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PNB Nutcracker 2014

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A facsimile of the official release:

Love it again for the last time!

Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Choreography: Kent Stowell
Scenic and Costume Design: Maurice Sendak
Lighting Design: Randall G. Chiarelli
Stowell/Sendak Premiere: December 13, 1983, PNB

November 28 – December 28, 2014
Marion Oliver McCaw Hall
321 Mercer Street at Seattle Center
Seattle, WA 98109

For over thirty years, family and friends have shared the wonder and beauty of the holidays with PNB’s world-famous Nutcracker. Created by Founding Artistic Director Kent Stowell and children’s author and illustrator Maurice Sendak, PNB’s one-of-a-kind Nutcracker has been dazzling Northwest audiences since 1983. Join us now for the final season of this acclaimed and much-loved Nutcracker before it goes into the PNB vault. (In 2015, PNB will unveil its production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™, featuring all-new sets and costumes by children’s author/illustrator and theatre designer Ian Falconer.) The Stowell/Sendak Nutcracker returns to Seattle Center’s McCaw Hall for 35 public performances November 28 through December 28, 2014. Tickets to Nutcracker may be purchased through the PNB Box Office at 206.441.2424, online at PNB.org, or in person at 301 Mercer St. (A limited selection of tickets are also available through Ticketmaster, 800-745-3000 or online at Ticketmaster.com. No other outlets are authorized to sell Pacific Northwest Ballet Nutcracker tickets.)

“This is a bittersweet year for us at PNB,” said Artistic Director Peter Boal, reflecting on the legacy of the Stowell/Sendak Nutcracker. “We celebrate and salute a production like no other in our history – one that has brought more people through our doors than any other. We recognize and appreciate the profound contributions of Kent Stowell and Maurice Sendak, but also those of thousands of others, from our child performers and their carpooling parents and patient ballet masters, to our supernumeraries, some of whom have participated in this production every year since 1983! There are ticket sellers and seam sewers, dressers and stage managers, helpful ushers and members of the stage crew, some of whom not only built these whimsical sets but also still manually operate them during every performance, every year. We love this production as you do, and we look back with great pride and respect on an amazing run.”

Speaking on behalf of their dearly departed friend Maurice Sendak and themselves, PNB’s
Founding Artistic Directors Kent Stowell and Francia Russell added, “It takes so many people to make this production possible: onstage, backstage, in the PNB studios and offices, and out in the lobbies of the theater — a veritable army. All these groups become a real family from Thanksgiving to the New Year. To so many more than can be listed here, our heartfelt thanks for your contributions to the work and joy we shared. Together, we propelled PNB onto the world stage. And to the generations of faithful audience members who made possible the mighty 32-year success of Seattle's own Nutcracker, our deepest gratitude.”


“Truly magical! The dazzling details of this original PNB production make it a holiday treat for fans of any age.”
-- Where Seattle magazine

Pacific Northwest Ballet can proudly lay claim to one of the world’s most recognized and celebrated productions of Nutcracker. Drawing on E.T.A. Hoffman’s The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, Kent Stowell and Maurice Sendak delved deeply into the original story and infused the ballet with a drama and strength that fully complements Tchaikovsky’s classic score (performed live, as always, by the mighty PNB Orchestra. The roster of the orchestra, currently celebrating its 25th Anniversary season, still includes 23 founding members whose performances of PNB’s Nutcracker predate the formation of the orchestra!) Combining Stowell’s charming and dramatic choreography with magnificent sets and costumes by Sendak, Nutcracker premiered to national acclaim on December 13, 1983. Breaking all PNB box office records, its 26 performances were presented to 78,000 people, approximately 16% of Seattle’s population. The following year saw the publication of Nutcracker, a new edition of the original Hoffman story with illustrations by Sendak, which remained on The New York Times’ Best Seller List for eight weeks. In 1986 a feature-length film of the Stowell & Sendak Nutcracker was released nationwide, however audiences and critics universally agree that PNB’s stunning production is best viewed live onstage. This marvelously imagined production features over 200 dancers, gigantic moving sets and glorious costumes. With its vast array of roles danced by PNB’s professional dancers and students of Pacific Northwest Ballet School, Baby Mice have dreamed of one day being Party Girls, Soldiers, Chinese Tigers, Snowflakes or Flowers, and, ultimately, the lead roles of Clara and her Nutcracker Prince.


