Contact: Meghan McNamara
‘Tis the Season: Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Celebrates the Holidays with “The Nutcracker”
PBT Premieres First-Ever, Autism-Friendly Performance During 2013 Nutcracker Season
PITTSBURGH, PA – Featuring more than 200 costumes, 100 colorful characters and Pittsburgh-inspired set design, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s grand-scale production of “The Nutcracker” illuminates the holiday season Dec. 6-29, at the Benedum Center.
For the first time this season, PBT will present a special, autism-friendly performance of “The Nutcracker” at 2 p.m. Friday, Dec. 27, in addition to 22 public performances. PBT will be the first professional ballet company in the country to adapt this holiday classic for patrons with sensory sensitivities and their families.
Recognized as one of the most popular ballets of all time, The Nutcracker is a holiday classic based on the German tale written by E.T.A. Hoffmann. PBT has performed The Nutcracker since the company’s founding in 1969. Beginning in 2002, PBT Artistic Director Terrence S. Orr recreated the production with an enhanced storyline, new choreography and a unique Pittsburgh theme. Set to Tchaikovsky’s iconic score, The Nutcracker stays true to many of the original elements of Hoffman’s tale while lacing the production with iconic turn-of-the-century Pittsburgh imagery. Among a multitude of Pittsburgh references in Zack Brown’s set design, the city’s stunning Mt. Washington view serves as backdrop to the Snow Scene, the Party Scene includes prominent Pittsburghers, such as the Heinz and Kaufmann families, and the Land of Enchantment’s elaborate carousel is inspired by Pittsburgh’s historic amusement parks. Mixing magic, love and adventure, Orr’s storyline offers something for audience members of all ages.
Throughout The Nutcracker’s 23-performance run, Orr keeps each performance distinct by challenging company members to dance and develop a range of character roles. Casting is unique for every performance; one dancer can perform as many as eight roles during one season of The Nutcracker. Many of the company’s emerging talents have the chance to perform principal roles, including Marie, the Sugarplum Fairy and Snow Queen. More than 150 students, ages 7 and up, also will join PBT company dancers on the Benedum Center stage performing a variety of whimsical roles ranging from bumblebees and mice to flowers and toy soldiers. The choreography spans the awe-inspiring synchronization of the Snow Scene to a variety of Act II variations, including the exuberant Russian Trepak, exotic Arabian dance, and elegant Grand Pas de Deux of the Sugarplum Fairy and her Cavalier.
The more than 200 costumes of The Nutcracker mirror the variety of the choreography from the elaborate classical tutu of the Sugarplum Fairy to the exotic dress of the Russian, Spanish and Arabian dancers. This year, PBT Costumier Janet Marie Groom celebrates her 40th season with PBT – and her 40th Season of The Nutcracker. From the time of the production’s re-creation in 2002, the majority of The Nutcracker costumes were created in the PBT Costume Shop under her direction after the designs of Zack Brown. Beginning as early as October, Campbell oversees costume fittings and final wardrobe preparations for more than 150 PBT School students in addition to PBT’s professional company dancers.
Tickets start at $25.75, and can be purchased online at www.pbt.org, by calling 412-456-6666or visiting the Box Office at Theater Square.
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre announces the 2013 premiere of its first-ever autism-friendly production of The Nutcracker, the first of its kind in the country to make the magic of the holiday classic accessible to children on the autism spectrum and their families. The autism-friendly performance will take place at 2 p.m. Friday, Dec. 27, 2013 at the Benedum Center. To be autism-friendly, the entire theater will be reserved for families with individuals on the autism spectrum or other sensory sensitivities to create a fully supportive audience environment. Accommodations will include designated quiet areas and activity stations in the lobby, adjustments to potentially startling light, sound and special effects and opportunities for families and children to familiarize themselves with the production in advance. Tickets for the autism-friendly performance are available online at www.pbt.org/autism or by calling 412-454-9107 or 412-454-9101.
PBT to Host Free Nutcracker Holiday Party
To kick off Nutcracker season, PBT invites community members to its studios in the Strip District for a free, family-friendly open house on Sunday, Nov. 24, from 12-3 p.m. at PBT Studios, 2900 Liberty Ave. Activities include:
• Nutcracker -themed dance classes & performance excerpts
• Holiday crafts with the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh & WQED
• The Nutcracker story time with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
• The Nutcracker stage makeup station
• Photo opportunities with costumed dancers
In the spirit of the holidays, PBT encourages guests to bring a food donation for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank for a chance to win a Nutcracker gift basket!