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PA Ballet -- Balanchine's Nutcracker


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Here's the PA Ballet's release regarding Balanchine's Nutcracker and related activities:

Pennsylvania Ballet celebrates the 50th Anniversary of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker

November 8, 2004


Celebrating the 50th anniversary of George Balanchine’s beloved version of this classic holiday tradition, Pennsylvania Ballet captivates audiences this season with 26 performances of The Nutcracker at the historic Academy of Music, December 11, 2004 through January 2, 2005. There are also many additional activities surrounding this annual extravaganza including special events, family-friendly parties, charitable opportunities and more.

The Performances: George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker

For the 36th consecutive year, Pennsylvania Ballet lights up the stage of the Academy of Music with its extraordinary production of The Nutcracker. Set to Peter Ilych Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score, Pennsylvania Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker has become a beloved holiday tradition, attracting more than 50,000 people each year. This season, the Company performs this classic, full-length ballet 26 times including a special private benefit performance.

Based on the E.T.A. Hoffman tale “The Nutcracker and The Mouse King,” The Nutcracker features the adventures of Marie and her Prince as they battle the evil Mouse King and travel to the incredible Land of the Sweets, where they are entertained by charming characters including the Sugarplum Fairy. The production is a holiday feast for the senses, with hundreds of magnificent costumes and stunning sets including the famous snow scene and ornate Land of the Sweets. More than 80 dancers, including the members of Pennsylvania Ballet and dozens of children, as well as the Philadelphia Boys Choir, perform in this spectacular, two-hour production.

Pennsylvania Ballet is one of the few companies nationwide licensed to present George Balanchine’s version of this century-old classic. And this year is even more special because it’s the 50th anniversary of his

version, which was first presented by his company, New York City Ballet, in February 1954.

Performances of The Nutcracker are as follows:

- Friday, December 10 at 7 p.m. (Special private performance for “Nutcracker Magic” benefit)

- Saturday, December 11 at 11 a.m., 3 p.m. & 7 p.m.

- Sunday, December 12 at 12 p.m. & 4 p.m.

- Friday, December 17 at 7 p.m.

- Saturday, December 18 at 11 a.m., 3 p.m. & 7 p.m.

- Sunday, December 19 at 12 p.m. & 4 p.m.

- Tuesday, December 21 at 7 p.m.

- Wednesday, December 22 at 7 p.m.

- Thursday, December 23 at 7 p.m.

- Friday, December 24 at 12 p.m.

- Sunday, December 26 at 12 p.m. & 4 p.m.

- Tuesday, December 28 at 12 p.m. & 4 p.m.

- Wednesday, December 29 at 12 p.m. & 4 p.m.

- Thursday, December 30 at 2 p.m. & 7 p.m.

- Friday, December 31 at 12 p.m.

- Sunday, January 2 at 12 p.m.

Ticket prices for The Nutcracker range from $20 to $99. Tickets can be purchased by calling (215) 893-1999, or online at www.paballet.org. Groups of ten or more can receive special discounts by calling (215) 551-7000, extension 1212 or 1213. For more information, call (215) 551-7000 or visit the website at www.paballet.org.

Salvation Army’s “Joy of Sharing” Toy Drive

CBS3 and Pennsylvania Ballet are teaming up with the Salvation Army to help provide local children in need with holiday toys. Whether or not you see The Nutcracker this year, CBS3 and Pennsylvania Ballet invite you to bring a new, unwrapped toy to the Academy of Music on any performance day between December 11 and January 2 and place it in the special “Joy of Sharing” drop boxes located in the lobby.

Nutcracker Family Day on December 11th

The performances on Saturday, December 11 at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. are part of Pennsylvania Ballet’s Family Matinee Series, and include a free Family Day event in the Academy Ballroom from 1 to 3 p.m. Family Day is a fun-filled event featuring entertainment, games and craft activities, as well as autograph opportunities with some of the featured dancers. Family Matinee Series subscriptions are discounted 15% over single ticket prices. In addition to the December 11 matinees of The Nutcracker, the 2004-2005 season Family Matinee Series includes performances and Family Day events for La Fille mal gardée on March 5, 2005 and Romeo and Juliet on June 4, 2005. For more information about Family Day, call (215) 551-7000, extension 1226.

