Houston Ballet to unveil new Nutcracker in 2016
After 29 years, Houston Ballet is saying goodbye to their Ben Stevenson version of The Nutcracker after this season and will premiere in 2016 a new version by artistic director Stanton Welch featuring fresh sets and costumes.
The last chance to see Stevenson’s classic Nutcracker at the Houston Ballet is Nov. 27 – Dec. 27. Stevenson, the company’s former artistic director, premiered his ballet with designs by designer Desmond Heeley, in 1987. Since then, more than one million people have seen the production. The company will give 34 performances of the holiday classic to a live orchestra, in the Brown Theater at Wortham Theater Center in downtown Houston.
“Ben Stevenson’s production of The Nutcracker has been an incredible gift for Houston Ballet and the city of Houston,” said Houston Ballet Executive Director Jim Nelson. “We honor the ballet for its place in our company’s history and the profound impact it has had on generations of dancers and audience members.”
The story of The Nutcracker has a special place in Houston Ballet’s repertory as the first full-length work to enter the company’s repertoire in a staging by Frederic Franklin, featuring scenery and costumes by the English designer Peter Farmer. The company gave six performances of The Nutcracker in 1972 at Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, and has danced the work each December the following 44 years. In 1976, Houston Ballet presented the production with revised choreography by the company’s new artistic director Ben Stevenson. In 1987, the current production with lighting by Duane Schuler, and choreography by Stevenson was unveiled to glowing critical response.
(Top photo: Houston Ballet’s Allison Miller in Ben Stevenson’s The Nutcracker. Photo by Amitava Sarkar)