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 Post subject: Re: Pacific Northwest Ballet: Nutcracker
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 10:04 pm 
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In the Seattle Times, Moira Macdonald previews the December 7-29, 2012 "Nutcracker" performances by talking to Dance Chance students who are performing this year.

Seattle Times


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 Post subject: Re: Pacific Northwest Ballet: Nutcracker
PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 1:06 pm 
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Here is a link to the main "Nutcracker" page on the PNB website:

Nutcracker

Here is a link to the casting page:

Casting


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 Post subject: Re: Pacific Northwest Ballet: Nutcracker
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 9:59 pm 
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Moira Macdonald reviews the Friday, December 7, 2012 performance of "The Nutcracker" for the Seattle Times.

Seattle Times


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 Post subject: Re: Pacific Northwest Ballet: Nutcracker
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 2:51 pm 
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Philippa Kiraly reviews the Sunday, December 9, 2012 performance for the Sun Break.

Sun Break


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 Post subject: Re: Pacific Northwest Ballet: Nutcracker
PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 10:30 am 
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Location: Seattle, WA. USA
Twenty Nine Times...and Counting
Pacific Northwest Ballet’s “Nutcracker”
Opening Night, 7 December 2012

by Dean Speer

No matter how many times I see a “Nutcracker” production, I still find myself getting as excited with anticipation as I did with my first. Pacific Northwest Ballet is inching toward the 30th anniversary year of its unique Stowell/Sendak creation and I cannot believe my viewing has included not only its first year but also a few of the preceding years, when they did the Lew Christensen version during their fledgling years.

Little has changed during these ensuing years – the addition of a brigade of soldiers on horseback a notable one – and the quality and level of dancing has remained consistently high. The production values are themselves extraordinary and the costume shop likes to tell us that very few of the original costumes themselves remain, many having been replaced or refurbished.

Nevertheless, it’s a fresh invention and one that is thrilling on many levels – the Snow Scene and Act II’s Waltz of the Flowers are choreographic genius and most fun.

This year’s Opening Night brought out PNB’s A-cast – Kaori Nakamura and Jonathan Porretta as the Adult Clara and her Nutcracker Prince, who were, without a doubt, totally fabulous. I enjoy how these superb technicians not only completely trust each other but also egg each other on, pushing each other's boundaries and meshing as a team.

Yet the evening belonged to Carrie Imler whose Flora in Waltz of the Flowers illustrated everything it should and needed to be – light, with phrases that built, and balances, jumps, and turns galore. In the short fouetté section, she did consistent rapid doubles concluding with a triple that stuck its landing. Great. Thrilling. Imler is one of those dancers who anticipates and the result pays off big.

Of course the platoons of well-trained and meticulously rehearsed and adorable youngsters are part of the reason many go– to admire and sigh over their skills and abilities.

Notable too were Kiyon Gaines as the Sword Dancer and Kylee Kitchens as the Ballerina Doll in Act I’s Party Scene, Act II’s Whirling Dervishes of Benjamin Griffiths, Ezra Thomson and Price Suddarth, and Leah O'Connor as the colorful Peacock. [Have you ever noticed that this male bird is ironically danced by females? One of the marvelous “suspensions of disbelief” of the theatre.]

The truly mighty PNB Orchestra under the baton of Emil de Cou is a treasure – we are one of the few ballet companies to have its own orchestra, and it happens to be one of the best. My only fuss is that de Cou could have relaxed the pace a bit for the coda of the Grand Pas de deux. It was a bit speedy and it seemed to me that Nakamura and Porretta were on edge of the tempo cliff. They kept up but it would have been nice to have had a bit more room for them to have been able to enjoy the tempo at that juncture, rather than having to be concerned about missing the speeding train.

A destination ballet, PNB’s iconic “Nutcracker” continues to thrill, bedazzle, and transport. A little bit of ballet heaven right in our own backyard.

_________________
Dean Speer
ballet@u.washington.edu


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 Post subject: Re: Pacific Northwest Ballet: Nutcracker
PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2012 6:32 pm 
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Sandra Kurtz reviews a December 2012 performance for the Seattle Weekly.

Seattle Weekly


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 Post subject: Re: Pacific Northwest Ballet: Nutcracker
PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 12:13 pm 
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA
2013 is the thirtieth anniversary of "The Nutcracker" with choreography by Kent Stowell and sets and costumes by Maurice Sendak. Performances will run from November 30 through December 29, 2013 at McCaw Hall in Seattle. Broadway World provides details.

Broadway World


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 Post subject: Re: Pacific Northwest Ballet: Nutcracker
PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 12:44 pm 
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Hanna Brooks Olsen previews the 30th anniversary of the Stowell/Sendak "Nutcracker" for KOMO News.

KOMO News

Performances run from November 30 through September 29, 2013 at McCaw Hall in Seattle. Here is a link to the Nutcracker home page on the PNB website.

Nutcracker home

Here is a link to casting.

Casting


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 Post subject: Re: Pacific Northwest Ballet: Nutcracker
PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 8:49 pm 
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Moira Macdonald reviews the Saturday evening, November 30, 2013 performance for the Seattle Times.

Seattle Times


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 Post subject: Re: Pacific Northwest Ballet: Nutcracker
PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2013 11:52 am 
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Location: Seattle, WA. USA
Seeing Sendak: Pacific Northwest Ballet’s “Nutcracker”
Saturday Evening, 30 November 2013

by Dean Speer

How to theme and begin writing a review piece about a show seen well over 30 times since its1983 inception proves to be a daunting but delightful task. I easily recall how excited fans were, wondering what this new production might look like. It just blew us away – most of the time when we say “new production,” the expectation is usually within the confines of reasonable norms – new costumes and refurbished sets but what we got with Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Stowell/Sendak "Nutcracker" was an entirely new concept and setting. It just blew everything else out of the water. There is no other production on the planet that’s even similar. Many are quite good and lovely but most stay within what seems to be a “traditional” outline of story and place. Those who have enjoyed it have come to think of it as familiar and the norm for us, yet it’s hard now perhaps to experience and realize just how different and “wow” this production was at the time. I recall Deborah Hadley, for whom the role of the adult Clara was largely created, being interviewed on television and expressing delight about “no more vacuous Sugar Plum Fairies!”

A very physical production, they hire about 20 extra crew just to run (literally) the quick and truly amazing scenic changes. I remember thinking, “Wow, I could just enjoy watching the sets, never mind the dancing!” One of the biggest changes is that the story centers around both a young and adult Clara (read what would have been the Sugar Plum role) and setting Act II in an exotic middle-Eastern unnamed land. The other is its darker Sendak tone – Drosselmeyer is a curmudgeon; not at all the grateful and gracious guest during Act I and in Act II when it’s revealed that he’s actually the Pasha, he laughs heartily but not necessarily merrily at Clara’s distress and apparent abandonment by the Prince. [Never to fear – young Clara’s nightmare is just that and as she wakes up with a start and goes back peacefully to sleep and the Nutcracker’s giant mouth and teeth come together as the last musical strains sound, bringing the ballet to a dramatic and visually-stunning conclusion.]

It’s a bit unfair reviewing the official Opening Night cast. No matter how many times it’s been done before or by whom, it’s still a lot of pieces to put together into a cohesive whole. My overall sense is that as we move further away from its premiere, the biggest challenge is belief – believing in the ballet, in the production, and the excitement of the unknown and then continuing to instill and perpetuate this wonder. It has to be done with more than smiles and steps. It must be done from the inside, out. As performers and artists, do we feel the magic when we get into “performance mode” and step on stage? How do we bring this to each show, regardless of how many times we do it? How do we make it fresh each outing? What keeps it “alive”and exciting?

There are many ways of doing this. Perhaps sometimes just a little thing may spark and ignite or it may a combination of things. Never the less, it’s that glow and belief that reaches even the most hardened theatre-goer or the novice.

After 30 years, its “now”cast included some PNB veterans as well as many opportunities for the wee set to get their ballet slippers rosined up with experience – from the smallest parts to being part of a larger ensemble and there were many “glow” moments. Any time Kaori Nakamura is on stage it’s lit just a little better and brighter and I hope she continues to grace us for many seasons to come. As the Adult Clara, she was paired with Benjamin Griffiths, one of PNB’s top male dancers and whose dancing is always very clean, clear, and articulate and confident and whose interpretations I always eagerly await. They had a bit of partnering trouble in the Act II coda with its tricky and very fast turns, but I’m sure they’ll settle into the run. With both, they make me relax and give me complete assurance that I’ll be seeing the choreography as intended.

Margaret Mullin had the unenviable task of filling in as Flora for Rachel Foster, which she did with aplomb. I’d like to see her again as she grows into the part, bringing more to it as do some of her colleagues such as Carrie Imler and predecessor, Colleen Neary. Flora is a senior ballerina part, backed by a corps de ballet and while not as exposed as Clara/Sugar Plum, it is never-the-less filled with virtuoso demanding sequences – not a waltz through the petunias. Audiences should really pay close attention to this role as it’s often where the best dancers are to be seen and where the next generation may get a lift.

In addition to the myriad youngsters of the Party Scene of Act I and the Toy Theatre of Act II, plus those filling out the Pasha’s kingdom, notable were Brittany Reid as Frau Stahlbaum, the Drosselmeier/Pasha of Uko Gorter and the exciting Dervishes which always get a great cheer – Ryan Cardea, Price Suddarth, and Ezra Thomson. An opera singer friend of mine who’d never seen the production before exclaimed, lightly laughing that they looked like the Oompa-Loompas of Charlie and Chocolate Factory. How in keeping with the Sendak designs somehow.

We are blessed to have one of, if not the best ballet orchestras in the country and the score was richly played by the PNB Ballet Orchestra under the baton of Emil de Cou.

The sold-out house clearly collectively enjoyed Seattle’s unique “Nutcracker” and left McCaw Hall lighter on its feet and thinking of dancing snowflakes and waving blooms at the start of the national holiday craze of the Holiday Season 2013.

_________________
Dean Speer
ballet@u.washington.edu


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 Post subject: Re: Pacific Northwest Ballet: Nutcracker
PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 9:08 pm 
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Philippa Kiraly reviews the Sunday, December 1, 2013 matinee performance for the Sun Break.

Sun Break

Sandra Kurtz reviews the Saturday, November 30, 2013 evening performance for the Seattle Weekly.

Seattle Weekly


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 Post subject: Re: Pacific Northwest Ballet: Nutcracker
PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2013 8:43 pm 
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Rosemary Ponnekanti reviews the 2013 edition of the "Nutcracker" for the Tacoma News Tribune.

Tacoma News Tribune


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 Post subject: Re: Pacific Northwest Ballet: Nutcracker
PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 1:34 pm 
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA
December 2014 will be the last performances of Pacific Northwest Ballet's unique "Nutcracker," choreographed by Kent Stowell with sets and costumes by Maurice Sendak. In the Seattle Times, Moira Macdonald reports on the PNB decision to switch to the Balanchine "Nutcracker" with new sets and costumes for the 2015 holiday season.

http://seattletimes.com/html/thearts/20 ... 0.facebook


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