Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's THE NUTCRACKER Takes The Stage Through December

Complete with growing Christmas tree, falling snow and mesmerizing magic tricks, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's "The Nutcracker" returns to the Benedum Center for a 26-performance run Nov. 30 - Dec. 27. Tickets start at $28 and are available at www.pbt.org, 412-456-6666 or at the Box Office at Theater Square.

The annual production features P.I. Tchaikovsky's iconic score, choreography and concept by PBT Artistic Director Terrence S. Orr, and costume and scenic designs by Emmy-winning designer Zack Brown. Each performance features five scene changes and 170 roles for both professional company members and student dancers from PBT School.

"'The Nutcracker' is pure Pittsburgh tradition. But with new surprises and choreographic tweaks, it's also ever-changing," said PBT Artistic Director Terrence S. Orr. "For me, it's important to create unique casting combinations for all 26 performances to keep the excitement alive and ensure that no two performances are exactly alike."

The festivities start as soon as audience members walk through the Benedum Center doors with opportunities to take a souvenir photo with the Sugar Plum Fairy ($10/photo benefitting PBT School), shop for holiday gifts at the PBT boutique, and listen to lobby entertainment by local musical ensembles before select performances.

"The Nutcracker" is one of the best-known ballets of all time, based on German author E.T.A. Hoffman's classic 1816 tale "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King." The first ballet adaptation premiered in 1892 at the Imperial Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg. PBT has performed versions of "The Nutcracker" since the 1970s and has presented Orr's adaptation since 2002, introducing a coming-of-age story, more complex choreography and a Pittsburgh setting.

Pittsburghers can spot references to the city's own landmarks and cultural heritage, including the Snow Scene's Mount Washington view, a Kaufmann's-inspired proscenium clock and a Land of Enchantment inspired by Pittsburgh's historic amusement parks.

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's version of the classic tale opens with a Christmas Eve party in early 20th-century Shadyside, where a gift from the mysterious Drosselmeyer sparks a wondrous adventure for young Marie Stahlbaum.

The story unfolds through classical dancing, ranging from the ethereal Snow Scene to the virtuosic national dances of the Land of Enchantment. The choreography culminates with a grand pas de deux performed by the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier, before the story returns to the Stahlbaum home, leaving Marie to wonder, "Was it all a dream?"

Among the 170 costumes featured in each performance, highlights include 18 shimmering snowflakes, 16 colorful tutus resembling flower petals, a stage full of elaborate Victorian party dresses and many more hand-crafted ensembles. Among the total 215-costume inventory, 110 were built locally in the PBT costume shop under the direction of Costumier Janet Groom Campbell.

The scenery completes the picture with 3D set pieces, like the Land of Enchantment Carousel, and hand-painted drops. Special effects add to the enchantment with a growing Christmas tree, flurries of falling snow and magic tricks conceived by a professional magician.

Among the 26 performances, the company will present a Student Matinee performance, sponsored by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, at 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 7, and a sensory-friendly performance adapted for patrons with special needs at 2 p.m. Thursday, Dec 27.

Tickets start at $28, and are available at www.pbt.org, 412-456-6666 or by visiting the Box Office at Theater Square.

Theater Programs
Audience members are invited to join the artists for a series of pre- and post-show programs at the Benedum Center. Free and open to all ticket holders unless otherwise noted.

Talks with Terry | Dec. 2, at 11 a.m.
Pre-show preview, including a peek at company class and Q&A with Artistic Director Terrence S. Orr.

Audio-described performance | Dec. 2, at 12 p.m.
A live narration of the ballet for individuals with visual impairments. Headsets are available at the Guest Services Center with a valid ID.

Family Pointe | Dec. 8 and 15, at 1 p.m.
Pre-show opportunity to learn steps from the ballet and talk with ballet dancers. Reservations required at 412-454-9109 or education@pittsburghballet.org.

Ballet Adventures: The Nutcracker | Dec. 15, at 11:30 a.m.
Pre-show ballet class, including steps from "The Nutcracker." For ages 5 - 12; additional fee required. Registration required at www.pbt.org or by calling 412-454-9107.

Performance Times

  • Friday, November 30, 2018 - 7 p.m.

  • Saturday, December 1, 2018 - 2 p.m.

  • Saturday, December 1, 2018 - 7 p.m.

  • Sunday, December 2, 2018 - 12 p.m.

  • Sunday, December 2, 2018 - 4:30 p.m.

  • Friday, December 7, 2018 - 11 a.m. Student Matinee

  • Friday, December 7, 2018 - 7 p.m.

  • Saturday, December 8, 2018 - 2 p.m.

  • Saturday, December 8, 2018 - 7 p.m.

  • Sunday, December 9, 2018 - 12 p.m.

  • Sunday, December 9, 2018 - 4:30 p.m.

  • Friday, December 14, 2018 - 7 p.m.

  • Saturday, December 15, 2018 - 2 p.m.

  • Saturday, December 15, 2018 - 7 p.m.

  • Sunday, December 16, 2018 - 12 p.m.

  • Sunday, December 16, 2018 - 4:30 p.m.

  • Thursday, December 20, 2018 - 7 p.m.

  • Friday, December 21, 2018 - 7 p.m.

  • Saturday, December 22, 2018 - 2 p.m.

  • Saturday, December 22, 2018 - 7 p.m.

  • Sunday, December 23, 2018 - 12 p.m.

  • Sunday, December 23, 2018 - 4:30 p.m.

  • Wednesday, December 26, 2018 - 2 p.m.

  • Wednesday, December 26, 2018 - 7 p.m.

  • Thursday, December 27, 2018 - 2 p.m. Sensory-friendly Performance

  • Thursday, December 27, 2018 - 7 p.m.

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