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Oakland Ballet Presents Graham Lustig's THE NUTCRACKER At The Paramount Theatre

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Set in Vienna in the posh Edwardian era, Lustig's version of The Nutcracker is based on the original story by E.T.A. Hoffmann.

Oakland Ballet Presents Graham Lustig's THE NUTCRACKER At The Paramount Theatre

Returning to Oakland's historic Paramount Theatre December 18 - 19, Oakland Ballet Company will present its annual production of Graham Lustig's The Nutcracker, Saturday at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m, and Sunday at 1 p.m.

With musical accompaniment by the Oakland Symphony alongside the Piedmont East Bay Children's Choir, Graham Lustig's The Nutcracker brings the spirit of the holidays to life. Tickets, starting at $24, are now on sale at Ticketmaster and in person at the Paramount Theatre box office.

Set in Vienna in the posh Edwardian era, Lustig's version of The Nutcracker is based on the original story by E.T.A. Hoffmann, in which a young girl named Marie receives a nutcracker doll from her uncle. Overnight, the doll grows in size, coming to life as the Nutcracker Prince and battling larger-than-life mice and a Rat King. In the second act, Marie and the Nutcracker Prince meet the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier in a magical land of sweets.

The elegant production features art nouveau set design and costumes, and a cast of two dozen professional dancers as well as over 40 youth dancers, ages 7 to 17, in the roles of snowballs, mice, soldiers and candies. This year, Lawrence Chen makes his debut in the role of the Nutcracker Prince, while Paunika Jones, a former principal ballerina with Dance Theater of Harlem, will reprise the role of Marie. The other soloists include Jazmine Quezada as the Sugarplum Fairy, Evan Ambrose as the Cavalier and Phillip Chan as Uncle Drosselmeyer.
Serving as guest conductor of the Oakland Symphony is Julius P. Williams, currently artistic director and conductor of the Berklee Contemporary Symphony Orchestra in Boston. Among his other roles, Williams serves as music director and conductor of Trilogy: An Opera Company in New Jersey, and as president of the International Conductors Guild.

As in past years, the Oakland Ballet will open up its dress rehearsal on Friday, December 17 to school-age children in the East Bay. The company will also continue its on-site education program at elementary schools in the Oakland Unified School District and throughout the East Bay.

Since he joined as Artistic Director in 2010, a position which became full-time in the 2016-17 season, Graham Lustig has revitalized Oakland Ballet Company, helping the organization to reclaim its position as a leading San Francisco Bay Area arts institution and first-rate dance company. Lustig's stewardship has brought the company long-term vision and a reputation for nurturing community-based programming, deep audience engagement and organizational stability.

Trained at the Royal Ballet School in London, Lustig danced with the Dutch National Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet before embarking on a freelance choreographic career that has included operas, ballets and musicals. He serves as a founding member of the Artists Committee of Americans for the Arts, and has served numerous times on the Dance and Policy Panel of the National Endowment for the Arts.


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