Pittsburgh Ballet’s ‘The Nutcracker’ Continues at Benedum; Jergel’s Has Velveeta (Sat., 12/21/19)

The Mouse King has the high ground but The Nutcracker has what it takes. After routing the rodent in last year’s PBT production, as shown, The Nutcracker is favored to defend his title this year.

1) 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 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. 2 and 7 p.m. Performances continue through December 29. Benedum Center, 237 7th St., Cultural District. (MV)

2) Velveeta is a talented regional party band and tonight they will rock out Jergel’s Rhythm Grille in some good pre-Christmas nightlife action. Their cheesy good song list is heavy on ’80s hits.9 p.m. 285 Northgate Dr., Warrendale.

3) The NCAA Women’s Volleyball Championship concludes today at PPG Paints Arena. See the best teams in action as they battle for the first place trophy. 8 p.m. 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown.