Nutcracker vs. Mouse King, at a theater near you

(Photo by Alexander Samoylyk)

Nutcracker at UPAC December 13-15 will be Anne Hebard’s last

Amidst all the reincarnations of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker that pop up all over the map this time of year, the Catskill Ballet Theatre’s version is the longest-running ballet production in the region. And this season’s 37th annual Nutcracker – running at the Ulster Performing Arts Center December 13 through 15 – marks a special, bittersweet milestone: the final production under CBT founder Anne Hebard. She plans to retire as artistic director at the end of 2019, to be succeeded by Melissa Bierstock, a former student of Hebard’s who currently serves as CBT’s ballet mistress.

Anne Hebard formed the Catskill Ballet Theatre in 1981; ballets that the Company has performed under her leadership include The Nutcracker, The Snow Queen, Dracula and Alice in Wonderland. Prior to founding CBT, Anne was a teacher at the Harkness House for Ballet Arts for nearly 10 years. She was awarded the Royal Academy of Dance’s Advanced Teacher’s Certificate with Honors, holds certificates in Dance History, Music and Anatomy and has been recognized by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts.


For those not already familiar with the pageantry, this holiday ballet follows the enchanted adventures of young Clara from a lavish Christmas party to a battle with an evil King Mouse, and then to the magnificent Land of Sweets where she meets the Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier (her toy Nutcracker brought to full-sized life), and is entertained with delightful dances from around the world.

Starring in the CBT production this year will be Yinet Fernandez of the Dance Theatre of Harlem as the Snow Fairy and Sugar Plum Fairy, partnered by José Carlos Losada Morales of the National Ballet of Cuba. Additional professional dancers include Claire Mazza, Morgan Stinnett and Mathew Ortiz. Locally based performers include David Loewen as the King Mouse and Ellis Lader, MD as Herr Drosselmeyer. The part of Clara will be danced by Beatrix Airhart and Magdalyn Van Wagenen in alternating performances; Katie Hutton and Marin Prosser will share the role of the Nutcracker and Fritz will be performed by Erin Machung.

Performances of The Nutcracker begin at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, December 13 and 14 and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, December 15. Tickets cost $30 general admission, $25 for students and seniors. To order, call the UPAC box office at (845) 339-6088 or Ticketmaster at (845) 454-3388, or purchase online at

Catskill Ballet Theatre’s The Nutcracker
Friday-Sunday, Dec. 13-15. 7:30 p.m./2 p.m., $35/$25, Ulster Performing Arts Center, 601 Broadway, Kingston
(845) 339-6088

New Paltz Ballet Theatre’s Nutcracker revisits Bardavon

For the 22nd time, the Bardavon presents the New Paltz Ballet Theatre production of the seasonal classic The Nutcracker, a ballet about a little girl and her special Christmas gift, on Saturday, and Sunday, December 14 and 15. Giant fighting mice, sugarplum fairies and huge toy soldiers will soon be dancing on the Bardavon stage. Based on E. T. A. Hoffman’s tale The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, with music by Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky, the dreamlike journey through the Land of Snow and the Kingdom of Sweets is created in part by the colorful costumes and scenery of designer Ray Delle Robbins of the Houston Ballet and Houston’s Theatre under the Stars. Staging and choreography are by New Paltz Ballet Theatre’s artistic directors Peter Naumann and Lisa Naumann. Saturday’s performance begins at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets cost $34 general admission, $31 for students and $29 for Bardavon members.

The Nutcracker
Saturday/Sunday, Dec. 14/15, 7:30 p.m./3 p.m., Bardavon 1869 Opera House
35 Market St., Poughkeepsie
(845) 473-2072,

Tannersville Orpheum hosts The Nutcracker this weekend

The Catskill Mountain Foundation presents the world’s favorite ballet, The Nutcracker, on the weekend of December 13 through 15. Former Metropolitan Opera ballerina Victoria Rinaldi, Tony-nominated choreographer Margo Sappington and Eugene Petrov, founder/artistic director of the Petrov Ballet School in Waldwick, New Jersey, combine to present this family classic. Rinaldi will once again work with local children and adults to put on the production: a popular holiday treat with local participation. Children and adults are cast in as party children and party parents, toy soldiers, mice and angels.

Sam Meredith, one of Rinaldi’s favorite ballet partners at the Metropolitan Opera, will play the role of Herr Drosselmeyer. Eugene Petrov will dance the roles of the Snow King and the Cavalier in the two main pas de deux of the performance. The Nutcracker Prince will be danced for a second year by Stephen Colon, and the Mouse King will be danced by Justice Leman.

Performances take place at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, December 13 and 14 and at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, December 15. Advance tickets cost $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and $7 for students. Tickets at the door cost $7 for students, $25 for seniors, $30 for adults.

The Nutcracker
Friday-Sunday, Dec. 13-15,
7:30 p.m./2 p.m.
Orpheum Film & Performing Arts Center
6050 Main St., Tannersville
(518) 263-2063