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PNB Nutcracker

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I just received this press release from PNB about how there will be live choruses in the lobby for "Nutcracker" performances:

SEATTLE, WA — McCaw Hall will be alive with the sound of music, as a dozen area high school ensembles serenade audiences arriving for performances of Pacific Northwest Ballet’s acclaimed Stowell/Sendak Nutcracker. In all, 24 performances of PNB’s Nutcracker will feature free, live lobby entertainment.

PNB started inviting high school choirs two years ago, and the program has been a great success, with wonderfully positive response from patrons and participants alike, so it has now become a PNB Nutcracker tradition. “The singers create such a festive holiday atmosphere in McCaw Hall for our audiences, and it’s a fantastic experience for the students,” says John Tangeman, PNB Manager of Audience Services. “We look forward to welcoming them back this year!”

Vocal performances kick off on opening night with the North Kitsap High School Dramatic Arts Club’s cast members of “Much Ado About Nothing” (but dressed in “White Christmas” costumes) serenading guests with a selection of holiday songs. School ensembles from as far as Tumwater and Port Townsend are scheduled to perform. Other musical groups providing music during the run of Nutcracker include the renowned Dickens Carolers, as well as several groups competing in the popular Figgy Pudding Street Corner Caroling Competition. See performance schedule, below, for the full line-up.

Pacific Northwest Ballet’s acclaimed Stowell/Sendak Nutcracker – the Northwest’s most cherished holiday tradition – runs for 36 performances November 25thru December 27. Tickets may be purchased by calling the PNB Box Office at 206.441.2424, online at PNB.org, or in person at the PNB Box Office at 301 Mercer St. A limited selection of Nutcracker tickets is also available thru Ticketmaster, 800.745.3000 or online at ticketmaster.com. No other ticket outlets are authorized to sell PNB Nutcracker tickets.


flowers.gif to our website software engineers who changed the post feature to keep formatting from emails, so that when I copy and paste them, I only have to increase the size, rather than try to replicate the formatting flowers.gif

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Over the last several years the company has really tried to create a multi-art experience for people coming to Nut -- I'm wondering if this is true in other communities. I know of many related projects (dancers appearing in community events, library storytelling programs, etc) but I'm curious about the actual event in the theater.

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I think that bringing in school choirs is a great idea, because it exposes another group that is already arts focused into the theater. It may be years before it bears fruit: in my own experience, my childhood was in the day of Bell Telephone Hour, Firestone Theater, and the Ed Sullivan Show, but, alas, not PVRs, and limited means to see live ballet in high school and college, where I had lots of opportunity to hear classical music. A so-so experience with Boston Ballet during my two years in the area after college kept my focus on music, but when I moved to NYC, that is when I became immersed in ballet. Had I not had the early exposure, including a few great live performances at ABT as a teenager, I might not have been tempted to go back and would have spent all of my time and money at Carnegie Hall, the Met, and NYCO.

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For opening weekend, here are the events for kids in the email I got today:

- Magnificent 20-Foot Tree

- Holiday Carolers

- Marvelous Magicians

- Crafts for Kids

- Mini Dance Classes

- Story Time with Show-and-Tell Costumes

- Lights, Lights, and LIGHTS

- Larger-than-Life Sendak Statues

- Costumed Characters

- Mini-Stage for Pretending

- Orchestra Meet-and-Greet

As much as I hated doing dress-up as a kid, I would have made the trade-off with my grandmother to be able to do crafts and see and hear stories.

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Marcie Sillman interviewed Madeleine Devries, a Professional Division student about to begin yeoman duty, or as yeoman as the union contracts allow, in "Nutcracker" for Public Radio station KUOW:


She was trained in Seattle, but the transcript doesn't say whether she was was one of the handful of students at PNBS who tracked from the lower grades into the Professional Division. Being "invited" to the PD by Peter Boal suggests that she was, but she may have trained elsewhere in Seattle.

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I went to opening night -- audience full of party girls and little boys cleaner than they usually are on a Friday night. Benjamin Griffiths was out, which made for a small domino effect in casting (Tisserand in for Moore in the Dervishes, Moore in for Griffiths in the Commedia) A couple of blats in the orchestra, and they aren't quite as decorated in the pit as they will be later in the run, but overall a nice, strong performance.

William Lin-Ye very legible as Dr Stahlbaum -- nice moments with Brittany Reid as his wife. Uko Gorter makes it clear that Drosselmeier is a kid who never grew up, even in the second act, which is more of a trick. Maria Chapman and Seth Orza as the main couple both had a youthful vibe that works well with those parts -- she's generally more sophisticated as a dancer but brought a naive quality to the stage this time.

Leslie Rausch made the peacock an independent character, rather than emphasizing the langour, Jessika Anspach and William Lin-Ye led the Moors with great verve (nice partner moments with them) and Carrie Imler managed once again to make very fast things seem organic as Flora.

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Sounds wonderful. I thought Maria Chapman was radiant as Aurora in "Aurora's Wedding" earlier in the month, but I couldn't help an internal giggle, as she was the most sophisticated of the Countesses earlier in her career. I can still see her standing downstage during the Blindfold Dance, watching the Prince across the stage, and tapping her riding crop in her palm.

Still no casting up for this weekend. I'm hoping to catch one, in between appointments and Mark Morris on Saturday night.

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The newest video features Chelsea Adomaitis on the role of Peacock, and she reveals the costume secret of the tail:

In rehearsal, I think that's Emma Love learning behind her, and it looks like a few shots of Laura Gilbreath helping her with her makeup.

Edited to add:

Casting is up for the next two weekends:


Lots of great Peacocks to see: Adomaitis, Love, Dec, Gilbreath, Anspach, Reid, Kitchens, Chapman, and O'Connor.

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Hi, tableleap, and welcome to BalletAlert!

I've been in those ballet slippers -- wanting a copy of a lost program. I never had a problem asking the company for an extra copy. In fact, I even remember one performance where there were no extras in the house -- the ushers had distributed every single one of them. A day or two later, when I called the office, they had some and were happy to send me one.

If you haven't done so yet, you should probably call (or these days, e-mail) the PNB offices or perhaps the theater. Good luck!

Or, perhaps one of our friendly readers will be able to help you. I've had excellent luck that way, too! thumbsup.gif

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