Get Your Own ‘Nutcracker Suite’

Audiences can extend their ballet-going experience by purchasing a Nutcracker Package from The DoubleTree Hotel Philadelphia or the Sofitel Philadelphia. Both hotels are conveniently located on the Avenue of the Arts, and both packages include tickets to see The Nutcracker.

Located across the street from the Academy of Music, the DoubleTree Hotel’s Nutcracker Package includes two tickets to the performance, overnight accommodations, parking and breakfast. Packages range from $203 to $253 plus tax. For information and reservations (based on availability), call (215) 893-1600.

The Sofitel Philadelphia, located a few blocks from the theater near Rittenhouse Square, offers a package that includes two tickets to the performance, overnight accommodations, valet parking, and complimentary turn-down service. Packages range from $250 to $296 including tax. For information or reservations (based on availability), call (215) 569-8300.

Dancer Autographs and Holiday Photos

As an added treat for audiences, some of Pennsylvania Ballet’s featured dancers will be on hand to sign autographs for patrons in the Academy of Music lobby on Friday, December 17 before the 7 p.m. performance and Tuesday, December 28 before the 4 p.m. performance. Also, in the lobby before every performance and during intermissions, audience members can have their picture taken with the Mouse King and Sugarplum Fairy characters in front of a beautifully decorated, 15-foot Christmas tree, donated by Waterloo Gardens. A great keepsake or gift for grandparents, holiday photos cost $10 each.

Nutcracker Magic Benefit Party

More than 500 children and well-behaved adults will don their finest holiday attire for Pennsylvania Ballet’s annual Nutcracker Magic benefit on Friday, December 10, 2004. Chaired by Noele M. Wein of Gladwyne, Nutcracker Magic is a glittering holiday party for families that features dinner and a private, preview performance of The Nutcracker. Tickets range from $150 to $250 per person and are available by calling (215) 551-7000, extension 1209. All proceeds benefit Pennsylvania Ballet’s artistic and community outreach programs.

This fun-filled evening begins at 5:15 p.m. with a walk up the red carpet where families will be greeted by CBS-3 news anchor Alicia Lane. Then upon entering the majestic Academy of Music guests will enjoy spectacular decorations and living statues. An enormous buffet dinner awaits at Academy of Music Ballroom, catered by Restaurant Associates, or at one of three participating restaurants; Bliss, Cadence and Toto. Prior to the performance, children can enjoy jugglers, mimes, face painting and other activities, as well as meet characters from The Nutcracker. Guests will then take their seats for a 7 p.m. private performance of Pennsylvania Ballet’s The Nutcracker.

New to the benefit will be a party exclusively for teens. The event will take place in the Canteen of the Academy and will include appearances by DJ Brendan Bring’em from Soul Travelers and the Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleaders. As the teens enter the Academy they will be welcomed like a star down the Red Carpet as CBS-3 news anchor Alicia Lane interviews them about the ballet. Another new addition is the Nutcracker Magic Tribute Journal and Family Album. This creative souvenir will be available for purchase and will include photos from past Nutcracker parties and other family photos donated by past guests and friends of the ballet.

Also, in the spirit of giving, Pennsylvania Ballet’s private and corporate contributors underwrite the cost of tickets for children from different social service organizations to attend the evening’s performance.

Private Children’s Parties

Pennsylvania Ballet also offers private children’s parties during Saturday and Sunday matinee performances of The Nutcracker. Children’s parties at The Nutcracker make an extraordinary holiday celebration for the family or the birthday party of a lifetime for your child. Children’s parties include 12 Parquet Circle tickets, a private room for light holiday treats, special guest appearances by members of the cast, and an exclusive backstage tour. Prices begin at $1,500 and availability is limited to one party per matinee. For more information, call (215) 551-7000, extension 1209.

Children’s Enchantment Fund

Pennsylvania Ballet Children’s Enchantment Fund enables lower-income families to see The Nutcracker for free. One child enjoys a performance for every $30 tax-deductible donation. Since its introduction in December 1996, the Children’s Enchantment Fund has enabled more than 10,000 children and their families to experience Pennsylvania Ballet’s The Nutcracker. To make a donation, please call (215) 551-7000, extension 1255.

