Benedum Center for the Performing Arts

December 5 – 28
Various times

There is perhaps no holiday tradition quite like seeing Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre‘s The Nutcracker. Starting this week, the beloved Christmas story will again come to life for 24 magical nights on the Benedum Center’s stage, amidst the glowing lights and holiday decor of Downtown’s Cultural District.

From the moonlit Mount Washington snow scene to the Land of Enchantment’s amusement park setting, Pittsburgh provides a unique sense of place for this dazzling grand-scale production, which soars via Tchaikovsky’s  orchestral colors and sweeping melodies. Under the gifted director of Terrence S. Orr, the PBT’s highly anticipated annual production features a fresh take on the classic story and iconic score by incorporating an unexpected love story, complex and engaging choreography, a distinct Pittsburgh setting and Emmy-winning theatrical designs by Zack Brown.

Each year, the Pittsburgh-inspired production animates the traditional tale with new surprises that showcase the virtuosity of more than 170 dancers. Throughout the 24-night run, no two performances are identical, which means that audiences have the rare chance to experience emerging talents performing principal roles, such as Marie, the Sugarplum Fairy and the Snow Queen. Performing the show’s 150 roles are the company’s gifted dancers, along with 100 PBT School students, some as young as age seven, who portray toy soldiers, clowns and fairy-tale characters.

Featuring classical training and techniques, The Nutcracker’s innovative choreography also serves as a storytelling device, develops character relationships and augments the show’s themes of romance and friendship. Audiences of all ages will be transported to a magical kingdom populated by dolls during one of the world’s most popular ballets. Featuring one of Tchaikovsky’s most famous compositions, The Nutcracker is based on the 1816 story penned by E. T. A. Hoffmann, which weaves the tale of young Marie Stahlbaum and her favorite Christmas toy, the Nutcracker, which comes alive and defeats the evil Mouse King in battle. Helping recreate the timeless storybook feel of The Nutcracker are 200-plus costumes, including the classical white tutus of the Snow Scene, and the vibrant garments worn by bumblebees, flowers and clowns found in the Land of Enchantment scenes.

Explore all of the holiday magic of The Nutcracker during one of PBT’s special public educational programs, including a sensory-friendly performance, Afterthoughts discussions, Talks with Terry and participatory family events.

Purchase tickets.

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade. Musically, she is in a band called The Garment District and is a founding member of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor.