The Nutcracker - Pacific Northwest Ballet

Join us for PNB’s new holiday tradition, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™! Featuring glorious new designs by celebrated author/illustrator Ian Falconer (Olivia the Pig), the mighty PNB Orchestra playing Tchaikovsky’s timeless score, and PNB’s incredible Company of 48 dancers dazzling in new and familiar roles—George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ will delight the young and the young at heart, all in the magic of McCaw Hall.


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Critics Rave

“It is, like a stocking hung by the hearth, filled with treasures”
-The Seattle Times

“Something to celebrate: a bright new ornament on the tree of local holiday tradition!”

“Eye-catching and enchanting!”
-The Wall Street Journal

“Wholly enchanting…utterly gorgeous…positively refreshing!”
-Vanguard Seattle

“Sure to inspire dreams.”

(Read the Reviews Here)

The Story of Clara and the Nutcracker by Peter Boal

Act I

In a time long ago, when your grandmother’s great-grandmother was just a little girl, another little girl named Clara Stahlbaum waits anxiously for her parents to let her catch a glimpse of their magnificent Christmas tree with a golden angel placed on top. Made to sit in the foyer with her pesky little brother Fritz, Clara waits for so long, she falls asleep. It is Christmas Eve.

The Stahlbaums are hosting a celebration for family and friends in their grand New England country home. The house is beautiful, brimming with antique furniture brought to America from Germany. Elegant silhouettes adorn the walls and a grand portrait of Clara hangs over the mantle. Fritz’s collection of tiny soldiers and cannons is on proud display in the tall cabinet. The fire in the hearth is warm, the moon bright, and the snow outside as thick as a wool blanket. The towering Christmas tree is absolutely magical.

claraDr. Stahlbaum leads the Fathers’ Dance, while Mrs. Stahlbaum offers delicious Spanish chocolates and marzipan candies to the children and champagne to the grown-ups. Soon Clara’s grandparents arrive with her cousins and at the stroke of eight, her dear godfather Drosselmeier makes a dramatic entrance. With him is his handsome nephew Nathaniel, whom Clara has never met. Drosselmeier brings life-like dancing dolls, a charming hobby horse, beguiling magic tricks and, best of all, a gallant wooden Nutcracker, which Clara loves instantly. Nathaniel presents Clara with a precious toy bed for her new Nutcracker.

As night falls, Clara must bid farewell to her friends and wonders if she will ever see Nathaniel again. Unable to sleep, she returns to the parlor to collect her beloved Nutcracker. Curling up on the chaise, she finally drifts off to sleep.mice-2

Suddenly Clara sits up. She hears something. Did she see something? Is Drosselmeier still there? Is she dreaming? Just then, a chubby mouse twice Clara’s size trundles across the parlor floor and then another and another with baby mice, too. What should Clara do?
Everything in the parlor begins to grow. The clock looms, the chaise is enormous, and the window is as big as the house. The tree is so tall, Clara can no longer see the golden angel on top. Even her Nutcracker on his bed is now life-size. Soon Fritz’s legion of toy soldiers comes to life led by a sentry, a trumpeter, and a bunny with a drum.

A raging battle ensues between the mice and the soldiers until a seven-headed Mouse King takes center stage. Suddenly Clara’s Nutcracker arrives to defend her. Clara hurls her slipper at the seven-headed mouse. Breathless, she faints, collapsing on the little bed. In the end, her brave Nutcracker defeats the Mouse King, chopping off one of his seven crowns.
The triumphant Nutcracker leads Clara through a magical forest where snowflakes swirl and dance around them. An ancient spell is broken and before our eyes, the Nutcracker becomes a handsome Prince, who looks just like young Nathaniel. After he places the golden crown on Clara’s head, they follow a brilliant Christmas star to a faraway land.

Act II

Clara and the Prince sail into the Land of Sweets on a boat made from the shell of a walnut. The Sugar Plum Fairy welcomes them, surrounded by a dozen golden angels. She asks the Prince to tell the story of his heroic battle with the Mouse King. The Sugar Plum Fairy and all her court are impressed by the Prince’s bravery.

