Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker — December 11-28, 2014
Choreographed by John McFall
Music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Live with Atlanta Ballet Orchestra led by principal guest conductor Gary Sheldon
Let Atlanta Ballet transport you and your family into a magical world of dancing dolls, mischievous mice, and sparkling snowflakes with the time-honored classic, Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker. This larger than life production has become a staple of the Atlanta holiday season, leaving audiences of all ages smiling from ear to ear. Add it to your family tradition this year!
Singing in Act I's "Snow Scene" by
Run time is approximately 2 hours, including a 25-minute intermission.
Featured photos: Peng Yu Chen as Female Meissen Doll, Tara Lee as Female Arabian, Alessa Rogers as Marya, Claire Stallman as Snow Queen, Rachel Van Buskirk as Dew Drop Fairy, Alexandre Barros as Nutcracker, Christian Clark as Cavalier, Jonah Hooper as Snow King and Male Arabian, Jared Tan as Male Meissen Doll, and Drew Thomas as Drosselmeyer. Photos by Charlie McCullers.
The Fox Theatre
The “Fabulous Fox” is Atlanta’s most opulent historic landmark and a nationally acclaimed theatre.
Location and Parking
The Fox Theatre is located at 660 Peachtree Street at the intersection of Ponce de Leon Avenue and Peachtree Street. Parking for the theatre is available in a variety of lots within a four-block radius. Parking prices range from $4 - $15. Preferred parking for Atlanta Ballet's Nutcracker is located at the Bank of America Plaza Parking Garage at 600 Peachtree St. Atlanta, GA 30308. The parking garage is situated one block south of the Fox Theatre. The garage provides safe and secured covered parking for all patrons going to Atlanta Ballet's Nutcracker and other area events. To reserve your parking space for the day of the event please click here. The pre-paid parking charge is $11.50, which includes all taxes and fees. The Fox Theatre is also easily accessible via the North Avenue MARTA rail station.
Emergency Phone Number
(404) 881-2100 is the emergency number for the Fox Theatre. Please leave your seat location with your babysitter or answering service so that an usher may reach you in case of an emergency.
Phonic Ear Easy Listening System headsets are available in the Fox Theatre lobby. Headsets are free and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Assistance is also available for patrons who need help upon arrival at the Fox Theatre. For more information, please call (404) 881-2100.
Community and Corporate Group Tickets
It only takes 10 people to benefit from Atlanta Ballet's Group Sales program. With our fast, friendly and convenient service, you can secure the best seats in the house in no time at all. For more information or to reserve your group's seats today, contact Myredith Gonzales, Group Sales Manager, by one of the easy methods below.
||404.873.5811 ext 207
||404.874.4873, Attention: Group Sales
1695 Marietta Boulevard NW
Atlanta, GA 30318
Group Benefits include:
- Priority seating at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre and the Fabulous Fox Theatre.
- Discounts of up to 30% for select performances and special access to tickets not available to the general public.
- One-time $10 service fee, no matter how large your order.
- Flexible payment options.
- VIP opportunities such as backstage tours and dancer meet-and-greets (nominal fees apply).
- Personal VIP service from our outstanding staff, including presentation and marketing materials on the program of your choice. Assistance with restaurant and hotel reservations, transportation options, pre/post-show receptions and tours of the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre/The Fabulous Fox Theatre are also available at your request.
Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education's Kids In Step for School Groups
The Centre for Dance Education's Kids In Step program is designed to bring dance to the school-age child. For more information on weekday performances for accredited school groups and registered home schools, please visit our Kids In Step page.
A magic handkerchief, dancing life-sized dolls, a hand-carved gift that comes to life, and an enchanted trip through the snow to the Land of the Sweets…what more could a young girl want on Christmas Eve? And what more could Atlanta ask for? Maybe a theatre that evokes an evening in Morocco, with a star-studded sky and clouds borne by invisible winds? A snow storm inside the theatre? An orchestra made up of some of the region’s best musicians? Christmas melodies played on an enormous pipe organ? Good acting and even better dancing? The Atlanta Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” offered these and more on opening night at the Fabulous Fox.
