Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Nutcracker, More than Just a Ballet, a Pittsburgh Tradition

A Fashion Show for Little Girls and Night Out for the Family

Review of The Nutcracker Ballet

by Good News Reporter, Joanne Quinn-Smith

Sugar plum fairies, toys coming to life, magicians, a man walking on stilts, oh my!  What a fantasy performance is The Nutcracker for both children and adults.  This was my four year old granddaughter’s second year to see it but it was the sixty something previous date who suggested we should go ahead.  If the truth were to be known he knows all the songs and starts to hum them as soon as they begin.  What a family tradition if you haven’t started it, START NOW.

There is pageantry not just in the many bedazzled and colorful costumes and performances on stage but it is a veritable fashion show of little girls dressed up in their sequined, satin and studded Christmas dresses with bows and patent leather shoes and delightful jewelry and a small tiara here and there.
The Nutcracker performed by the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre never ceases to amaze me at its ability to capture and keep the attention for the duration of toddlers, middle schoolers, teens, young adults, couples and yes, Senior citizens.  But if you think it’s just for children, think again.  The Nutcracker Ballet is one of the most romantic Christmas traditions right up there with the movie, “It’s a Wonderful World.”  

A timeless classic with toys coming to life and multiple ethnic dances and superlative scenery and costuming, it is a buffet of interesting sights and sounds and yes smells too.  It’s a nice touch to walk into the theatre to the aroma of roasted almonds, pecans and cashews.
And the opulent setting of the Benedum, well it’s both child and adult and senior princesses’ idea of romance, glamour and the elegance of days gone by.   Great family night, great date night!  Dad’s you will be a hero for buying the tickets and escorting all of your princesses.  Mom’s you will be the Queen for suggesting it.

My favorite scenes are the ethnic dances, Pas de Caractère (A dance that is nonclassical, a character dance, national or folk dance.)   The Arabic and the Chines fire dragon and Cossacks are my absolute favorites.  And the score, well it gives Tchaikovsky a chance to continue just a bit of his robust war sounds in the battle with the Mouse King while tripping through also winter wonderland scenes and fairies dancing and romantic interlude.   Also Zack Brown has outdone himself with Costumes and Scenery. 

Did you know about the Pittsburgh Connection?

It is Christmas Eve in the early years of the 20th century at the Stahlbaum home in Shadyside.  On the Street outside, Godfather Drosselmeyer and his Nephew unload mysterious packages from their carriage.  This is a house that actually existed in Shadyside at the turn of the twentieth Century. 
Also the Pittsburgh Ballet is to be commended for its use of younger local talent to fill the many small roles in the Nutcracker.  I especially liked and so did my granddaughter, the tiny bumble bees that shook their tales in the finale. 
As the last scene ended my 4 year old granddaughter put two thumbs up and said, “A big thumbs up for The Nutcracker.”

Always worth far more than the price of admission:
Performances still available:

*Friday, December 14, at 7 PM
Saturday, December 15, at 2 PM
Saturday, December 15, at 7 PM
Sunday, December 16, at 12 PM
Sunday, December 16, at 4:30 PM
Thursday, December 20, at 7 PM
Friday, December 21, at 7 PM
Saturday, December 22, at 2 PM
Saturday, December 22, at 7 PM
Sunday, December 23, at 12 PM
Sunday, December 23, at 4:30 PM
Friday, December 28, at 7 PM - Best Availability
Saturday, December 29, at 2 PM - Best Availability
Saturday, December 29, at 7 PM - Best Availability
Sunday, December 30, at 12 PM - Best Availability
Purchase tickets:

Radio Host and Serial Blogger, Joanne Quinn-Smith is the host of PositivelyPittsburghLive™ Internet Talkcast and TechnoGrannyShow™  On her shows, Joanne has interviewed over 1800 guests.  As an advocate for small Business, she was awarded the National Small Business Administration Journalist of the Year Award.  She is also the publisher of which is a 2010 National Stevie Award finalist for best Media Website or Blog. PPL Mag features the GOOD NEWS, about Pittsburgh  and is  Pittsburgh’s First internet radio and TV network. PPL Mag attracted 2.25 million visitors last year.  Her radio network has accumulated over one million listeners. The Creative Energy Officer of Dreamweaver Marketing Associates, Joanne also teaches her online media platform building to small businesses in a client personalized, “Web2.0 Gorilla Branding Training™”.  Connect with Joanne at:

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