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American Repertory Ballet's 50th Annual Nutcracker Season

American Repertory Ballet’s 50th Annual Nutcracker Season will run November 23 through December 22 at venues across New Jersey. ARB’s Nutcracker is a holiday classic featuring Tchaikovsky’s score and a cast of over 100 performers. The Company has been performing Nutcracker for 50 consecutive years, making it the longest-running Nutcracker production in New Jersey and one of the longest consecutively-running in the United States.

ARB’s Nutcracker has been a holiday tradition since 1964 when the company, then known as Princeton Regional Ballet, began to perform the ballet annually.  Founder and then Artistic Director Audrée Estey initially staged her version of Nutcracker in 1956 as a spring Princeton Ballet School performance at McCarter Theatre in Princeton.  William Lockwood, who still works at McCarter as Director of Special Programming, suggested that the company perform the production at McCarter every holiday season, an idea that soon became reality.

The company will bring its 50th Annual Nutcracker production to Union County Performing Arts Center’s main stage in Rahway on November 23 at 2:00pm.  ARB’s Nutcracker will be at McCarter Theatre in Princeton for Thanksgiving weekend: Wednesday, November 27 at 7:00pm and Friday, November 29 and Saturday, November 30 at 1:00pm and 4:30pm.  On Saturday, December 7 at 1:00pm and 4:30pm, ARB’s Nutcracker will be at Patriots Theater at the War Memorial in Trenton, where the company has been presenting Nutcracker for over 20 years.  The following weekend, the dancers will be at Algonquin Arts Theatre in Manasquan for performances on Saturday, December 14 at 1:00pm and 4:30pm and on Sunday, December 15 at 3:00pm.  The closing weekend of ARB’s Nutcracker will be at State Theatre in New Brunswick, where the company has also been performing Nutcracker for over 20 years, on Saturday, December 21 and Sunday, December 22 at 1:00pm and 4:30pm.  These performances at State Theatre will feature a live orchestra, conducted by Maestro Michael Pratt, and the Princeton GirlChoir.

On Saturday, November 30, directly following the 4:30pm performance at McCarter Theatre, ARB’s “Celebrate the Legacy” reception at The Nassau Club in Princeton will welcome ARB and Princeton Ballet School Alumni from the last 50 years of ARB’s Nutcracker and their families, ARB’s current performers, fans, supporters and community members.  The event will feature hors d’oeuvres prepared by The Nassau Club Chef Brian Dougherty, an open bar, a 50/50 raffle, and a silent auction, featuring gifts donated by Kate Spade NY, Veuve Cliquot, Lace Silhouettes Lingerie, McCarter Theatre, and more.  Event tickets are $50.  Visit or contact ARB’s Director of Development, Naomi Levecchia, for more information:, 732-249-1254 x25.

Many downtown Princeton businesses are partnering with ARB in support of their 50th Nutcracker.  Costumed characters from the ballet will be at One Palmer - the Palmer Square courtyard on Nassau Street - from 11:00am until 2:00pm on Sunday, November 3 to talk to the community about ARB’s 50th Nutcracker Season and to provide photo opportunities.  As they have in the past, the Terra Momo Restaurant Group will offer ARB’s Nutcracker ticket holders 20% off a meal at any of their three restaurants: Eno Terra in Kingston, Mediterra in Princeton, or Teresa Caffe in Princeton.  Nutcracker costumed characters will spend an afternoon at Mediterra on Saturday, November 23 from 1:00pm to 3:00pm to greet diners.

The Bent Spoon, Princeton’s beloved purveyor of handmade artisan ice creams, sorbets, baked goods, specialty drinks, will be releasing a special Nutcracker-themed ice cream flavor in November, and donating a portion of proceeds from sales of this flavor to ARB’s “Keep the Magic Alive” Nutcracker fund.  Princeton Soup and Sandwich Company is offering a Nutcracker lunch special.  Jazams will be donating proceeds from all Nutcracker-themed toys and books sold to ARB’s “Keep the Magic Alive” fund. Among other local business partners of ARB’s 50th Annual Nutcracker is McCaffrey’s Supermarket.

50th Nutcracker sponsorships, partnerships, and tickets to the “Celebrate the Legacy” reception at The Nassau Club are still available.  For information about these opportunities and about tickets to this reception, please contact ARB Director of Development Naomi Levecchia for more details and to get involved: 732-249-1254 ext. 25 or  Current top sponsors include: New Brunswick Development Corporation, Covance Foundation, The Charles and Rachel Gray Fund of the Princeton Area Community Foundation, and Hampton Inn.  Town Topics and Princeton Magazine, Packet Media, NJ Family, Bucks County Courier, Bucks Life Magazine, Moxie Woman Magazine, and Princeton Alumni Weekly are media sponsors.

Photo credits: Sugar Plum circa 1970s Unknown; Sugar Plum 2012 George Jones; Party Scene Martha Swope; Soldiers 2010 George Jones;

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