The Sugar Plum Fairy introduces Clara and the Prince to dancers from distant lands. Each represents something delicious! There are Spanish chocolates just like Clara’s mother serves, exotic coffee from Arabia, tea from China, candy canes from Russia, and German marzipan in an array of vibrant colors. Charming Mother Ginger and her eight tiny polichinelles are from France. Clara and the Prince are entertained by each treat while they sample scrumptious sweets and tasty puddings. After a brilliant Waltz of the Flowers led by a pristine Dewdrop, the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier perform a grand pas de deux.
Now the time has come for Clara to return home to her new Nutcracker. As the Sugar Plum Fairy and all her court wave goodbye, Clara and the Prince take flight in an enchanted sleigh pulled by reindeer. Clara will never forget her most magical dream.


7:30 PM
2:00 PM
7:30 PM
1:00 PM
5:30 PM
Sugar Plum Fairy L. Tisserand Biasucci Murphy Merchant* Generosa*
Cavalier Cruz Griffiths J. Tisserand Grant* Renko*
Herr Drosselmeier Orza Boal† Gorter† Boal† Thomson
Harlequin Clark Clark Casciano Clark Casciano
Columbine Biasucci* Generosa Mamon Rizzitano Samuelson*
Soldier Doll Griffiths Thomson* Suddarth* Wald* Davis*
Mouse King Pertl Grant Wald Loch Grant
Hot Chocolate Merchant* Pasch* Kitchens Adomaitis Kitchens
Basso* Grant Wald* Loch Grant
Coffee Iliesiu* Merchant* L. Tisserand* Love Suddarth* Adomaitis*
Tea Poppe Suddarth Griffiths* Suddarth Davis*
Candy Cane Griffiths Cardea Suddarth* Griffiths Moore*
Marzipan Biasucci Generosa Pantastico* Clark Biasucci
Mother Ginger Grant Cotton Pertl* Pertl Cotton
Dewdrop Pantastico* Macy* Rausch Biasucci* Murphy*
7:30 PM
2:00 PM
7:30 PM
1:00 PM
5:30 PM
Sugar Plum Fairy Murphy* Ricard Orza* Pantastico* Biasucci* L. Tisserand*
Cavalier J. Tisserand* Orza* Moore* Griffiths* Cruz*
Herr Drosselmeier Gorter*† Lin-Yee* Orza* Thomson* Loch*
Harlequin Mullin* Casciano* Clark* Casciano Mullin
Columbine Generosa* Mamon* Biasucci* Mamon Rizzitano*
Soldier Doll Davis* Loch* Griffiths* Renko* Cardea*
Mouse King Pertl* Grant* Lin-Yee* Loch* Wald*
Hot Chocolate Ricard Orza* Mullin* Kitchens* Adomaitis* Love Suddarth
Lin-Yee* Davis* Grant* Loch* Pertl*
Coffee Macy* Kitchens* Ricard Orza* Pasch Murphy*
Tea Renko* Thomson* Suddarth Poppe* Cardea*
Candy Cane Griffiths* Cardea* Renko* Thomson* Davis*
Marzipan Biasucci* Clark* Mullin* Generosa* Ricard Orza*
Mother Ginger Grant* Basso* Pertl* Wald* Cotton*
Dewdrop L. Tisserand* Rausch* Adomaitis* Mullin* Kitchens*

*First Time in Role
Guest Artist
Casting subject to change.

Artist Bios

Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, George Balanchine is regarded as the foremost contemporary ballet choreographer in the world. He came to the United States in 1933 at the invitation of American arts patron Lincoln Kirstein (1907-96). The School of American Ballet was founded in 1934, the first product of the Balanchine-Kirstein collaboration, and several ballet companies directed by the two were created and dissolved in the years that followed. On October 11, 1948, New York City Ballet was born, and Mr. Balanchine served as its ballet master and principal choreographer until his death. His more than 400 dance works include Serenade (1934), Concerto Barocco (1941), Le Palais de Cristal, later renamed Symphony in C (1947), The Nutcracker (1954), Agon (1957), Symphony in Three Movements (1972), Stravinsky Violin Concerto (1972), and Vienna Waltzes (1977). He also choreographed for films, operas, revues, and musicals. Among his best-known dances for the stage is Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, originally created for Broadway’s On Your Toes (1936).

A major artistic figure of the twentieth century, Mr. Balanchine revolutionized the look of classical ballet. He quickened, expanded, streamlined, and inverted the fundamentals of the 400-year-old language of academic dance. Although at first his style seemed particularly suited to the energy and speed of American dancers, especially those he trained, his ballets are now performed by every major classical ballet company in the world.

