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Oklahoma City Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” celebrates 50th anniversary with record-breaking ticket sales

by Brandy McDonnell Published: December 16, 2013
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Oklahoma City Ballet's Ellany Abbott appears in costume as one of the Chinese dancers in "The Nutcracker." Photo by Rocky Chen.
Oklahoma City Ballet's Ellany Abbott appears in costume as one of the Chinese dancers in "The Nutcracker." Photo by Rocky Chen.

Oklahoma City Ballet announced today that only halfway through their performances, the company has already broken a record for most tickets ever sold to its annual production of  the classic ballet “The Nutcracker.

As previously reported, this year actually marks the 50th anniversary of Oklahoma City Ballet’s first performance of the perennial yuletide favorite.

In December 1963, the Oklahoma City Civic Ballet, under the artistic direction of Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo dancers Yvonne Chouteau and Miguel Terekhov, performed “The Nutcracker” with the Oklahoma Symphony Orchestra at the Municipal Auditorium (now the Civic Center).

American Ballet Theatre principal Maria Tallchief, who died April 11 at age 88, danced as the Sugar Plum Fairy in that initial production. Tallchief and Chouteau are counted among Oklahoma’s five famed American Indian ballerinas.

This year’s production of “The Nutcracker,” choreographed by Oklahoma City Ballet’s Robert Mills, will continue at the Civic Center Music Hall at 7 p.m. Friday and 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday and close with the 2 p.m. Sunday performance.

“This is a huge testament to how the community feels about their ballet company. We have come so far in the last five years and this response solidifies the desire for a world class ballet company in Oklahoma City,” says Executive Director Shane Jewell in a news release. “We have come a long way to getting there, but we will continue to grow this company to match the caliber of this wonderful city.”

Oklahoma City Ballet’s version of the holiday classic stays true to the original libretto inspired by the E.T.A. Hoffman story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.” Tchaikovsky’s enduring score is performed live at every performance by the Oklahoma City Philharmonic.

“I am humbled at the response to Oklahoma City Ballet and The Nutcracker. It takes a village to produce such a huge production and our success is due in no small part to a vast number of people,” says Mills in the release. “I’d like to thank our dedicated staff, talented dancers, tireless backstage crew, our wonderful students and parents, our inspired board of trustees, countless volunteers and the magnificent Oklahoma City Philharmonic and maestro Joel Levine. I am humbled yes, but also proud and excited – proud of what this city has accomplished and excited for the future.”

One hour before all peformances, children will be able to participate in “Letters to Santa” in the South Lobby, where they will be able to prepare a letter for Santa and mail to the North Pole. Families will have the opportunity to take photos with Santa Claus in the lobby one hour prior to all matinée performances. Following each matinée performance, a Dancer Meet and Greet with refreshments courtesy of Braum’s will occur in the main lobby where children can meet, get autographs, and take pictures with dancers from “The Nutcracker.”

To read more of my feature on this beloved holiday favorite, click here.

For tickets and information, call 848-8637 or go to http://okcballet.com.

-BAM

by Brandy McDonnell
Entertainment Reporter
Brandy McDonnell, also known by her initials BAM, writes stories and reviews on movies, music, the arts and other aspects of entertainment. She is NewsOK’s top blogger: Her 4-year-old entertainment news blog, BAM’s Blog, has notched more than 1...
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