Ticket range: $35-$156, depending on performance date and time. ($32-$142 for children 12 and under. All ages require a ticket for admission, including babes in arms.) Tickets may be purchased through the PNB Box Office:
• Online 24/7 at PNB.org
• Phone: 206.441.2424 (Mon.-Fri. 10 am–6pm; Sat. 10am–5pm)
• In Person: 301 Mercer Street, Seattle (Mon.-Fri. 10am–6pm; Sat. 10am–5pm)

Tickets are also available – subject to availability – 90 minutes prior to each performance at McCaw Hall, located at 321 Mercer Street. A limited number of Nutcracker tickets are available through Ticketmaster, 800-745-3000 or online at ticketmaster.com. NOTE: No other ticket outlets are authorized to sell Pacific Northwest Ballet Nutcracker tickets.

It’s all in the planning: We’ve got all the tools to arrange your perfect Nutcracker experience! Find driving directions, parking options, transportation and traffic links, local dining and lodging, and FAQs about McCaw Hall by visiting PNB.org/Season/PlanYourVisit.


Day Date Times

Friday Nov. 28 7:30 pm

Saturday Nov. 29 2 pm & 7:30 pm

Sunday Nov. 30 1 pm & 5:30 pm

Friday Dec. 5 7:30 pm

Saturday Dec. 6 2 pm & 7:30 pm

Sunday Dec. 7 1 pm & 5:30 pm

Thursday Dec. 11 7:30 pm

Friday Dec. 12 7:30 pm

Saturday Dec. 13 2 pm & 7:30 pm

Sunday Dec. 14 1 pm & 5:30 pm

Wednesday Dec. 17 7:30 pm

Thursday Dec. 18 7:30 pm

Friday Dec. 19 2 pm & 7:30 pm

Saturday Dec. 20 2 pm & 7:30 pm

Sunday Dec. 21 1 pm & 5:30 pm

Monday Dec. 22 2 pm & 7:30 pm

Tuesday Dec. 23 2 pm & 7:30 pm

Wednesday Dec. 24 2 pm *

Friday Dec. 26 1 pm & 5:30 pm

Saturday Dec. 27 1 pm & 5:30 pm

Sunday Dec. 28 1 pm & 5:30 pm

* PLEASE NOTE: The Tuesday, December 24, 2:00 pm show is PNB's annual "Nutty Nutcracker"performance, with some scene changes, improvisation, and surprise features. Caveat emptor.


Kick off the holidays with our festive lobby activities including crafts, mini dance classes and storytime, roaming magicians, Nutcracker characters and other fun — all FREE for ticket holders! Guests arriving early for opening weekend performances will enjoy this joyous celebration in the splendor of McCaw Hall, shimmering with holiday décor and a soaring 20-foot tree. Pre-show festivities begin one hour before curtain.

PNB partners with 98.1 Classical KING FM to bring listeners some of history’s most popular ballet scores, featuring the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra direct from McCaw Hall. Tune in for a live broadcast of Nutcracker under the direction of conductor Emil de Cou on Saturday, December 6 at 7:30 pm. Only on Classical KING FM, 98.1 fm or online at KING.org/listen.

Classical KING FM and Music Center Northwest will host their popular Instrument Petting Zoo at
Nutcracker matinees on November 30, December 1, 14, 15 and 21. Stop by and get a feel for the instruments that make Tchaikovsky’s beautiful score come to life!

