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‘The Nutcracker’ a holiday favorite

November 19, 2010
from staff reports

PITTSBURGH - The Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre will present its annual holiday performances of "The Nutcracker" Dec. 10-26 at the Benedum Center.

Pittsburgh Ballet has performed "The Nutcracker" each year since 1969, and, beginning in 2002, Artistic Director Terrence S. Orr re-imagined the ballet as a turn-of-the-century Pittsburgh experience.

With the assistance of theatrical designer Zach Brown, the Pittsburgh connection is brought to life with the first act set at the Stahlbaum house in Shadyside, modeled after F.W. McKee's Fifth Avenue mansion. The act also features a Heinz delivery truck, a proscenium clock inspired by the Kaufmann's Department Store clock; and the "Kaufmann's Christmas Stories for Boys and Girls." At the end of the act, the "Waltz of the Snowflakes" is set on Mount Washington.

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Orr added a variety of characters to the second act to make the Land of Enchantment a more child-friendly atmosphere. The Land of Enchantment Carousel is inspired by various carousels at several Pittsburgh-area amusement parks.

The act also includes a Russian trepak, an Arabian dance and the Grand Pas de Deux performed by the Sugarplum Fairy and her Cavalier.

"The Nutcracker," set to the Tchaikovsky score, is based on the German tale written by E.T.A. Hoffman.

The Pittsburgh Ballet also will offer "Talks with Terry," a pre-performance arts education program to help audiences develop a greater appreciation of ballet. The program is free with the purchase of a ticket and takes place before the noon Dec. 12 performance at the Benedum Center. The program will begin at 11 a.m., and reservations are not required.

Performances will be given at 7 p.m. Dec. 10; 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 11; noon and 4:30 p.m. Dec. 12; 7 p.m. Dec. 17; 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 18; noon and 4:30 p.m. Dec. 19; 7 p.m. Dec. 21; 7 p.m. Dec. 22; 2 p.m and 7 p.m. Dec. 23; and noon and 4:30 p.m. Dec. 26.

Tickets are available for $20.75 to $90.75 by calling (412) 456-6666 or visiting

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre also will take part in Pittsburgh's Light Up Night Friday with performances at 5:45 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. at the downtown Macy's, where Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School Students will perform excerpts from "The Nutcracker" on the fourth floor, while "Nutcracker" characters pose for photos.

From 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, "Nutcracker" characters will take the stage at the Santa Spectacular at Point State Park. Following a performance, the characters will lead the procession to the Point for a holiday fireworks display.

The Light Up Night festivities Friday and Saturday will include the Duquesne Light Horse-drawn Candlelight Carriage Parade, a Bridge Party on the Roberto Clemente Bridge and the Highmark March through downtown.

For information on Light Up Night and a full schedule of events, visit

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