Say good-bye to Houston Ballet principal dancer Amy Fote during The Nutcracker. Fote is retiring at the end of this season and her performance as the Sugar Plum Fairy in the annual holiday classic will mark her final appearance with the company. (Mireille Hassenboehler, Melody Mennite and Sara Webb will share the role with Fote; check the website for cast notes.)
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Set to the music of Tchaikovsky, The Nutcracker tells the story of Clara, a young girl who receives a magic nutcracker from her godfather at a Christmas party. During the night, the nutcracker comes to life and takes Clara on a magical journey to worlds full of strange characters amid a Christmas tree that ''grows'' to 40 feet, hundreds of pounds of falling snow and cannon fire onstage. The 2012 production is the 40th anniversary of the company's first performance of The Nutcracker, and the 25th anniversary of Ben Stevenson's production of the show. Stevenson's production has a unique charm, particularly in the Christmas party scene. Houston Ballet's Public Relations Associate Manager Sarah Lam tells us, ''In Ben’s production, each character on stage — no matter how small — has [his or her] own motivations and story lines, which makes the party scene very fun to watch.''
Fri., Nov. 23, 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays, Sundays, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Fridays, 7:30 p.m.; Wed., Dec. 19, 7:30 p.m.; Mon., Dec. 24, 2 p.m.; Dec. 26-27, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Fri., Dec. 28, 2 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 29, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 30, 2 p.m. Starts: Nov. 23. Continues through Dec. 21, 2012