THE NUTCRACKER (ballet) by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, choreographed and conceived by Terrence S. Orr. Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. Through Dec. 29.
Here comes the ballet that even non-ballet fans enjoy. The Nutcracker provides a big share of annual ticket sales for ballet companies across the nation, and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s production is among the grandest. It was developed by former PBT artistic director Terrence S. Orr, who drew in part from the original 1892 choreography by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov. But Orr also studied contemporary versions, then teamed with his PBT colleagues to create a one-of-a-kind synthesis of classical ballet, modern artistry, and stunning stagecraft. (See the background story here.) This Nutcracker is set at an old-time Christmas party in Pittsburgh at the turn of the last century. Then, as we move into the realm of fantasy—with the Nutcracker doll coming to life and leading a cast of adult and child dancers through a visit to the Land of Enchantment—there are dazzling special dances, amazing magic tricks, and breathtaking stage effects. The music of course is by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Benedum Center. Noon and 4 p.m. 237 7th St., Cultural District. (M.V.)