There's no lack of productions of The Nutcracker during the holiday season, and Brooklynites can rejoice in knowing that one of the best will be happening right on their home turf.
In addition to cutting-edge theater, dance, film, music, and other forays into high culture, the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) is presenting the American Ballet Theater's (ABT) new production of The Nutcracker, with all the stops pulled out. A live orchestra performs Tchaikovsky's rousing score, original choreography comes courtesy of ABT's artist-in-residence, Alexei Ratmansky, and the larger-than-life scenery and costumes are by Richard Hudson, whose credits include The Lion King on Broadway. All told, the production features a cast of nearly 100, along with sparkling snowflakes and a glittering Christmas tree.
For those unfamiliar with this seasonal hallmark, The Nutcracker is based on the story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, written by E.T.A. Hoffman in 1816. It harks back to a time when children were delighted, not by the latest video game, but by soldier dolls that did double duty as nutcrackers. In the narrative, a young girl, Clara, has a Christmas Eve dream in which bad mice - including the seven-headed Mouse King - do battle with good toy soldiers in what turns into an ethereal nighttime journey.
Hoffman's story was rewritten and simplified by Alexandre Dumas in 1844 and later, around 1890, adapted for a ballet choreographed by Marius Petipa and scored by Tchaikovsky. From this partnership emerged the ballet we know as The Nutcracker.
In the array of Nutcracker performances in and around NYC over the years, many have stood out; held aloft among those is George Balanchine's production with the New York City Ballet. This year, American Ballet Theater's production at BAM joins them, certain to become another holiday tradition.
Where: Brooklyn Academy of Music, 30 Lafayette Avenue
When: December 22-31, 2pm and 7pm
How much: $20-$135
For more information: www.bam.org
Also see: Brooklyn Calendar Highlights - December 2010
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