American Repertory Ballet Announces its 50th Annual Nutcracker Season

October 10, 2013

Press Releases

American Repertory Ballet Announces its 50th Annual Nutcracker Season

nutsPRINCETON, NJ – American Repertory Ballet’s 50th Annual Nutcracker Season will run November 23 through December 22 at venues across New Jersey. ARB’s Nutcracker is a holiday classic featuring Tchaikovsky’s score and a cast of over 100 performers. The Company has been performing Nutcracker for 50 consecutive years, making it the longest-running Nutcracker production in New Jersey and one of the longest consecutively-running in the United States next to a very few, including New York City Ballet, Ballet West, Ballet Austin, San Francisco Ballet, and Washington Ballet.

ARB’s Nutcracker has been a holiday tradition since 1964 when the company, then known as Princeton Regional Ballet, began to perform the ballet annually.  Founder and then Artistic Director Audrée Estey initially staged her version of Nutcracker in 1956 as a spring Princeton Ballet School performance at McCarter Theatre in Princeton.  William Lockwood, who still works at McCarter as Director of Special Programming, suggested that the company perform the production at McCarter every holiday season, an idea that soon became reality.

On Friday, November 1, at 5:15pm, prior to the beginning of ARB’s Nutcracker performance season the Company will present its “50th Annual Nutcracker” On Pointe Enrichment Series event at Princeton Ballet School – 301 North Harrison Street, Princeton, NJ.  This On Pointe will be a lecture-demonstration summarizing highlights of the 50-year history of the company’s Nutcracker, which made its annual debut at McCarter Theatre in 1963.  The event will take the audience through highlights of the rich 50-year history of the company’s Nutcracker and will also feature a discussion of Tchaikovsky’s score with music scholar and Princeton University professor Simon Morrison.  Additionally, ARB’s dancers will perform excerpts from the ballet.

The company will bring its 50th Annual Nutcracker production to Union County Performing Arts Center’s main stage in Rahway on November 23 at 2:00pm.  ARB’s Nutcracker will be at McCarter Theatre in Princeton for Thanksgiving weekend: Wednesday, November 27 at 7:00pm and Friday, November 29 and Saturday, November 30 at 1:00pm and 4:30pm.  On Saturday, December 7 at 1:00pm and 4:30pm, ARB’s Nutcracker will be at Patriots Theater at the War Memorial in Trenton, where the company has been presenting Nutcracker for over 20 years.  The following weekend, the dancers will be at Algonquin Arts Theatre in Manasquan for performances on Saturday, December 14 at 1:00pm and 4:30pm and on Sunday, December 15 at 3:00pm.  The closing weekend of ARB’s Nutcracker will be at State Theatre in New Brunswick, where the company has also been performing Nutcracker for over 20 years, on Saturday, December 21 and Sunday, December 22 at 1:00pm and 4:30pm.  These performances at State Theatre will feature a live orchestra, conducted by Maestro Michael Pratt, and the Princeton GirlChoir.

On Saturday, November 30, directly following the 4:30pm performance at McCarter Theatre, ARB’s “Celebrate the Legacy” reception at The Nassau Club in Princeton will welcome ARB and Princeton Ballet School Alumni from the last 50 years of ARB’s Nutcracker and their families, ARB’s current performers, fans, supporters and community members.  The event will feature hors d’oeuvres prepared by The Nassau Club Chef Brian Dougherty, an open bar, a 50/50 raffle, and a silent auction, featuring gifts donated by Kate Spade NY, Veuve Cliquot, Lace Silhouettes Lingerie, McCarter Theatre, and more.  Event tickets are $50.  Visit the website or contact ARB’s Director of Development, Naomi Levecchia, for more information:, 732-249-1254 x25.

In addition to this special event, ARB will be holding its annual “Nutcracker Sweets” party on November 29 at 3:15pm – between the 1:00pm and 4:30pm performances at McCarter Theatre.  At “Nutcracker Sweets,” families can enjoy homemade treats; tea, coffee, and hot cocoa served in china teacups; story time; and free photos with costumed characters.  Tickets for “Nutcracker Sweets” are sold separately from performance tickets, but they are also available by calling the McCarter box office: 609-258-ARTS (2787).  Please contact Naomi Levecchia with any questions:, 732-249-1254 x25.

