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Photo Credit: Eric Antoniou

I think The Nutcracker, as a tradition, is going very well. I wanted to make sure that it continues to go very well, versus if it starts dipping and then fixing it. The other factor was really the money that we had to put into maintaining the set. The set was so old, and it made much more sense to turn the page this time. And I’m thrilled with it.

It’s the Jane Austen era for the reality part, the party scene, and then after that it’s really taking the viewers for a big journey of different kinds of expressions. The reality part is more brown, tan and a little bit of lavender, purple and blue. But then when we go to the dream part—oh my God! It’s lots of color. Then the third act is a little bit of a bow to the art form. It’s almost fresco-like. It’s the Nutcracker’s kingdom, and there’s a more royal thing about it. It’s just done with such detail. I remember telling [designer] Robert Perdziola initially that I wanted it to be like some of those baroque theaters where you look into it, and the more you look into it, the more you keep finding things.

I’d probably want to be Drosselmeyer or the Mouse King. Drosselmeyer is the total conduit of this dream. He’s like this shadow that goes with Clara, and he helps her. When she gets too scared, he’s there, and sometimes he’s just observing the dream. Then the Mouse King is just so incredible. It’s so royal, it’s so ratty, and [he] fights with a martini pick and an olive. 

The teddy bear is going to be part of it. There’s also going to be another character introduced called the Rabbit. And the Gingerbread will make a little cameo appearance in the battle scenes. So you’ll have your beloved characters, some being quite different, some being quite similar to what they were.