Individual performances were spectacularly moving; it seems Atlanta Ballet’s core company members continue to grow in artistry. As Marya, Nash made a major impression in her first starring role as a member of the lead cast (there are four different casts in this year’s production). Nash rose to the moment, showcasing the spunk and ebullience needed to carry Act I. From the moment she galumphed like a tomboy into her new party dress to the instant she stabbed the Rat King and toppled him with her index finger, she was resolute and radiant — equal parts intelligence and humor.
For Chen, this year’s Nutcracker holds special significance — exactly two years ago she was injured mid-performance as she danced the marquee role of the Snow Queen. She hobbled off stage, suddenly faced with the harrowing prospect she might never return.
When Atlanta Ballet’s “Nutcracker” makes its annual run at the Fox Theatre beginning Dec. 11, Felder will debut in two featured roles: the child heroine, Marya, and the sultry Arabian dancer.
It’s a step up for Felder within the ballet’s tiered system of roles that challenge dancers at successive levels. Like Felder, dancers across the metro area are rising from angels to party children, soldiers to flowers, and Dew Drops to Sugar Plum Fairies.
For the entire company, praise is undoubtedly deserved. Atlanta Ballet is knee deep in exceptional talent. And judging by the technical prowess of even the youngest cast member, the Centre for Dance Education is clearly doing its job.
Overall, the Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker is quintessentially seasonal, wonderfully produced and is the perfect holiday outing for your family.
Whether you are 10, 30, or 60, the whimsy and fantasy of the Atlanta Ballet’s The Nutcracker appeals to the child in all of us. If you haven’t already, grab a friend or your family and go see this show before it leaves the Fox Theater on December 29.
I must tell you I was quite transported: I had a fifth row center seat (heaven); the proximity to all that magic, fantasy, music, and superb dancing becomes hypnotic, almost an out-of-body experience. You want to get in touch with your inner child? This is the place. It matters not if you’ve seen it once, 50 times, or never. You think you’re not a dance fan? Go and surprise yourself. This may sound corny, but I’m very grateful to live in a city that offers such glorious entertainment.
No small feat, but with “Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker,” Atlanta Ballet, in its 53rd annual staging of the Tchaikovsky classic, has found its greatness. The performance is not without flaw, but missteps are diluted by the general merriment, and at times they feel almost endearing. Like a house full of relatives visiting for Christmas, the piece is wonderfully exuberant, if occasionally overwhelming. With a host of characters — some cute, some intriguing, some just strange — the whole thing is so much fun that you quickly forgive the frenzy and join in the festivities.
McFall has entirely reimagined Act I but is hesitant to give away too much — he wants the new dances and the illusions to be a surprise. He alludes to flying handkerchiefs, dolls that magically appear from thin air, and a dramatic transformation of the boy Nutcracker into the grown Nutcracker. Integrating the illusions into the storyline was of paramount importance to both Thomas and McFall.
In the midst of the holiday rush, it's comforting to step into the Fox Theatre for Atlanta Ballet's "Nutcracker" and to see the snow-laden evergreens and rounded minarets of the Petrov family's 19th-century Russian home. It's enchanting to peer through a lattice of winter branches into its picture window. There's a feeling of nostalgia, a moment to slow down, take a deep breath and prepare to be transported to the age of old-world classical story ballets - a time when people traveled by horse and carriage or sleigh, pocket watches ticked and ballets lasted four to five hours.
Illusionist Drew Thomas was so pumped about beginning rehearsals for “Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker” that he wore a Victorian magician’s costume all the way from Jamaica, where he had been staging his long-running show on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, to Atlanta earlier this month.
It's considered a staple of the holidays. The Atlanta Ballet is currently presenting its 52nd annual "Nutcracker Ballet" on stage at the Fox Theatre. FOX 5's Deidre Dukes received a behind the scenes look on Thursday!
19 years of Nutcracker
My daughter and I have enjoyed the Nutcracker every year together for 19 years. Its our Christmas tradition. We have seen performances from all over the world from Alaska to Germany.Every performance is different. Atlanta ballet gave a wonderful show! We enjoyed this Russian version very much. The costumes were beautiful. We loved "Mother" and the Chinese dragons were outstanding.
We attended the Friday matinee. We did have to ask to move and were graciously allowed to do so. Our original seats did not allow us to see past the side stage scenery. It did not rise as we thought it would and we could not see the full stage. We missed the tree rising! The small choir then stood up in front of everyone's view on that side and we could not see those dances.
My daugher and I have seen the Atlanta Ballet's Nutcracker many times over the past 15 years. This was a real disappointment. The revised storyline is incomprehensible, and the second half of the show which is completely without context. The idea that the Nutcracker is a toy which comes to life is integral to the story. Yet it was completely omitted. I was glad I did not have to (try) to explain it to a young child. In addition to the changes in the story, the performance we saw was sparkless and tired. The choreography was lackluster, the dancers nearly all seemed to be going through the motions. I know that the umpteenth performance of the Nutcracker is probably not the highlight of the company's calendar, but at $90 a ticket, there is no excuse for such a production. Of course, the fact that the performance started with a video advertisement blast from sponser Belk should have been a warning that things are not as they once were. Really tacky, folks.
Christmas Eve Seconds
We have been making the Christmas Eve matinee a family tradition for 3 years, however it seems that we get second rate performances at this show. For 2013, Drosselmeyer was lackluster and couldn't manage the scarf nor cape. Clara was less than graceful and came off more like a tomboy. Her hair ribbons were very much in the way. In the first half, the essence of the story was cropped, so what was presented made no sense, and the dances had no lead-in flow of movement. Right after the curtain rose for the 'party', we heard a crash backstage. Throughout the show, it looked like half the cast was missing, and the curtain call reflected this, too. We kept seeing a flashlight throughout the show on stage right (two years ago we saw it stage left,as well as the person with a clipboard, and then that person kept getting in the way of the door at the clocktower.)We love the FOX and the various venues, but we may change our attendance for The Nutcracker.
Beautiful Performance of Muddled Storyline
Our family has been attending Nutcracker performances for years, and this one was beautiful as always. The dancing, costumes, and set are lovely, and having live orchestra music is always the best. However, the storyline has become completely muddled. Even though my children have seen it many times they were confused by what was happening, and I had a hard time explaining it myself. Much of the humor is gone from the battle with the rats and Rat King, and the transition to the second action is completely unclear.
One other big minus: why are the ushers at the Fox not addressing the problem of people videoing the performance on their phones?!!! A woman a few rows in front of us repeatedly raised her phone to video scenes, and the light was hugely annoying and distracting. I saw this happen several times in other parts of the theater, and couldn't believe no one stopped this extremely tacky practice.
Storyline lost in this interpretation
Visually this production was dazzling. The addition of the choir and the very young dancers was enchanting. The costumes and snow falling into the audience was stunning. The story however was hard to follow. This was the first time my daughter has seen the Nutcracker live. She really didn't understand what was going on. She got the party part, the "troublemaker" boy part. But from there, she didn't quite understand what was happening. Suddenly there were mice, rats and fighting with the Nutcracker. The dancers were good, but there wasn't much "dancing" just a lot of posing on stage. The few pas de deux in the second half of the production were very good. But once again, it was a convoluted story line for those who have never seen the Nutcracker.
