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Houston Ballet Celebrates 25th Anniversary of
Ben Stevenson's dazzling production of The Nutcracker

From November 23-December 30, 2012, Houston Ballet celebrates the silver anniversary of Ben Stevenson's beloved production of The Nutcracker, featuring visually stunning scenery and costumes by the legendary English designer Desmond Heeley. A Houston holiday tradition seen by more than one million people since its debut in 1987, the Stevenson/Heeley production of The Nutcracker is the perfect way to introduce young children to the power and beauty of classical dance.

2012 also marks the 40th anniversary of Houston Ballet performances of The Nutcracker. Houston Ballet first presented The Nutcracker on December 28, 1972 at Jones Hall for the Performing Arts in downtown Houston. It was the company's first full-length production, and featured choreography by Frederic Franklin and designs by Peter Farmer. The company gave six performances in 1972. That number has increased to 36 in 2012, with performances running from Thanksgiving to New Year's.  The Nutcracker also plays a key role in Houston Ballet's financial picture, generating $3.74 million in ticket sales revenues in 2011.

The Nutcracker tells the story of a little girl named Clara who is given a magical nutcracker doll on Christmas Eve. She encounters the frightful rat king before embarking on a journey through the Land of Snow and the Kingdom of Sweets. Young and old alike will experience the production's many special effects, including the Christmas tree that "grows" to 40 feet, 200 pounds of "snow" falling during the snow scene and the firing of a canon on stage. Molly Glentzer, dance critic for the Houston Chronicle, wrote, "You'd have to be a Scrooge not to surrender to the spirit."