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NEW ORLEANS, LA -- This December 16th, 17th, and 22nd New Orleans Ballet Theatre (NOBT) will present five performances of the classic Christmas tale, The Nutcracker. This year will mark the third year the company will collaborate with both the historic Orpheum Theater downtown and a local artist for the poster artwork. This year’s original artwork is commissioned from Michael Pajón, represented by Jonathon Ferrara Gallery.
With its biggest cast to date, over 150 local children and professional dancers will be sharing the stage this December. Returning NOBT dancers and former principals with Atlanta Ballet, Rachel Van Buskirk and Christian Clark will be playing the roles of the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier. Both dancers are also founding members of Terminus Ballet Theatre in Atlanta, and Rachel Van Buskirk has been featured on the cover of Dance Magazine as a top “25 to Watch” dancer. One of NOBT’s newest dancers, Felicia McPhee, formerly with and Dallas Neo-Classical Ballet, will premiere as the Dew Drop Fairy.
“Now in our third year at the historic Orpheum Theatre, our production has continued to grow and expand into the ‘must-see’ event of the season. NOBT’s Nutcracker at the Orpheum, with the neighboring Roosevelt Hotel, is really the center of Christmas in New Orleans and is the perfect way to get into the spirit of the season.” - Greg Schramel, Artistic Director of New Orleans Ballet Theatre.
For fourteen years, New Orleans Ballet Theatre has set the standard of excellence in dance in New Orleans through its annual Summer Solstice and Nutcracker performances and its prestigious Summer Intensive program for pre-professional students. Many of these aspiring pre-professional students will be gracing the stage with the professional dancers in this year’s Nutcracker performances.
Consistent with NOBT’s belief that quality ballet should be accessible to all regardless of background, New Orleans Ballet Theatre is also expending it’s outreach program in donating over 500 tickets to local New Orleans schools and organizations where at least 75% of students are eligible for free or reduced lunch.
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Rehearsal schedules will be emailed and posted at the studio. After auditions, a mandatory parent meeting will be held on Saturday, September 23rd to go over details about the performance and dancer participation and expectations.
In general, Act 1 dancers rehearse Friday evenings, and Act II dancers rehearse Saturday afternoons. Advanced dancers in Snow and Waltz Corps will rehearse Wednesday evenings, in addition to some Friday and Saturdays. Rehearsals are always subject to change and additional rehearsals will be scheduled if needed.
Nutcracker Merchandise Order Forms for Cast Members
To see a breakdown of which roles are in which Act, check out: Who's in What Scene
New Orleans Ballet Theatre presents its annual performances of The Nutcracker, a two-act ballet, originally choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov with a score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
The Stahlbaum Home
It’s Christmas Eve and Family and friends have gathered to decorate the Christmas tree. Children stand in awe of the tree and the party begins with them receiving presents. The clock strikes eight, and Drosselmeyer enters the room. A talented toymaker, he brings gifts for the children, including four lifelike dolls who delight everyone with their dancing before he puts them away.
Clara and Fritz are sad to see the dolls go, but Drosselmeyer has another toy for them: a wooden nutcracker. Clara takes a liking to the nutcracker, but Fritz purposely breaks it and Clara is heartbroken.
During the night, Clara returns to check on her broken nutcracker. The clock strikes midnight and she sees Drosselmeyer perched atop it. Mice fill the room and the Christmas tree grows tall. The nutcracker becomes life size as an army of gingerbread soldiers battle against and the mice, led by their king who begin to eat the soldiers.
The nutcracker leads the soldiers and dolls who carry off the wounded. The mouse king advances on the damaged nutcracker, but Clara distracts him, allowing the nutcracker to stab him.
The mice retreat. The nutcracker transforms into a prince and leads Clara through a snow-covered pine forest and on to his kingdom.
The Land of Sweets
Clara and the prince arrive in the Land of Sweets, ruled by the Sugar Plum Fairy until the prince’s return. He tells her how Clara saved him from the mouse king and how he was transformed into his old self. A celebration of sweets is produced in Clara’s honor and they all dance, accompanied by shepherdesses and Mother Ginger with her children, the Polichinelles. Flowers waltz and the Sugar Plum Fairy and her cavalier dance.
After a final waltz, the Sugar Plum Fairy ushers Clara and the Prince from their throne. The prince bows and she kisses Clara goodbye. She leads them to a reindeer sleigh which takes off as they wave goodbye.
The Historic Orpheum Theater
The Orpheum Theatre’s spacious orchestra, loges, balcony, and gallery offer newly-installed upholstered seats and comfortable accommodation for 1460 guests. The Orpheum was designed by G. Albert Lansburgh, built in 1918, and opened in 1921. Soon after, it became a movie house.
In 1983, the Orpheum was scheduled for demolition but was acquired by the New Orleans Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, and underwent a $3 million renovation. It served as the orchestra's home theater until the orchestra's financial demise in 1991. Under new ownership, the Orpheum became the home of the newly formed Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO), whose musicians prized the auditorium for its acoustical purity.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Orpheum Theater was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina, but reopened in August 2015 with a performance by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra.