Music by Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky
Choreography by Kevin McKenzie
Libretto by Wendy Wasserstein
Scenery by Paul Kelly
Costumes by Theoni V. Aldredge
Associate to Mrs. Aldredge: Barbara Matera
Lighting by Thomas R. Skelton and Rui Rita
Act 1 - 45:00
Act 2 - 42:00
World Premiere: Performance (of current staging) December 12, 2000 Kennedy
Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D. C. Sandra Brown as Clara,
Angel Corella as the Nutcracker-Prince, Victor Barbee as Drosselmeyer,
Julie Kent as the Sugar Plum Fairy, Ethan Stiefel as Her Cavalier, Gillian
Murphy as the Snow Queen, Yan Chen as the Dew Drop.
World Premiere (1993 staging): Orange County Performing Arts Center,
Costa Mesa, California, 12/3/93.
Original Cast: Yan Chen (Clara), Robert Wallace (Nutcracker-Prince),
Victor Barbee (Drosselmeyer), Julie Kent (Sugar Plum Fairy), Robert
Hill (Cavalier), Christina Fagundes (Snow Queen), Kathleen Moore (Dew
Prologue Drosselmeyers Workshop:
Godpapa Drosselmeyer knows all about clocks and watches, and every Christmas
he brings something delightful for all the children. This year, he loads
his toy chest with Russian, Arabian, and sock dolls and his most precious
possession, the wooden Nutcracker, for his god-child Clara.
Act One, Scene 1 - The Party:
Clara Silverhouse is a girl with a rich imagination. While her parents
prepare for their holiday guests, Clara has a private tea party for
her doll family: Gertrude with the giant ringlets, Pippa the big game
hunter and Heidi the Swiss Miss doll. Its a lovely party until
Claras pesty little brother Fritz comes along and ruins things.
But just then, Mama and Papa give the children permission to enter the
The Silverhouse home never looks as beautiful as it does at Christmas.
Everyone in the neighborhood comes by: Claras sweet Aunt Caroline,
her Uncle Piers with their very well mannered sons, Peter the bully
and his bully family, the Goldwassers of Goldwasser department store
in matching Goldwasser velvets, and finally, the Hals family with their
four children, exactly like stacking dolls, one shorter than the other.
When Drosselmeyer arrives, it is time to light the Christmas tree, and
the radiance of its glow overwhelms Clara. Drosselmeyer hides the Nutcracker
behind the presents. Drosselmeyer distributes gifts to the children,
and entertains them with his magical dolls. Thats when Clara discovers
the Nutcracker under the tree. Drosselmeyer explains the glories of
the wooden-headed Nutcracker to Clara by placing a nut in its mouth
and cracking it open. Clara is thrilled until Peter the bully breaks
the Nutcrackers jaw. Luckily, Clara is a gifted nurse and gently
places the Nutcracker in a bed from the doll cabinet. The guests finally
depart and the Silverhouse family goes to bed.
Act One, Scene 2 - The Battle:
As the clock strikes midnight Clara is startled by mice. Suddenly, she
sees Drosselmeyers face in the clock. Even stranger, the tree
begins to grow and grow until the cranberry and popcorn strings are
the size of cannonballs. Clara is certain things will never be the same
when Pippa, Gertrude and Heidi
introduce themselves. The dolls begin to dance, but stop as rats with
mean faces, even meaner than the bully family, creep into the room.
Clara and the dolls bravely ward off the rats, but they are cornered.
And thats when the Nutcracker, full-sized and strong, swoops into
action! He summons all the toy soldiers into battle, but his troops
retreat because they dont want to get their costumes dirty. The
rats attack the Nutcracker, and the dolls led by Pippa the big
game hunter do everything they can to protect him. The meanest
rat of them all, the evil Rat King, the very same one from Drosselmeyers
story at the Christmas party, battles the brave soldier. The Nutcracker
courageously falls and Clara hurls herself forward to protect him from
a mortal blow. Thats when everything in the room begins to fade.
Clara is surprised to find her Nutcracker safe and well and very grateful
to her. When Clara expresses her compassion for the Nutcracker, the
old Rat King curse is removed. The wooden-headed Nutcracker transforms
into a handsome prince. Clara takes the prince on a journey with her
to the very same world of beauty and grace as that of the Sugar Plum
Fairy. Drosselmeyer wishes them well as he sends them off on the first
leg of their journey the Land of Snow.
Act Two The Journey:
As Clara and the Nutcracker travel together, winter turns to spring,
and then they go on to Spain, Arabia, China and Russia, where the stacking
dolls very much resemble the Hals children at the Silverhouse Christmas
party. Finally they arrive at the Land of the Flowers and Clara is introduced
to the Sugar Plum Fairy, the ballerina of her dreams. After a joyous
celebration, Clara suddenly finds herself alone in her room. Was it
all a dream? She will share the joy of her imagination with her Nutcracker.
American Ballet Theatres first production of The Nutcracker,
choreographed by Mikhail Baryshnikov, received its first performance
at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D. C. on
December 21, 1976. Baryshnikovs production received its New York
premiere at the Metropolitan Opera House on May 18, 1977.
A previous staging of Kevin McKenzies production of The Nutcracker
received its World Premiere at the Orange County Performing Arts Center
in Costa Mesa, California on December 3, 1993. This new staging of The
Nutcracker was given its World Premiere at the Kennedy Center on December