Join the PNB League at 9:30 am on Saturday, December 6th for a fun-filled holiday event designed for younger children and their families. Enjoy activities for kids, a delicious brunch, and a special Nutcracker-themed mini performance to delight the young and young-at-heart. Brunch tickets may be purchased through the PNB Box Office. For more information about this annual sell-out event, email events@pnb.org. [This event is sold out.]

Skip the lines and bustle of the lobby at intermission! Treat you and yours to a special intermission experience in the SAVOR...McCaw Hall Nutcracker Suite. The Nutcracker Suite takes the stress out of intermission and adds to your memorable Nutcracker experience. There’s a Trophy Cupcakes Sprinkle Station where you can create your own custom sweet treat, swords and crowns for snap-your-own pictures, a holiday appetizer buffet by Executive Chef Shawn Applin, and coffee and champagne for adults. Admission is $20 per person (plus applicable tax and service charge); Nutcracker performance tickets sold separately. To purchase, visit tickets.savormccaw.com.

All of the entries in The Seattle Times’ “Nutcracker Memories” coloring contest will be on display at McCaw Hall through the run of Nutcracker and one entry will win a spectacular night on the town, including a hotel stay, dinner, and four tickets to a Nutcracker performance. (An additional 20 winners will receive show tickets.)

Visit PNB.org/Community/PNBKids for Fun Stuff for kids and FAQs for their parents.


PNB is a proud participant in the Teen Tix program. Teen Tix members may purchase tickets to the Sunday, November 30, 5:30 performance of Nutcracker, on a first-come, first-served basis, day-of-show only, starting at 3:30 pm. No Teen Tix “companion tickets” are available for this performance. To learn more about Teen Tix, visit TeenTix.org.

From a familial flock of 15 to a throng of 3,000 of your closest comrades, PNB’s Nutcracker is the perfect way to celebrate the holiday season! Bring a group of family, friends, co-workers, or clients and receive 10-15% off regular Nutcracker prices, depending on date, time, and section. In addition to outstanding savings, groups receive personal ticketing assistance, the opportunity to book a backstage tour, save on group menu packages, receive priority seating, and have access to McCaw Hall reception facilities that may be rented for private parties. For more information or to purchase group tickets, contact Julie Jamieson at 206.441.2416 or juliej@pnb.org, or use PNB’s online contact form at PNB.org/Season/GroupTickets.

Please note that all discounts are taken off the standard ticket price only, and may not be combined with other offers.

# # #

Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Stowell/Sendak Nutcracker is made possible by title sponsor Alaska Airlines and major sponsor The Snoqualmie Tribe. Media support for Nutcracker is provided by The Seattle Times and KOMO 4. Pacific Northwest Ballet’s 2014-2015 Season is proudly sponsored by Arts Fund and Microsoft Corporation.

For more Nutcracker information, including detailed program notes, artist bios, synopsis, running time and casting, please visit PNB.org/Season/14-15/Nutcracker/#Details.

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An article about a master carpenter and former PNB stage manager, and their experience with the Sendak/Stowell "Nutcracker,"

[Murray Johnson] specifically noted the original Christmas tree in Act I, which magically grows to a colossal size during a dream sequence. Constructed in New York, it was shipped here in boxes. “The guy they sent out to help assemble it — he’d never actually seen it before,” Johnson remembered. “It was sort of trying to be an automated system but built with winches and stuff. It was a horrible mess. It never really grew. People were poking at it with sticks and things to keep it from getting tangled in itself.”

A year later, the current tree was made locally, by the Boeing Company.

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Back in February, Boal said it was due to analyzing ticket sales, which have slumped; and the age of the production:


The age is an issue for sets and costumes, which require consistent maintenance, replacement and investment, not always the stuff of donor dreams.

Whether moneywise it is the chicken or the egg -- ie, whether it was a solution in search of a problem -- isn't discussed, but the article concludes with a description of unanimity of the Board, "vigorous new fundraising," and a $1 million production gift. Hopefully the fundraising for this won't cannibalize general fund donations -- this was Speight Jenkins' concern when people would ask in Q&A's why the opera didn't do a special fundraiser to film the "Ring" to issue to DVD -- and time will tell whether the Balanchine is any more successful in creating new and repeat audiences after the initial novelty wears off, given the increased amount of holiday fare, and how much it will represent the Balanchine output for the company.