Win Free Airfare Provided by US Airways

Pennsylvania Ballet has paired with its official airline, US Airways, to create an exciting contest for this season’s The Nutcracker. Every person who purchases a minimum 4 tickets to The Nutcracker between November 1 and November 25 will automatically be entered in a drawing to win 2 roundtrip tickets to anywhere in the Continental United States. For more details, please call (215) 551-7000, extension 1226.

The Proposal of a Lifetime

Pennsylvania Ballet has partnered with Safian & Rudolf, Harry Merrill & Son and the Loews Philadelphia Hotel to give one lucky couple the proposal opportunity of a lifetime. Every person who purchases an engagement ring at participating retailers during the month of November will automatically be entered into a drawing to win the proposal of their dreams. The winning couple will receive a dinner at Solefood Restaurant in the Loews Hotel. They will then proceed to the Academy of Music where they will be escorted into a Proscenium Box during Pennsylvania Ballet company class. The box will contain a dozen roses and two glasses of champagne. This is where the proposal will take place. The couple will then stay for the production of The Nutcracker and finally after the show proceed to a private suite in the Loews Hotel for the evening.

“Sweet Deals” Discounts

As an added bonus to every person that purchases a single ticket to The Nutcracker, Pennsylvania Ballet will be including a Nutcracker “Sweet Deals” buck slip. This program will offer extended discounts to various local retailers, restaurants, hotels and family entertainment venues. This is a special thank you to everyone supporting the ballet and our holiday classic, The Nutcracker.

Nutcracker Walk-on Opportunity

Pennsylvania Ballet has partnered with CBS3 to give one special child a chance of a lifetime, to be on stage as part of The Nutcracker. Children between the ages of 8 and 10 are encouraged to log on to www.kwy.com beginning November 24 and tell us in a paragraph or less why they would like to be in The Nutcracker. The winner will be chosen on December 8 and will be awarded a walk-on part in The Nutcracker and four tickets to the show.

50th Anniversary of The Nutcracker Program Contest

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, Pennsylvania Ballet has developed a special contest for everyone who comes to see the performance. At each show, one lucky audience member will find a special sticker on their program, certifying them as the winner! The winners will be awarded a valuable Nutcracker Prize Pack containing various Nutcracker items.

Promotional Appearances

Blue Cross RiverRink

Pennsylvania Ballet will send two of its most memorable characters from The Nutcracker, to the Blue Cross RiverRink for its opening day on Friday, November 26th from 1:30PM to 3:30PM. The Sugarplum Fairy and the Mouse King will be at the rink to greet families and to sign autographs and take pictures. Pennsylvania Ballet will also have a coloring station for children to learn more about the ballet.

On Saturday, December 18th from 1:30PM to 3:30PM Blue Cross River Rink will be having a special appearance by Santa! Pennsylvania Ballet’s Mouse King will be Santa’s escort as he arrives by helicopter to the rink. The Mouse King will lead Santa to the rink where he will be skating with children and families for the day. For more information about these events call Roseanne Capaccio at (215) 551-7000, extension 1226 or visit our website at www.paballet.org.

The Sugarplum Fairy at Longwood Gardens

The Sugarplum Fairy will be appearing at Longwood Gardens on Saturday, November 27th from 2:00PM-3:00PM, as an added attraction to their annual Festival of Lights display. This attraction opens the day after Thanksgiving and is open to the public throughout the holiday season. The Sugarplum Fairy will be located at Pennsylvania Ballet’s workbook coloring station and will be available for photo opportunities and autographs. Contact Juliana DeRosa in Group Sales at (215) 551-7000, extension 1212 for more information or visit our website at www.paballet.org.

PATCO Wear Red Wednesdays

Pennsylvania Ballet will take part in PATCO’s Wear Red Wednesdays on December 1st during the evening rush hour. The Mouse King will surprise Speedline passengers as they board trains. The Mouse King will be handing out information about the holiday favorite The Nutcracker and will select a few lucky commuters wearing red to receive a special prize pack containing Nutcracker tickets.

