced Sugar Plum with much charisma and beauty. Walsh, as the Nutcracker Prince, partnered both Queen and Sugar Plum nobly, and he is still quite the virtuoso in his variations. Nicholas Leschke and Kim Wagman danced the lead Flowers. Leschke was a strong and masculine partner, and Wagman was as delicate as, well, a flower. That was my first time seeing Wagman in a leading role and hope I get to see more of her.

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Here's a link to Molly Glentzer's review: Webb leads an energized 'Nutcracker'

After the show, artistic director Stanton Welch announced that Sugar Plum Fairy Sara Webb had made her final appearance as a soloist, because she was being promoted to the rank of principal. But the highly unusual onstage promotion -- the first I've seen at the Houston Ballet -- wasn't the evening's only unexpected twist.
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