|Maurice Sendak in 1985|
|me in the early 80s|
to Doubleday Bookshop!
Since Maurice Sendak visited me in NYC at the time of his Nutcracker Ballet Premiere, I decided to include some articles and photos of the ballet and the book that he created as well.
Here is a short film about the conception and production of Nutcracker with both Kent Stowell and Maurice Sendak. It was aired as a tribute to Maurice Sendak at the time of his death:
|mouse statuary for Nutcracker|
Maurice Sendak, creative force behind PNB's 'Nutcracker,' dies
SEATTLE – The man who brought children delight with his book “Where the Wild Things Are” and one of the designing forces behind Pacific Northwest Ballet’s beloved “Nutcracker" has died.
Maurice Sendak died early Tuesday in Danbury, Conn. at age 83, four days after suffering a stroke.
When approached by PNB to stage a brand new "Nutcracker," Sendak paused.
"We sat down to lunch and he said "I'm not even sure I like ballet!" recalled then-artistic director Kent Stowell. "And I said, "It doesn't matter. It's about doing something really interesting that's worthwhile."
The Sendak "Nutcracker" debuted in 1983, bringing the author/illustrator's daring and often dark vision to the stage.
Working with Sendak was collegial. Lighting designer Rico Chiarelli says Sendak didn't hesitate to get in the thick of things and work with the scenery crews, costumers and prop designers.
"He was a joy to work with," said Chiarelli.
Stowell smiles as he recalls how Sendak often ruminated on his own demise.
"At that time, he says, "Now I must warn you, I've had a heart attack and I might not even make it through this process!” I said, "We'll get you through it. Of course he said that to everybody, every year since 30 years ago!"
|at the premiere|
Most ballet companies' Nutcrackers are very loosely based on a greatly simplified version of the Hoffman story.
One of the noteworthy aspects of Pacific Northwest Ballet's Nutcracker was that Stowell and Sendak went back to the original source, re-introducing the story of Princess Pirlipate into the ballet, and eliminating both the land of sweets and the Sugar Plum Fairy.
Kent Stowell began contemplating creating a new production of Nutcracker as early as 1980. Francia Russell suggested children's book author and illustrator Maurice Sendak, whose genre-breaking picture books were bestsellers. Sendak, who illustrated scores of books and eventually wrote more than a dozen, was awarded the 1964 Caldecott for Where The Wild Things Are. In The Night Kitchen was a 1971 Caldecott Honor Book. As parents of three children born between 1966 and 1974, Stowell and Russell were familiar with Sendak's books.
By Paula Becker, June 16, 2012 for Historylink.org
Hugh Bigney in Nutcracker
|Hugh Bigney as Herr Drosselmeier|
Hugh Bigney, the dancer/actor who played the role of Herr Drosselmeier in the ballet and film, was an acquaintance of mine in college before he joined PNB. The only picture of him that I could find online, other than the Nutcracker photos, was one of him as winner of a coveted Scottish dance prize.
: E.T.A. Hoffman’s “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” (1816)
: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Op. 71, 1891-1892)
: Maurice Sendak (“Where the Wild Things Are,” “In the Night Kitchen”)
: Kent Stowell
: Dec. 13, 1983, at Seattle Center Opera House (now McCaw Hall)
: About 1,100
: 85 per show
: About 500
: Constructed by Boeing engineers in a flight hangar, this set piece “grows” from 14 to 28 feet in height during each show
: Two: A 1984 New York Times best-selling book, “Nutcracker,” illustrated by Maurice Sendak; and a feature-length film version in 1986