RittenHouse Row Tree Lighting

On Saturday, December 4th from 5:00PM to 6:00PM Pennsylvania Ballet will be participating in RittenHouse Row’s anticipated Tree Lighting Ceremony. The Sugarplum Fairy and Mouse King will be assisting Santa in his annual task of lighting the beautiful tree. The Nutcracker characters will be available to sign autographs and take pictures with children and families. For more details on this special day contact Roseanne Capaccio at (215) 551-7000, extension 1226 or visit our website at www.paballet.org.

Sugarplum Sunday in Chestnut Hill

Come out and see Pennsylvania Ballet’s Sugarplum Fairy and Mouse King at O’Doodles Toy Store at 8335 Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill on Sunday, December 5th from 1:00PM until 2:00PM and at Intermission gift shop located at 8405 Germantown Avenue from 2:00PM-3:00PM. O’Doodles and Intermission will be taking part in Chestnut Hill’s annual shopping day. Pennsylvania Ballet’s characters will be on location at the stores for pictures and autographs while children and families embark on their holiday shopping sprees. Children can come and take part in activities as well as view the beautiful Nutcracker display. For more details call Roseanne at (215) 551-7000, extension 1226 or visit our website at www.paballet.org.

Holiday House Tours

Join Pennsylvania Ballet’s Sugarplum Fairy and Mouse King on Thursday, December 9th from 6:00PM to 8:00PM in Haddonfield, New Jersey for the spectacular Holiday House Tours. Guests from all over the area will come to view the beautifully decorated homes and light displays. The characters will be located in the DeLong House and will be awaiting guests for photos and autographs. Admission is $15 per person and can be purchased at the door. Contact Roseanne Capaccio at (215) 551-7000, extension 1226 for more information or visit our website at www.paballet.org.

Tea with the Sugarplum Fairy at Byer’s Choice Ltd.

Byer’s Choice Ltd. will be opening its doors to the public for its Free Christmas Gallery Tour and International Crèche Display. Pennsylvania Ballet will be on location Saturday, December 11th as the Sugarplum Fairy enchants customers by signing autographs and taking pictures. For more information contact Juliana DeRosa at (215) 551-7000, extension 1212 or visit our website at www.paballet.org.

Tea with the Sugarplum Fairy at the Park Hyatt Bellevue

Pennsylvania Ballet and the Park Hyatt Philadelphia at the Bellevue have paired up to offer a special package for The Nutcracker season. Packages will include tickets to the 12PM or 4PM performances on December 19th and a special tea in the Conservatory of the Park Hyatt at the Bellevue. Pennsylvania Ballet’s Sugarplum Fairy will be at the tea to sign autographs and pose for pictures with guests. Two packages are available for purchase, the Parquet Circle is $97.40 per person and the Family Circle is $70.40 per person. Please RSVP with Juliana DeRosa at (215) 551-7000, extension 1212 by November 19th as space is limited or visit our website at www.paballet.org.

Brunch with Santa, the Sugarplum Fairy and Mouse King

Come enjoy brunch with your favorite Nutcracker characters, the Sugarplum Fairy and Mouse King at the Loew’s Hotel on Sunday, December 4th at 2:00PM. Families are invited to attend a festive afternoon while dining with the holiday characters. The cost is $20 for adults and $15 for children, this includes your full brunch and an opportunity to take photos and have autographs signed by Pennsylvania Ballet’s Sugarplum Fairy and Mouse King. Contact the Loews Hotel at (215) 231-7309 to make your reservation today!

Founded in 1963 by Balanchine student Barbara Weisberger, Pennsylvania Ballet is one of the nation’s leading ballet companies. Headquartered in Philadelphia, the Company’s local season features more than 60 performances of classic favorites and new works, as well as the Philadelphia holiday tradition, The Nutcracker. For more information, call (215) 551-7000 or visit the website at www.paballet.org.

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Hi Pugbee

RE: Charity Eagans.........Charity is fine and and ready to deliver her first baby!!!! She will return in spring.