Really didn't appreciate the commercial we the audience were forced to watch right before the performance, it lacked decorum. Sponsors should stay off the stage and in the program. Next year are we to expect the prima with a logo affix to her bum? We paid over $100.00 a ticket and had to endure a commercial? As to the venue, the Fox Theater; What an extraordinary theater, absolutely spectacular, a place where food and beverages shouldn't be brought into the theater during a performance like this. I am sure it would be fine during a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert, but the sound of crunching popcorn and the rolling of empty beverage bottles was distracting to me and I thought rather disrespectful to the performers. While I was magically being transported into the performance by the sugar plum fairy and the music I was rudely assaulted by a bevarage bottle rolling into my foot. Certainly people can go 2 hours without eating, there was so much trash left on the floor of the theater it looked like a football stadium rather than a theater.
One of my favorite parts to this performance was the orchestra and the organ player ascending and descending from the orchestra pit was brilliant. He and the orchestra were wonderful and welcome additions to the whole experience.
Show All 34 Reviews
Atlanta Ballet's Nutcracker: Snow Pas de Deux
Atlanta Ballet's Nutcracker: Waltz of the Flowers excerpt 2014
Atlanta Ballet's Nutcracker: Cavalier Variation 2014
Atlanta Ballet's Nutcracker 2014 30 Second Commercial
Atlanta Ballet's Nutcracker in Rehearsal
Atlanta Ballet's Road To Nutcracker
Atlanta Ballet's Nutcracker 2013
Atlanta Ballet brings holiday classic to the Fox
Choreographer and Atlanta Ballet Artistic Director
John McFall studied dance with Ms. Tatiana Dokoudovska, who not only taught him the art of dance, but also inspired him to pursue an adventurous life in theater. At sixteen, he was contracted to dance at Starlight Theater, one of the showcase summer stock venues in the country. Following this, he performed with San Francisco Ballet for two decades, working with distinguished choreographers and touring the world. John became recognized as a choreographer himself and was commissioned to create premieres for a variety of companies, including San Francisco Ballet, Dance Theater of Harlem, and National Ballet of Canada. Mikhail Baryshnikov invited John to create two works for American Ballet Theater in which Mikhail also performed. In 1986, John received an invitation from Robert Barnett, artistic director of Atlanta Ballet, to premiere a work titled Watchers. Eight years later, John would become artistic director. John has continued to contribute to the Atlanta Ballet repertoire with family classics such as Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Swan Lake, Firebird, and Don Quixote. Notably, he has expanded the range of the repertoire with invitations to many of the world’s most provocative and imaginative choreographers. These individuals include Wayne McGregor, Jorma Elo, Ohad Naharin, David Bintley, Christopher Wheeldon, James Kudelka, and Twyla Tharp. John is committed to continue leading Atlanta Ballet into the future with innovative and extraordinary works. By commissioning brilliant choreographers and nurturing the development of new talent, he will ensure that for generations to come Atlanta Ballet will present evenings of dance that touch the soul and engage the imagination. Simply put, to INSPIRE.
Photo by Charlie McCullers.
Principal Guest Conductor
Gary Sheldon was recently appointed principal guest conductor for Atlanta Ballet. In this, his fifth season with the Company, he returns to conduct Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker. His distinguished career has included positions with San Francisco Ballet, Ballet Met, and Miami City Ballet, where he currently serves as principal conductor. He has guest conducted for Alberta Ballet, Delta Festival Ballet, Hartford Ballet, New Orleans Ballet, and the Norwegian Ballet in Oslo. Maestro Sheldon recently won the American Prize in Orchestral Conducting for recordings with Lancaster Festival Orchestra at the Lancaster Festival in Ohio, where he is artistic director. He is also principal conductor at the Festival at Sandpoint in Idaho. He has held conducting positions with the New Orleans Symphony, Spoleto Festival, Syracuse Opera Theatre, and Marin Symphony in California, where he served as music director and, in 1996, won the Distinguished Citizen Award from the Marin Cultural Center and Museum. He is a native of Bay Shore, N.Y., and a graduate of the Juilliard School.
Photo courtesy of garysheldon.com.