Thursday, September 4, 2008

Nutcracker FAQ's

Thanks to everyone who's participated in our Nutcracker survey.  We received over 1000 responses in the first 12 hours alone!  Look for the results next month.

A lot of people have used the comment section of the survey to give us very valuable feedback and ask some really great questions.  Keep 'em coming - either in the survey responses or here on the blog!  We'll do our best to answer the ones that are asked most frequently.  Here's the first batch:

Is OBT thinking about doing away with the Nutcracker altogether?

Absolutely not!  We're only considering whether or not to replace the Balanchine version that we've performed since 2003 with a brand new production created especially for our dancers and our audience.  If you've seen Christopher's Swan Lake or A Midsummer Night's Dream, you already know how exciting it is for all of us to have a full-length work that we can truly call our own.

We assure you that we're not doing away with the Nutcracker.  Even if you're not the world's biggest fan - and we know that there are a few of you out there! - you should be aware that the Nutcracker accounts for well over half of our ticket sales each year.  So even if it's not your favorite, you can still take comfort in the fact that it goes a long way toward helping support the other works we perform throughout the season.  And who knows: a new production might be just the thing to make you fall in love with the Nutcracker too!

What exactly do you mean by a "new Nutcracker?"  Would you change the story drastically or turn it into a modern, abstract work?

You can expect some twists and turns along the way, but any new production we create would still be very traditional in nature.  We can't share any details yet about what Christopher's considering, but the story would still take place in a magical, Old World setting.  The Rat King, the Snowflakes and (most importantly) the fantastic dancing aren't going anywhere.  

So if you're worried about the Land of Sweets being transported to the food court at the mall, or the Prince and Marie making their exits on skateboards or rocket ships, don't be!

And how about those "enhanced special effects?"  What does that mean?

Sorry, we didn't mean to scare you with that one either.  We're definitely talking about the sort of stuff that would fit within a traditional theatrical environment.  There won't be any laser light shows or car chases.

Why don't you just make changes to the Balanchine version?

With very good reason, the George Balanchine Trust is very particular about preserving Mr. B's works and ensuring that they're performed exactly the way he choreographed them.  We're not allowed to change anything about them at all - nor should we be.

How about bringing back James Canfield's Nutcracker?

For starters, we no longer own the sets and costumes to that production.

Also, we'd like to build on the precedent that James established.  He set the bar high!  His Nutcracker was fantastic and was a cherished holiday tradition in Portland for ten years.  That's exactly the sort of magic we'd be aiming to capture with a new production.

Will you give us advance notice if you do switch to a new Nutcracker?

Definitely.  You'd know at least a year in advance.  And if you're a season ticket holder or subscribe to our e-newsletter, you'll always be among the first to find out about everything we've got planned!

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