There are many many new names you may not recognize as there are four female apprentices now and also a handful of PAB Studio Co. kids used in the bigger productions. If you look on the roster at PAB web site, you will find many of those names with bios. I think it has been wonderful for the dancers this year because of larger numbers. Most everyone has a "cover" this year which means a break now and again from dancing every show. Their schedule is grueling and Balanchines Snow and Flowers, as many of you know, can be physically challanging when dancing it three times in one day!!! I think it a wise move from management to enlargen the corps. It will keep the dancers in better health.

Hopefully Rio will be back soon too.

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Socalgal: You said it! "Wise" is an understatement. When I was there, most of us had to dance in all 30+ shows of Nutcracker... and when someone got injured it was a messy juggling act to rearrange casting! :) Not to mention the fact that the soloist women usually were still Flakes and Flowers, along with everything else they danced! I noticed that no soloists are dancing corps parts this year.

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Not quite true, Pugbee.....I see one soloist who is going into corps once or twice. But, yes, in general there is better relief this year. And Yes, it must be a juggling act to cast 30 shows with smaller numbers. (I was told that a principal volunteered to dance a corps spot just to fill in in an emergency situation one year!!! ) It is still a difficult schedule with still many corps women dancing every show like you said. And with the additional week in Cleveland, where they are right now, it makes it even a longer season. The company only has a week off before they must be back to rehearse the next program which is also shorter lay off than usual....not much time to recoup after Nut!

And then La Fille Mal Gardee coming up soon after....a busy year.

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I was kinda wondering if it was a new, Marxist interpretation of the Nutcracker.

Suddenly, the proletariat triumphs as the maid, oppressed for so long by the Imperialist Stahlbaum house who represent the tyrranical monarchy, is revealed to be the Sugar Plum Fairy!

Surrounded by her true friends, the Worker Mice, she proceeds to dance a representative inauguration of the new cement factory.

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There are changes to the casting this weekend.

Saturday, December 11th at 11:00am

~Dew Drop will be played by Heidi Cruz

Saturday, December 11th at 3:00pm

~Sugarplum Fairy will be played by Arantxa Ochoa

~Cavalier will be played by James Ady

Saturday, December 11th at 7:00pm

~Dew Drop will be played by Amy Aldridge

~Coffee will be played by Christine Cox

~Lead Marzipan Sheperdess will be played by Abigail Mentzer

Sunday, December 12th at 12:00pm

~Sugarplum Fairy will be played by Valerie Amiss

~Cavalier will be played by James Ihde

~Lead Marzipan Sheperdess will be played by Ashley Flood

~Flower Demi will be played by Heidi Cruz

Sunday, December 12th at 4:00pm

~Cavalier will be played by Zachary Hench

~Lead Marzipan Sheperdess will be played by Ashley Flood

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Last weekend's opening of PAB's Nutcracker did have many casting changes, but did not disappoint! Zach Hench's repeat performances of Cavalier were a treat and all the corps members who replaced the upper ranks in Act II were exemplary. Balanchine's ballet flows so seamlessly that I never seem to tire watching repeat performances. Act I focuses on the children and family culture. The dance with the girls and their father always makes me smile. It is the way Balanchine gives character to each family on stage and keeps the scene moving constantly without feeling strained and it tells me that this man did understand the 'story' ballet quite well. The children this year did nicely. And although they were not as polished in their dancing as in years past, they made up for it in enthusiasm and energy.

Julie Diana and Zachery Hench danced a beautiful Sugar Plum/Cavalier pas. Having seen Julie dance SFB's version, it was fun wathching her charm and style in this one. Her solo floated along with a more reserved softer approach than others in this company. Their pas was superb.

I also enjoyed the other couplings I saw which included Aranxta Ochoa with James Ady (dazzling pas). Val Amiss and James Ihde and Amy Aldridge with Zach (a handsome match-up).

The corps was full of new faces but the Snow scene and Flowers had polish, musicality and spark. I think this speaks well for the staff who rehearses them. All in all, this Nut keeps Philadelphia crowds coming back year after year. It is a beautifully performed ballet by a wonderful talented group of dancers. Now.......for some more interesting faire in the triple bill in February~looking forward! :blink::lol:

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