Milwaukee Ballet
Press Release

Artistic Director Michael Pink makes his return to the stage for one very special performance of The Nutcracker

Milwaukee’s Magical Holiday Tradition celebrates 40 years

By - Nov 17th, 2017 01:15 pm
Michael Pink with nutcracker. Photo by Timothy O'Donnell.

Michael Pink with nutcracker. Photo by Timothy O’Donnell.

MILWAUKEE – Nov. 17, 2017 – Milwaukee Ballet celebrates 40 years of performing The Nutcracker with Artistic Director Michael Pink’s return to the stage for one night only on December 22, appearing as the magic-maker Drosselmeyer.

“For many years, members of my family and the Company have been trying to coax me back to the stage with the role of Drosselmeyer,” said Pink. “I thought I had successfully resisted the temptation until the celebration of the 40th anniversary arrived. Despite my absence from the stage and a slow recovery from foot surgery, I look forward to sharing the stage with my wonderful Company of artists. I’m also relying on my wife Jayne, a Pilates instructor, to get me back in shape.”

The Nutcracker takes centerstage December 9-26 at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. Pink’s anniversary performance on December 22 at 7:30pm is presented by Susanna and Justin Mortara.

There have been several versions of The Nutcracker performed by Milwaukee Ballet over the last 40 years. The current version is choreographed by Pink, and appreciated for its humor, colorful characters, and sense of childlike wonder.

Milwaukee Ballet Board of Directors Chair & President Dr. Justin Mortara said his family couldn’t be more honored to support Pink in his comeback. “We are overjoyed to help celebrate 40 years of The Nutcracker with Milwaukee and to see Michael in the role of Drosselmeyer. This anniversary highlights Milwaukee Ballet’s longstanding holiday tradition in our community and the spirited energy and creativity of our fantastic Artistic Director.”

The Nutcracker is Milwaukee’s largest holiday spectacle, featuring a cast of more than 200 dancers and 42 musicians. Tchaikovsky’s score is performed live by Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra. Nearly 180 children from Milwaukee Ballet School & Academy perform, as well as the young artists of Milwaukee Children’s Choir. This production includes imaginative set pieces, period costumes, and special effects.

Pink choreographed the classic with plenty of action to keep the audience enchanted whether they are seeing it for the first time, or the fortieth. The Nutcracker features four casts that change every performance, ensuring the audience sees a different show every time they come to the theater.

Milwaukee Ballet invites groups from various arts organizations to perform before the show, including Milwaukee Children’s Choir, Barcel Suzuki String Academy, and visits from Milwaukee Art Museum’s Kohl’s Arts Color Wheel and Santa Claus.

The Nutcracker is a gift to Milwaukee from BMO Harris Bank. This is the fifth year BMO Harris Bank has sponsored the production. Milwaukee Ballet’s 2017-18 Season is presented by Donna and Donald Baumgartner, with operational support from the United Performing Arts Fund.

The Nutcracker is supported by the Joan, Jack, and Victor Stein Foundation.

Family Friendly Pre-Show Activities

Milwaukee Ballet is happy to host complimentary activities for ticket holders to enjoy before select performances:

Saturday, Dec. 9 at 1:30pm – Art project from Kohl’s Color Wheels
Saturday, Dec. 9 at 7:30pm – Holiday music from Barcel Suzuki String Academy
Sunday, Dec. 10 at 12:00pm – Entertainment by magician Jeff Campbell
Saturday, Dec. 16 at 1:30pm – Performance by Milwaukee Children’s Choir
Saturday, Dec. 16 at 1:30pm – Performance by Milwaukee Children’s Choir
Sunday, Dec. 17 at 12:00pm – A Visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus
Sunday, Dec. 17 at 4:00pm – A Visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus
Friday, Dec. 22 at 1:30pm – Entertainment by magician Jeff Campbell
Friday, Dec. 22 at 7:30pm – Entertainment by magician Jeff Campbell
Tuesday, Dec. 26 at 1:30pm – Mini-Ballet class from Milwaukee Ballet School & Academy

Guests should arrive an hour before the performance time to enjoy the activities.

About Michael Pink

Michael Pink is the longest serving artistic director in Milwaukee Ballet history. Since joining the Company in December of 2002, he has established himself as a prominent member of the Milwaukee arts community, demonstrating his commitment to the future of dance through new work, education, and collaboration.

Pink’s theatrical productions of Dracula, Esmeralda, Swan Lake, Giselle, The Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Romeo & Juliet, La Bohème, Don Quixote, and Mirror Mirror have been hailed as ‘Classical Ballet for the 21st Century’

Michael Pink is an international choreographer and teacher. He trained as a classical dancer at The Royal Ballet, joining English National Ballet in 1975. During his 10 years with the Company, he danced many leading roles. From 1986-1998, he worked alongside Christopher Gable as founding director of Ballet Central and associate artistic director of the Northern Ballet Theatre.

Throughout his career he has worked with such luminaries as Dame Ninette de Valois, Sir Frederick Ashton, Rudolf Nureyev, Léonide Massine, Nicholas Beriosoff, and Glen Tetley.

His early choreographic work won him first place in the Ursula Moreton Choreographic Competition and the Royal Society of Arts Competition. He has worked as répétiteur for Rudolf Nureyev at the Paris Opera and La Scala Milan. His first professional work, 1914, was nominated for a West End Theatre Award.

A long-standing friendship with composer Philip Feeney has produced over 20 original works, including Strange Meeting, Solstice, Don’t Touch, Aubade, as well as works for theatre and television.

He continues to build a strong working relationship with Milwaukee Repertory Theater, where his collaborations include A Christmas Carol, Assassins, Cabaret, and Next to Normal. He looks forward to future collaborations with more Milwaukee arts groups.

In 2008, the Wisconsin Dance Council presented Pink with the Choreography/Performance Award. In May 2014, he was honored by the Milwaukee Press Club with the Headliner Award for services to the arts. He received the Civic Music Associations award for Distinguished Citizen – Professional in the Arts.

About Milwaukee Ballet

Founded in 1970, Milwaukee Ballet celebrates its 48th season as a staple of Wisconsin’s arts and culture scene. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Michael Pink, Milwaukee Ballet has become world-renowned for presenting bold new interpretations of story ballets and cutting-edge contemporary works. Milwaukee Ballet is the home to an international company of dancers and is one of only a few companies in the nation to maintain its own orchestra. Milwaukee Ballet School & Academy is the only professional dance school in the Midwest accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD). Milwaukee Ballet’s award-winning Community Engagement Department serves more than 30,000 people in Southeastern Wisconsin through original, interactive programs.

About BMO Harris Bank

BMO Harris Bank provides a broad range of personal banking products and solutions through nearly 600 branches and fee-free access to over 40,000 ATMs across the United States. BMO Harris Bank’s commercial banking team provides a combination of sector expertise, local knowledge and mid-market focus throughout the U.S. For more information about BMO Harris Bank, go to the company fact sheet. Banking products and services are subject to bank and credit approval. BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC. BMO Harris Bank is part of BMO Financial Group, a highly diversified financial services provider with total assets of USD $556 billion (as of July 31, 2017), and more than 45,000 employees.

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