The Los Angeles Ballet, the city’s own professional ballet company, will be presenting twelve performances of the Nutcracker Ballet this year. The premiere will take place at the Wilshire Theatre in Beverly Hills December 2 with eleven performances across Los Angeles. Twenty-two real musicians will perform in this traditional, yet original, production along with 32 ‘virtual’ players provided by Garritan Personal Orchestra. The original score calls for as many as fifty-five players, but because of pit space and other limitations, this was impossible. Rather than cancel the production or play a CD recording (“totally unacceptable for both artistic and moral reasons”), Michael Andreas (musical director) and Julie Whittaker (Executive Director of the Los Angeles Ballet) pondered over the options and Personal Orchestra was the ideal solution.
The Nutcracker Ballet has been inspiring audiences for over a century. Based on the book “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” written by E.T.A. Hoffman, the beauty of ballet is wonderfully matched to music written by Peter Tchaikovsky. The Nutcracker is renowned world-wide for it’s dance and composition and has since become synonymous with the holiday season. When I was a child my parents would take me to see the Nutcracker performed by the NYC Ballet. I never did forget the magic. Snowflakes and flowers dance, toys come to life, the mice do battle, the Christmas tree soars high, an ethereal on-stage snowstorm, Mother Ginger, the Sugar Plum Fairy and many ballet dancers and dazzling sets. Many years later and I feel like a child again experiencing performances of this time-honored classic.
Executive Director: Julie Whittaker
Music Director: Michael Andreas /Conductor, Eimear Noone
Artistic Directors/Choreography: Thordal Christensen & Colleen Neary
The LA Ballet production of the Nutcracker has original choreography by Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary, original set design by Los Angeles designer/illustrator Catherine Kanner, and costumes by renowned Danish designer Mikael Melbe. Guest Artists include Paloma Herrera of American Ballet Theatre; Benjamin Millepied, Maria Kowroski, Maria Riccetto and Stephen Hanna, of the New York City Ballet.
This year’s Los Angeles Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker will be performed at Wilshire Theatre in Beverly Hills December 2-3, moving to Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center on December 23-24 and culminating at the Alex Theatre, Glendale December 30-31. There will be matinee and evening performances. Nutcracker tickets on sale now. For more information about the Los Angeles Ballet and this year’s production of The Nutcracker: www.losangelesballet.org
Music Director Michael Andreas is a well known Theatre and Film/TV composer. His stage credits include: Jay Johnson: The Two and Only (currently on Broadway at the Helen Hayes Theartre), My Rotten Life: A Bitter Operetta (starring Susan Tyrrell), Christmas Babies, and Don’t Hug Me. His film and television credits include King of Queens (CBS, producer main title theme), Married With Children (composer for 7 seasons), Dream for an Insomniac (starring Jennifer Aniston), CBS Early Edition (main title theme), Call Me Claus (with Whoopi Goldber)g, Legacy of the Hollywood Blacklist, Phenom, Men Are From Mars/Women Are From Venus, Wheel of Fortune, The Celestial Empire, An Affair of the Heart (HBO) and Christopher Lowell’s Interior Motives, and many other films, television shows and interactive media. He received an Emmy nomination for his work on “Heroes for the Planet Featuring Charlotte Church” He also conducted and orchestrated an album for the Beach Boys and many other productions.
The Northwest Ballet will also be performing “The Nutcracker” at the historic Mount Baker Theatre in Bellingham and the newly-built McIntyre Hall in Mt. Vernon
using the sounds of Personal Orchestra.
“I have danced with live orchestra most of my 30 year career in ballet … I was not only surprised that the music Mr. Garritan produced for this year’s Nutcracker by the Northwest Ballet Theatre was so incredibly crisp and sounded beautiful…Listening to it, I certainly could not tell that this was not recorded by a live orchestra. I did not tell my dancers and you know what…the only comments I heard from them about the music was that it sounded ‘great’. I hope to use the Garritan Personal Orchestra from now on.”
John Bishop, Director, Northwest Ballet Theatre