Ian Falconer is an American illustrator, children’s book author, and costume and set designer for the theater. Born in Ridgefield, Connecticut, Mr. Falconer graduated from The Cambridge School of Weston, and went on to study painting at the Parsons School of Design and Otis Art Institute. He has created 30 covers for The New Yorker as well as other publications, and is widely known for the iconic Olivia children’s book series, which features a young pig and her many adventures. In the world of theater design, Mr. Falconer teamed up with artist David Hockney, collaborating on the costume designs for the Los Angeles Opera production of Tristan and Isolde (1987). He served as co-designer for sets and costumes with Mr. Hockney on the Lyric Opera’s production of Turandot (1992), and designed the costumes for The Royal Opera’s production of Die Frau Ohne Schatten at Covent Garden. In 1996, Mr. Falconer designed the sets for The Atlantic Theater’s Off-Broadway production of The Santaland Diaries, written by David Sedaris. In 1999, he designed scenery and costumes for the Boston Ballet’s production of Firebird, choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon. For the New York City Ballet, Mr. Falconer designed scenery and costumes for Scènes de Ballet (1999), and Variations Sérieuses (2001), which were both also choreographed by Mr. Wheeldon. In 2003, he designed sets and costumes for Stravinsky’s Jeu de Cartes, choreographed by Peter Martins. In 2008, Mr. Falconer completed the set design and oversaw the installation for the operetta Veronique at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris. The sets were widely hailed for their use of classic stage sets married with complex moving film images, impressing audiences with innovative theatrical optical illusions.
Judith Fugate is a former principal ballerina with New York City Ballet. She danced roles in virtually every ballet in the New York City Ballet repertory, counting among her partners Peter Martins, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Helgi Tomasson. During her career she toured extensively with groups led by renowned artists such as Mr. Baryshnikov, Cynthia Gregory, and Mr. Martins. Ms. Fugate appeared on “Live from Lincoln Center” with Ray Charles in Peter Martins’ A Fool for You, and in the Metropolitan Opera’s production of La Traviata, conducted by Placido Domingo, she was partnered by Fernando Bujones and Peter Boal. She left NYCB in 1997 and currently works as repetiteur for the George Balanchine Trust and the Jerome Robbins Rights Trust, staging these renowned choreographers’ works worldwide.

Peter Boal was raised in Bedford, New York. At the age of nine, he began studying ballet at the School of American Ballet, the official school of New York City Ballet. Mr. Boal became a member of New York City Ballet’s corps de ballet in 1983 and became a principal dancer in 1989. In 2005, he retired from New York City Ballet after a 22-year career with the company. Mr. Boal was also a full-time faculty member at the School of American Ballet from 1997 to 2005. In 2003, he founded Peter Boal and Company, a critically acclaimed chamber ensemble.

Among the many ballets in which Mr. Boal was featured at New York City Ballet are George Balanchine’s Agon, Apollo, A Midsummer Night’s Dream(Oberon), and Prodigal Son; Jerome Robbins’ Dances at a Gathering and Opus 19/The Dreamer; Ulysses Dove’s Red Angels; and works by William Forsythe, Peter Martins, Twyla Tharp, and Christopher Wheeldon.

In addition to touring with New York City Ballet, Mr. Boal performed as a principal dancer with Ballet Arizona, Ballet du Nord, the Maryinsky Ballet, Norwegian National Ballet, the Royal Birmingham Ballet, and Suzanne Farrell Ballet. In 1996, Mr. Boal received the Dance Magazine Award, and in 2000, he received a New York Dance and Performance Award (Bessie) for his performance in Molissa Fenley’s State of Darkness.

In 2005, upon his retirement from New York City Ballet, Mr. Boal became Artistic Director of Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB) and Director of Pacific Northwest Ballet School. Founded in 1972, PNB presents more than 100 performances annually of full-length and mixed repertory ballets at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall and on tour. The Company has toured to Europe, Australia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Canada, and throughout the United States. Under the direction of Mr. Boal, PNB has diversified its repertory to include new works by Trisha Brown, Ulysses Dove, Marco Goecke, Jiri Kylian, Jessica Lang, Jean-Christophe Maillot, Susan Marshall, Mark Morris, Victor Quijada, Alexei Ratmansky, Twyla Tharp, and Christopher Wheeldon, as well as additional works by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. Mr. Boal has staged the works of George Balanchine (ApolloDivertimento from “La Baiser de la Fée”, Duo Concertant, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™, Prodigal Son, Square Dance, La Sonnambula, andTchaikovsky Pas de Deux), Ulysses Dove (Red Angels), and Peter Martins (Valse Triste) for the Company and elsewhere.

