Pacific Northwest Ballet: ‘Nutcracker’ performances through December

  • By Rebecca Bailey For the Herald
  • Thursday, December 3, 2009 8:35am

As our story opens, it is late afternoon on Christmas Eve, and Clara has fallen asleep in her room…”

And so begins the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s “Nutcracker” performance that for many people is the opening act of their holiday season. Its dazzling sets and lovely costumes designed by Maurice Sendak are visually stunning. The ballet’s captivating music and choreography weave together a Christmas story where reality and dreams meld, enchanting more than 100,000 people of all ages every holiday season.

“‘The Nutcracker’ is special because it’s a lot of children’s first experience with live theater,” said Lia Chiarelli, associate director of marketing and communications for

Pacific Northwest Ballet.

Children are especially drawn to the performance, and that, in part, is probably due to the more than 200 children who are cast in “The Nutcracker.” Plus, the story is easy to understand, and it’s only two hours long with a nice intermission, Chiarelli said.

Performances run throughout December and it’s a not-to-be-missed holiday outing for the whole family. This year there are lots of ways to purchase discounted Nutcracker tickets. For example, you can buy four discounted tickets bundled with coupons that can be redeemed at McCaw Hall for cookies to nibble on and milk or cider to sip during the intermission. These family packs are available for all performances, which run through Dec. 30, and range in price from $174 to $458.

“The least expensive ones sell out first, so it’s good to buy early,” Chiarelli said.

In the spirit of giving, ticket discounts are also offered for specific performances when you give a food donation to Food Lifeline, a nonprofit organization that distributes food to low-income families and individuals in our area. “Bring a donation of food to the box office and you can get 15 percent off your ticket,” Chiarelli said.

Also, you can pick up 15 percent-off coupons at Ivar’s and Kidd Valley restaurants, Quality Food Center (QFC) grocery stores and the concierge desk at Pacific Place in Seattle. No purchase is necessary at these locations to obtain coupons.

Lots of fun things are tied in with the “Nutcracker” performance this year, as well. “In the party scene, there are roles for non-dancers,” Chiarelli said. For some performances these roles have been cast with local weather-casters such as Steve Pool and MJ McDermott. Other local celebrities include disc jockeys Shawn Stewart of KMTT, and Joe Bryant and Spike O’Neill of KZOK.

More fun happens on Dec. 30 during the final Nutcracker show. It’s the annual “Nutty Nutcracker.” True to its name, the artists alter scenes by doing “nutty” things such as having a snowball fight during the snow scene or using funny props.

“It’s important to buy your tickets from Pacific Northwest Ballet,” Chiarelli said. Third party tickets can be more expensive and buying them from Pacific Northwest Ballet ensures that your tickets are genuine.

Tickets are available for performances through Dec. 30. The family packs must be purchased through the Pacific Northwest Ballet box office located at 301 Mercer St., or by calling (206) 441-2424. For more family specials, ticket options and fun things associated with the “Nutcracker” performance, see

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