American Repertory Ballet Announces its 50th Annual 'Nutcracker' Season
American Repertory Ballet's 50th Annual Nutcracker Season will run November 23 through December 22 at venues across New Jersey. ARB's Nutcracker is a holiday classic featuring Tchaikovsky's score and a cast of over 100 performers. The Company has been performing Nutcracker for 50 consecutive years, making it the longest-running Nutcracker production in New Jersey and one of the longest consecutively-running in the United States next to a very few, including New York City Ballet, Ballet West, Ballet Austin, San Francisco Ballet, and Washington Ballet.
ARB's Nutcracker has been a holiday tradition since 1964 when the company, then known as Princeton Regional Ballet, began to perform the ballet annually. Founder and then Artistic Director Audrée Estey initially staged her version of Nutcracker in 1956 as a spring Princeton Ballet School performance at McCarter Theatre in Princeton. William Lockwood, who still works at McCarter as Director of Special Programming, suggested that the company perform the production at McCarter every holiday season, an idea that soon became reality.
On Friday, November 1, at 5:15pm, prior to the beginning of ARB's Nutcracker performance season the Company will present its "50th Annual Nutcracker" On Pointe Enrichment Series event at Princeton Ballet School - 301 North Harrison Street, Princeton, NJ. This On Pointe will be a lecture-demonstration summarizing highlights of the 50-year history of the company's Nutcracker, which made its annual debut at McCarter Theatre in 1963. The event will take the audience through highlights of the rich 50-year history of the company's Nutcracker and will also feature a discussion of Tchaikovsky's score with music scholar and Princeton University professor Simon Morrison. Additionally, ARB's dancers will perform excerpts from the ballet.
The company will bring its 50th Annual Nutcracker production to Union County Performing Arts Center's main stage in Rahway on November 23 at 2:00pm. ARB's Nutcracker will be at McCarter Theatre in Princeton for Thanksgiving weekend: Wednesday, November 27 at 7:00pm and Friday, November 29 and Saturday, November 30 at 1:00pm and 4:30pm. On Saturday, December 7 at 1:00pm and 4:30pm, ARB's Nutcracker will be at Patriots Theater at the War Memorial in Trenton, where the company has been presenting Nutcracker for over 20 years. The following weekend, the dancers will be at Algonquin Arts Theatre in Manasquan for performances on Saturday, December 14 at 1:00pm and 4:30pm and on Sunday, December 15 at 3:00pm. The closing weekend of ARB's Nutcracker will be at State Theatre in New Brunswick, where the company has also been performing Nutcracker for over 20 years, on Saturday, December 21 and Sunday, December 22 at 1:00pm and 4:30pm. These performances at State Theatre will feature a live orchestra, conducted by Maestro Michael Pratt, and the Princeton GirlChoir.
On Saturday, November 30, directly following the 4:30pm performance at McCarter Theatre, ARB's "Celebrate the Legacy" reception at The Nassau Club in Princeton will welcome ARB and Princeton Ballet School Alumni from the last 50 years of ARB's Nutcracker and their families, ARB's current performers, fans, supporters and community members. The event will feature hors d'oeuvres prepared by The Nassau Club Chef Brian Dougherty, an open bar, a 50/50 raffle, and a silent auction, featuring gifts donated by Kate Spade NY, Veuve Cliquot, Lace Silhouettes Lingerie, McCarter Theatre, and more. Event tickets are $50. Visit arballet.org
Photo by George Jones