THE NUTCRACKER and More Set for Cleveland Orchestra's 2012 Holiday Festival, 11/29-12/23

THE NUTCRACKER and More Set for Cleveland Orchestra's 2012 Holiday Festival, 11/29-12/23

The Cleveland Orchestra announces its 2012 Holiday Festival, scheduled for November 29-December 23. This season's expanded Festival begins with five performances of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker in a collaboration with The Joffrey Ballet at the State Theatre in PlayhouseSquare in downtown Cleveland. Conceived and originally directed in 1987 by Robert Joffrey, with contribution from Gerald Arpino, this production of The Nutcracker includes more than 40 company dancers, 200 brilliant costumes, and larger-than-life scenery. The performances mark the Orchestra's return to performing in downtown Cleveland during the winter season and the first time the Orchestra has ever performed in a full production of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker.

The Cleveland Orchestra and Choruses join forces for nine concerts of traditional Christmas favorites at Severance Hall between December 14 and 23. These seasonal programs will include "The Twelve Days of Christmas," the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah, music from the movie The Polar Express, and "Sleigh Ride," among other favorites, plus sing-alongs and a very special guest.

In addition to the Nutcracker performances and the traditional series of Christmas Concerts by the Orchestra and Choruses, the Holiday Festival will include performances by the Orchestra and the group Pink Martini on December 18 and 19. True to its fashion, the band has created a globally-inclusive holiday concert for the 21st century showcasing a mix of cabaret, samba, and jazz. Their multi-cultural program features popular favorites along with holiday classics including "White Christmas", "Santa Baby," "Little Drummer Boy," "We Three Kings," and more.

Three PNC Holiday Musical Rainbow programs are offered for families with children ages three and up – "Music of Chanukah," "A Celebration of Kwanzaa," and "Christmas Brass Quintet," featuring Members of The Orchestra and guests. The "Music of Chanukah" program will be presented at The Temple-Tifereth Israel on December 7 and 9. Donna Willingham will be the guest storyteller for the "Celebration of Kwanzaa" program, performed at Karamu House on December 13. The "Christmas Brass Quintet" will feature musicians of The Cleveland Orchestra and guests in two performances at Severance Hall, December 14 and 15. For details, see the calendar that follows this release.

Families can arrive early for the 3 p.m. Christmas Concerts on December 15, 16, 22, and 23 to have Lunch with Santa in Severance Restaurant from 12 noon until 3 p.m. Call 216-231-7373 or visit clevelandorchestra.com for reservations.

Severance Restaurant is open for each of the Holiday Festival concerts in Severance Hall, as listed in the calendar that follows this release. Reservations can be made at clevelandorchestra.com or OpenTable.com.

An updated calendar for all holiday concerts at Severance Hall follows. Individual tickets for all holiday events are now on sale. Information on purchasing tickets is provided below.

Over 45 years ago Arnold and Barbara Schreibman of Schreibman Jewelers began selling beautifully engraved Silver Bells to benefit The Cleveland Orchestra's Education and Community programs. When Schreibman Jewelers East closed in 2003, Barbara Schreibman and her daughter Beth Schreibman Gehring brought this holiday tradition to the Women's Committee of The Cleveland Orchestra where it continues successfully to this day, every year raising funds to benefit The Cleveland Orchestra's outreach programs. The silver bells are made in America by the esteemed Reed and Barton Silver Company of Taunton, Massachusetts, engraved with "Christmas 2012," and priced at $20 each. They continue to be a favorite holiday tradition and will be available for purchase at the Cleveland Orchestra Store and several gift shops in the greater Cleveland area. Members of The Women's Committee will also be selling the bells in Severance Hall's Smith Lobby prior to many of the Orchestra's November and December concerts. Contact the Store at 216-231-7478 for details or shop online at clevelandorchestra.com.

Severance Hall, which opened in 1931 as the home of The Cleveland Orchestra, is located at 11001 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio. Call 216-231-1111 or 800-686-1141 or visit online at clevelandorchestra.com. Subscription Office Hours: 9-5 Monday-Friday. Ticket Office Hours: 9-6 Monday-Friday, 10-6 Saturday. The Severance Hall Ticket Office is located in the Smith Lobby. The entrance and 15-minute Ticket Service parking are along East Boulevard. Group Sales (groups of 10 or more): Call 216-231-7493 or email groupsales@clevelandorchestra.com.

State Theatre at PlayhouseSquare is located at 1501 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio. Call 216-241-6000, log on to PlayhouseSquare.org, or visit The PlayhouseSquare Ticket Office. Group Sales (groups of 10 or more): Call 216-664-6050 x1 for more information.

PlayhouseSquare encourages all guests to "Plan Your Visit" ahead of time by visiting playhousesquare.org and clicking the "Plan Your Visit" tab where directions, parking information, dining options, lodging, ticketing policies and other useful information designed to enhance guest experiences at PlayhouseSquare exist. Whether their visit is the first or one hundred and first, PlayhouseSquare is committed to making guest experiences both as memorable and hassle free as possible.