My sister took me to see The Nutcracker at Pittsburgh Ballet Theater at Benedum Center. I loved it, with all the kids in colorful, satiny dresses in the home scenes — and then later, tiny ones dressed up as bees or sheep or whatever in the dream scenes. They decided to confuse us by calling the main character Marie instead of Clara, as we’re used to; but then I found out this was her original name in Hoffman’s story, and the ballet decided to use that. Her doll was named Clara, evidently, in the story.
Who played which roles depended entirely on what night you went to see it. They rotated between people, and no cast was repeated in any other performance. So many of the dancers had to be perfect on at least 2 different characters’ dances, which had to have been really demanding. But it was wonderful, and some of my favorites were Marie, the Arabians in their number in the 2nd act, and McTavish in the kilt — who happened to be Japanese actually.
Downtown, the Cultural Trust commissioned artists to make bike racks for the sidewalk here and there, and they’re very nice. Here are some.