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Black Friday sale for "Nutcracker" tickets, from PNB's email:

Black Friday comes early this year! Enjoy 30% off all opening weekend performances of Nutcracker and 20% off other select Nutcracker performances. Hurry, offer ends Sunday at midnight!

Here's the link, which lists all discounted performances:


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Besides being an obvious crowd draw, I'm looking forward to seeing it, because his Dr. Coppelius was full of the humor we see at Q&A's;.

PNB reposted this short video with Maria Chapman giving a backstage tour of "Nutcracker" from last season. (I miss Chapman, and if she isn't back for Don Q, where she was a wonderful Mercedes, she was fabulous in "in the middle" and the Forsythe program is in March.)

It's a good way to see some of the sets and costumes up close.

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Oh, I'm foundering too -- I think that's Ariana Lallone at the front of the snowflakes.

It's nice to see footage from their old digs at the Good Shepherd Center. I know that the studios were small and the rest of the facilities were meager, but it's a lovely building -- I'm always happy to see things there.

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Husband, son and I have tickets for Saturday evening. Since my son moved to Seattle four years ago I've seen PNB a number of times, but never at their home. Seeing this Nut has been on my wish list for years, so this is the time! Two questions:

Will any of you Seattle residents be there on Saturday night? Having had the pleasure of meeting many East Coasters, I'd love a chance to put faces to you west coast names.

When I booked tickets, neither casting nor Korbes retirement had been announced. I'm considering adding a Friday night ticket for myself. No way will I get the guys to see it twice but I feel compelled to see carla one more time. Would those of you who've seen it recommend two viewings? I've certainly enjoyed back-to-back perfs of numerous ballets!

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I certainly think there's enough detail to warrant an extra performance. Sendak's designs are complex -- I'm still seeing new things in them, and in the best parts the choreography matches that sense of density. I went to opening, but I'll be there on Friday for one last look at the production.

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There are a lot of repeating themes, scenically and musically, and the major one is using Princess Pirlipat's story, although differently than the Morris used it in "The Hard Nut." The sets are wonderful, and there's a ton to see. I've seen it at least once, usually twice, each season since 1994, and I still see new things in it.

It's not your average Act II because the dreamscape theme is extended into Act II. There's no Sugar Plum Fairy, but adult Clara instead. She dances an awakening Pas de Deux with the Nutcracker turned Prince -- to the transformation/bed music in Balanchine's version -- which is quite typical of Kent Stowell's neoclassical pas, and after they exit, the snowflakes dance. (No snow queen or king.) In the second act, she dances her variation to the Sugar Plum music in front of Pasha, in whose kingdom she's landed, and then there's the big Pas de Deux with coda. (The Prince also does his variation earlier in the act.)

Korbes and Bold are wonderful together.

I'd say go. The Second Tier at McCaw Hall is the equivalent of Third Tier at NYST or, at worst, Balcony at the Met, although more like Dress Circle. But grab a ticket quickly: except for the back Second Tier boxes, which I wouldn't recommend, there are only singles scattered around the house.

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I'm sure this has been done before, but I've never seen it, and I think it's brilliant:

Save 30% on individual single seats to Nutcracker—this weekend and next! When you save this big, you won’t mind if your date is 3 seats over when the lights go down and the magic takes hold.


At this moment only stand-alone single tickets for this Saturday and Sunday are listed, not next weekend, and the website has the disclaimer that the discount doesn't apply to the lowest-price tickets.

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Tickets are certainly scarce, a happy problem! On Helene's advice I grabbed one in second tier for Friday night. Thrilled to be seeing carla korbes and to finally be seeing this production. We've had our Saturday night tickets (also second tier) for months. I wasn't going to let this chance slip away.

