Producer: Karen Smyles
This December, Friday Arts ventures behind the scenes for a Journey to the Land of the Sweets for Philadelphia’s most beloved holiday tradition. Giant mice, dancing snowflakes, a growing Christmas tree, and an enchanted nutcracker are sure to delight the inner child in everyone. Pennsylvania Ballet’s combination of amazing dancers, gorgeous sets and costumes, and fabulous live orchestra make George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® one of the greatest holiday shows in the country. How does it all come together?
Year after year, people of all ages come to the Academy of Music for performances of The Nutcracker. With all of the magic that happens on stage, it’s hard to imagine all of the work that goes on throughout the year to make it all appear so flawless. Friday Arts was thrilled for the opportunity to meet and talk to all of the people who work to make it happen.
We sit down with Angel Corella who began his new role as Artistic Director beginning with the 2014/2015 season, to talk about why he finds The Nutcracker to be a labor of love. A native of Spain, Corella explains that The Nutcracker is not as popular there as it is in America, and being a part of it now really puts him in the mood for the holidays. You feel the excitement he feels for his work as he discusses working with everyone from the dancers, to the musicians and even the ushers.
Principal dancer Ian Hussey talks about living his childhood dream of dancing the role of the Cavalier to the Sugar Plum Fairy, and soloist Alexandra Hughes discusses the multiple roles she’s played in The Nutcracker over the years. We also go backstage to talk with the prop master, a wardrobe dresser, the music director/conductor and the concertmaster. Then out to the lobby to meet two of the ushers who keep everything going smoothly with the audience.