Garielle Whittle danced with New York City Ballet under Balanchine’s direction for 14 years. In 1983, she retired from dancing and joined the faculty of the School of American Ballet (SAB), where she taught nine levels of students for 30 years. In 1997, she was awarded the Mae L. Wien Faculty Award for Distinguished Service. From 1983 to 2012, Ms. Whittle also was Children’s Ballet Mistress for New York City Ballet, staging and rehearsing SAB students in roles from Balanchine, Robbins, Wheeldon, and Martins ballets. She also staged children’s roles from the Balanchine and Robbins repertory for San Francisco Ballet, Boston Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, and Dresden Semperoper Ballet, among others. Ms. Whittle currently is on the faculty of Manhattan Youth Ballet and teaches private and master classes. She also coaches professionals and advanced students in and around New York City.
James F. Ingalls has designed lighting for opera, theater, and dance. His work for ballet companies includes The Nutcracker, Sylvia, and the New Works Festival for San Francisco Ballet; Onegin for National Ballet of Canada; Don Quixote, Giselle, and Coppélia for Dutch National Ballet; and Waiting at the Station for Pacific Northwest Ballet. He has designed many works for Mark Morris Dance Company, including L’Allegro il Penseroso ed il Moderato; The Hard Nut; Pacific; Romeo and Juliet, On Motifs of Shakespeare; and Mozart Dances. Mr. Ingalls’ other designs for dance include Brief Encounters for Paul Taylor Dance Company, Split Sides and Fluid Canvas for Merce Cunningham Dance Company, and Bitter Suite by Jorma Elo for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. Recent projects include Iolanta/Persephone, directed by Peter Sellars for the Teatro Real, Madrid; Penelope at Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago; and The Cherry Orchard at Classic Stage Company, New York. He collaborates frequently with the Wooden Floor Dancers in Santa Ana, California. Mr. Ingalls is the recipient of several Drama-Logue Awards, the Obie for sustained excellence in lighting design, and a National Theater Artist Residency Grant.

A Nutcracker Timeline

A 200-year timeline of one of the world’s most beloved ballets and a Northwest holiday tradition.


E.T.A. Hoffman’s The Nutcracker and the Mouse King is published in Germany.

Alexandre Dumas publishes his adaptation of Hoffman’s story, Histoire d’un casse-noisette, in France. This revision would serve as the basis for the ballet in 1892.


The Nutcracker premieres on December 6 at the Maryinsky Theater, St. Petersburg, performed by the Imperial Ballet, with music by Peter Tchaikovsky and choreography by Lev Ivanov, deputizing for the indisposed Marius Petipa.


Fifteen-year-old George Balanchine dances the role of the Nutcracker in the Maryinsky Theater production while a student at the Russian State Ballet School, Petrograd (formerly Imperial Ballet, St. Petersburg).


First full-length production of The Nutcracker in the West, performed in London by the Vic-Wells Ballet (later the Royal Ballet) on January 30 in a staging by Nikolai Sergeyev, using Stepanov dance notation from St. Petersburg.


Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo performs Alexandra Fedorova’s staging of a one-act Nutcracker in New York City on October 17 and subsequently tours the United States with the production throughout the ‘40s and ‘50s, giving many Americans their first experience of The Nutcracker.


Willam Christensen choreographs first full-length Nutcracker in the United States, premiering on December 24 at San Francisco Ballet.

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker premieres on February 2 at the New York City Center of Music and Drama, performed by New York City Ballet, with choreography by Balanchine, who drew in part on his childhood memories of dancing The Nutcracker in Russia. An instant popular success, Balanchine’s Nutcracker establishes the ballet as a perennial holiday tradition in the United States.


Pacific Northwest Ballet (then, Pacific Northwest Dance) performs the company premiere of Lew Christensen’s Nutcracker (first performed by San Francisco Ballet in 1954, the same year as Balanchine’s Nutcracker). The Christensen Nutcracker runs for eight seasons.


Pacific Northwest Ballet performs the world premiere of Nutcracker, with choreography by PNB Founding Artistic Director Kent Stowell and scenic and costume design by children’s author and illustrator Maurice Sendak. The Stowell-Sendak Nutcracker runs for 32 seasons.


Pacific Northwest Ballet performs the PNB premiere of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ on November 27, staged in part by PNB Artistic Director Peter Boal and with new scenery and costumes designed by children’s book author and illustrator Ian Falconer.

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The works of George Balanchine performed by Pacific Northwest Ballet are made possible in part by The Louise Nadeau Fund.