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I'm sure this has been done before, but I've never seen it, and I think it's brilliant:

Save 30% on individual single seats to Nutcracker—this weekend and next! When you save this big, you won’t mind if your date is 3 seats over when the lights go down and the magic takes hold.


At this moment only stand-alone single tickets for this Saturday and Sunday are listed, not next weekend, and the website has the disclaimer that the discount doesn't apply to the lowest-price tickets.

Oh that is an interesting idea, and I don't know that anyone has really used it in a promotion before.

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I attended the Nov. 30th evening performance while visiting a friend in Seattle. What a treat, especially knowing that the unique Stowell and Sendak version is in it's last run!

I've never been a fan of the party scene in any Nutcracker as I'm usually anxious to get to the snow scene and second act. I thought this party scene was as charming as any other one. The Masque dance was an unexpected addition, which I thought was very cleanly danced by Amanda Clark, Kyle Davis and Dylan Ward. I felt that the Sword-Dancer doll (Ryan Cardea) could have danced with a little more energy though. It almost felt like the he was marking the choreography.

Moving into the battle scene, I loved the giant grandfather clock that turned into Drosselmeyer and his long, swinging legs. In addition to the giant mouse head and tail, these were some serious pieces of scenery!

Heading into the snow scene, we got our first glimpse of Laura Tisserand and Karel Cruz dancing together. What a tall, beautiful pair they make. Their pas de deux was exquisite. Laura has beautifully arched feet and creates beautiful lines. And Karel was a very strong partner. The snowflakes were in top form, clearly well rehearsed. I liked this version of snow, but how can you really go wrong with this beautiful music?

In Act II, Laura danced her solo variation almost right off the bat. I had really high expectations after her pas in the snow scene, and I'm sorry to say I was a bit let down by her solo. Yes, she has beautiful feet, legs and extension. But - I felt that instead of being in control of the steps, they were in control of her. She managed to land her double pirouettes, but it looked like she lacked the strength to perform on her own that wasn't noticeable when she was being partnered. Karel's solo was technically strong, but not flashy. Kind of a nice change for me - no complaints here! The biggest standout for me in Act II was Waltz of the Flowers, led by Lesley Rausch. Just wow. Lesley knocked this one out of the park. Rock solid technique, beautiful musicality, and such a pleasant demeanor. What a wonderful example for all of the flowers dancing behind her. The Dervishes (Raphael Bouchard, Ryan Cardea, Christian Poppe) needed more rehearsal. I attended with one person who is very new to ballet, and while he can't tell you anything about technique he was very distracted by them not dancing together. Commedia (Sarah Pasch, Eric Hipolito Jr. and Elle Macy) looked beautiful in their variation, but they could use a bit more rehearsal time too. There's a lot of potential there though, and I'm sure they'll grow as a group throughout the run!

Overall, it was a fantastic evening. Those who live in Seattle are lucky to be able to see such a world class troupe on a regular basis!

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I'm glad you got a look at this before it goes away -- there's a wealth of detail in the staging.

Would you say most of those details are captured in the 1986 film? I suppose it would be impossible to catch them all, since closeups of some details would cut out others taking place at the same time. I'm also curious about whether the choreography or the staging have changed significantly since the film was shot. And was the film a pretty accurate record of the ballet at the time?

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It's been awhile since I've watched the film, so my comments are filtered by time, but I think the film is a different experience than the stage production. One of the things I love best about the stage show is the vintage theatrical effects -- a real panorama unrolling behind a little ship that "travels" on wooden waves, the "stage inside a stage" view we have of Clara's bedroom in the attic of the Stahlbaum's house. In the film, those images are established and then moved through, while in the stage production, we are always sitting in the same place, looking in the same proscenium. The film makes a transition between a real world and an imagined one for you -- in the theater, we do that work.

Please, anyone who has seen the film more recently, please chime in. It's finally available on DVD, though I don't know how long that will last after the transition to the new production next year.

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