Many local businesses are partnering with ARB in support of their 50th Nutcracker.  As they have in the past, the Terra Momo Restaurant Group will offer ARB’s Nutcracker ticket holders 20% off a meal at any of their three restaurants: Eno Terra in Kingston, Mediterra in Princeton, or Teresa Caffe in Princeton.  The Bent Spoon, Princeton’s beloved purveyor of handmade artisan ice creams, sorbets, baked goods, specialty drinks, will be releasing a special Nutcracker-themed ice cream flavor in November, and donating a portion of proceeds from sales of this flavor to ARB’s “Keep the Magic Alive” Nutcracker fund.  Princeton Soup and Sandwich Company will be offering a Nutcracker lunch special.  Jazams will be donating proceeds from all Nutcracker-themed toys and books sold to ARB’s “Keep the Magic Alive” fund.  Other local business partners of ARB’s 50th Annual Nutcracker include: McCaffrey’s, Sports Physical Therapy Institute, and Mary Pomerantz Advertising.  Mary Pomerantz Advertising recently won an American Graphic Design Award for their work on the logo for ARB’s 50th Nutcracker Season (pictured above).

Many corporations and media sources have also pledged their support of ARB’s 50th Annual Nutcracker Season.  Top corporate sponsors include: New Brunswick Development Corporation, Covance, NJ Manufacturers, and Hampton Inn.  Town Topics and Princeton Magazine, Packet Media, NJ Family, Bucks County Courier, Bucks Life Magazine, Moxie Woman Magazine, and Princeton Alumni Weekly are media sponsors.

50th Nutcracker sponsorships, other partnerships, playbill advertisements, and tickets to the “Celebrate the Legacy” reception at The Nassau Club are still available.  For information about these opportunities and about tickets to this reception, please contact ARB Director of Development Naomi Levecchia for more details and to get involved: 732-249-1254 ext. 25 or  Playbill ad artwork is due October 15.

About American Repertory Ballet and Princeton Ballet School

American Repertory Ballet’s mission is to bring the joy, beauty, artistry and discipline of classical and contemporary dance to New Jersey and nationwide audiences and to dance students through artistic and educational programs. The organization is comprised of: American Repertory Ballet, the preeminent contemporary ballet company in the state; Princeton Ballet School, one of the largest and most respected non-profit dance schools in the nation; and the Access and Enrichment initiatives, ranging from the long-running and acclaimed DANCE POWER program to the popularOn Pointe series. The professional company is a classical and contemporary ballet company committed to presenting ballets from the 19th and 20th century alongside new and existing works by choreographers from today. Founded in 1963, the company is currently under the artistic leadership of Douglas Martin, former principal dancer with the Joffrey Ballet. The company’s rich history of repertory includes established masterpieces by distinguished American choreographers such as George Balanchine, Gerald Arpino, Alvin Ailey, Paul Taylor and Twyla Tharp; cutting edge works by choreographers such as Val Caniparoli, Kirk Peterson, Dominique Dumais, Harrison McEldowney, Amy Seiwert, Susan Shields and Melissa Barak; and former Artistic Directors Dermot Burke, Marjorie Mussman, Septime Webre and Graham Lustig. ARB has been designated a “Major Arts Institution” by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts consistently for the past two decades, and has repeatedly been awarded a Citation of Excellence by the Council. ARB was voted People’s Choice for Best Dance Company in 2008, 2011, and 2012.

Princeton Ballet School has gained a national reputation for its excellent dance training since its founding in 1954 by Audrée Estey. Princeton Ballet School currently enrolls approximately 1500 students annually from age three through adult and is directed by Mary Pat Robertson. Princeton Ballet School has studios in Cranbury, New Brunswick, and Princeton which are equipped with shock-absorbent floors, non- slip dance surfaces and pianos for live accompaniment. Many of Princeton Ballet School’s faculty members have performed professionally; others have attained graduate degrees in dance education and have won awards for their teaching. Students from the school have gone on to dance in professional ballet and contemporary dance companies in the US and abroad. Graduates have danced with such diverse organizations as the American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Miami City Ballet, STREB, Momix, Complexions, Mark Morris Dance Company, Twyla Tharp Dance, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, New York Theatre Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Ballet Met Columbus, and American Repertory Ballet.


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