November 18, 2011

Press Releases


RALEIGH, NC— Who doesn’t love a good magic trick that makes one scratch one’s head, and wonder “how did he do that?”  This year, in Carolina Ballet’s annual Nutcracker, Herr Drosselmeyer has been transformed into a master magician of the highest order who will perform magic tricks that go way beyond pulling rabbits out of a hat.  He will shrink his nephew small enough to pack him away into his valise, to have him reappear when Drosselmeyer arrives at the Stahlbaum’s annual Christmas party.  And that is just the beginning.  It is all a part of Carolina Ballet’s plan to present a “new” magical Nutcracker to Triangle area audiences after ten years of the traditional holiday classic.

Carolina Ballet will present 20 performances of Nutcracker during the month of December leading up to Christmas.  The production premieres in Chapel Hill at Memorial Hall, December 3 & 4, 2011 (3 shows); then it moves to Durham at the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC), December 10 & 11 (3 shows); and finally to Raleigh at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium (RMA) December 16-24 (14 shows). The times and dates of performances are listed at the end of this release.

Artistic Director Robert Weiss says “there isn’t a Nutcracker any where that has the kind of magic tricks we are going to present this year.  I can guarantee that the magic will knock their socks off.”  Weiss, and Jeff A.R. Jones, resident scenery designer, along with the two dancers who play the role of Herr Drosselmeyer, Marin Boieru and Dameon Nagel, spent a week with magician/illusionist Rick Thomas learning the secrets of one of the country’s top rated magicians.  Thomas conceived the illusions for Carolina Ballet’s new Nutcracker, then Bill Smith of Magic Ventures in Las Vegas built them.  The magic is sponsored by WRAL-TV.

Robert Weiss likes to tell the story of going to see his first Nutcracker at New York City Ballet when he was five years old.  He says, even at that young age, it was a life changing experience for him because it was then that he decided that he wanted to be in the ballet.  He had to wait until he was eight, though, before he could take classes at School of American Ballet and perform in Nutcracker.   Until he was taken into New York City Ballet as a dancer at age 16, Weiss says that he performed every role for a young boy in Nutcracker.  Even today he says “no matter how many times I see Nutcracker, I always get that tingle up my spine when the curtain goes up.”

Rick Thomas is one of today’s premier magic act entertainers.  For over fifteen years he has performed in Las Vegas at the Tropicana, the Stardust, the Orleans, and the Sahara.  His new show, “Mansion of Dreams,” opened this summer at the Riviera.  Thomas was particularly intrigued about working with Carolina Ballet because he and his sister were named “Amateur United States Ballroom Dancing Champions” as teenagers.

With the addition of the new magic, Carolina Ballet is giving its Nutcracker a face lift in other areas as well.  Jeff A.R. Jones designed an elegant new set for Act I where the Party Scene takes place in the Stahlbaum’s house, and new scenery for the “Land of the Sweets” in Act II.  Despite these changes and additions to Nutcracker, Robert Weiss wants to assure the patrons that the choreography has not been changed, “all the favorite Nutcracker dances – Waltz of the Flowers, Candy Canes, Ribbon Candy, etc., that everyone has come to expect from Carolina Ballet, will remain the same and only be enhanced by the magic and scenery.”

For information regarding the purchase of tickets, patrons should call the Carolina Ballet Box Office at 919 719-0900 or Ticketmaster at 800 982-2787.  At DPAC ticket prices range from $100-30 and at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium tickets are priced from $100-25.  The schedule of performances is as follows:

DPAC              December 10  2pm & 7pm

                         December 11  2pm 

RMA               December 16  7:30pm

                         December 17  11am, 3pm & 7:30pm

                         December 18  12:30pm & 4:30pm

                          December 20  7:30pm

                           December 21  2pm & 7:30pm

                           December 22  2pm & 7:30pm

                            December 23  2pm & 7:30pm

                            December 24  1pm 

After thirteen seasons, Carolina Ballet, Inc. has taken its place among America’s premiere arts organizations.  Under the innovative direction of artistic director Robert Weiss, a talented company, fiscally responsible management and community support, Carolina Ballet exposes audiences to traditional ballet by legendary masters and new works of contemporary choreographers.  The company represents the vibrant entrepreneurial spirit and ever-increasing quality of life experienced here in North Carolina.

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