A Pennsylvania Ballet holiday tradition for more than four decades, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker blends the sweet descant of the Philadelphia Boys Choir into the bounding melodies of Tchaikovsky’s ballet suite. An enduring holiday fantasy, George Balanchine's The Nutcracker captivates the eye and ear with toy soldiers who leap and lunge in battle with the giant Mouse King, sparkling snowflakes who twirl across the stage en pointe, and a medley of dancing confections in the Land of the Sweets. Unlike flipbook fairy tales found in wholesale crackerjack boxes, the ballet has outfitted their production with vivid costumes, complex choreography, and a talented cast to create a colorful rendition of the seasonal story.
Mark Roxey says his troupe is the biggest ballet company in the smallest city in the US. That wasn't exactly the plan in 1995 when he and his wife Melissa founded the Hunterdon Youth Ballet, but as the group evolved, so did their ambitions. They rechristened themselves the Roxey Ballet and grew into a professional touring outfit whose dancers have commanded international recognition and even performed at the inauguration of President Obama. Today, the troupe regularly revisits beloved ballets as well as lesser-known works, often featuring original choreography by Roxey himself or the sentient hologram Roxey sometimes lets stand in for him.
Nearly a century ago, the Hippodrome opened as a combination movie palace and vaudeville theater, spending more than 70 years hosting big names such as Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra. Following a double-decade period of slow business and bad hairstyles, the Hippodrome closed down in 1990. Now, however, after an exhaustive restoration project that reanimated the theater’s chandelier-lit arches, the mural above the proscenium stage, and the grand-theater boxes that hearken back to opera’s heyday, the Hippodrome reopens to the delight of Baltimore’s cultural landscape.