Grand Rapids Ballet re-imagines ‘The Nutcracker’


The Grand Rapids Ballet performs “The Nutcracker” at DeVos Performance Hall in downtown Grand Rapids. Photo via

A successful local author is teaming up with the Grand Rapids Ballet to transform its production of “The Nutcracker.”

Following 30 years of classic productions of “The Nutcracker,” the ballet company will team with author Chris VanAllsburg and two other creative talents to present a re-imagined version of the production.

VanAllsburg is the author of “The Polar Express,” “Jumanji” and “Zathura.”

“A new tradition will be born this holiday season,” said Glenn Del Vecchio, Grand Rapids Ballet executive director. “We are so excited to unveil the new production and see the response from both those who have made ‘The Nutcracker’ a part of their holiday tradition for years and those who will be discovering it for the very first time.”

National talent

The Grand Rapids Ballet also said that Eugene Lee and Val Caniparoli will be part of the production.

Lee is a Tony Award-winning set designer. He has worked on a variety of sets, including "Sweeney Todd,” “Wicked,” NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” and, most recently, “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.”

Caniparoli is a choreographer who has worked with more than 35 ballet companies across the globe.

“We are absolutely thrilled to bring some of the greatest artistic talents from around the country, the world for that matter, together to create a very special, new, exciting and fully re-imagined ‘Nutcracker’ production for West Michigan,” Del Vecchio said.


“The Nutcracker” will premiere on Dec. 11 at DeVos Performance Hall. The show will run Dec. 12-14 and Dec. 19-21.

The ballet will co-host a Premiere Gala with Hospice of Michigan. The gala will feature a formal dinner, the performance and a reception.

The event is a “significant fundraiser” for the Grand Rapids Ballet and Hospice of Michigan’s Pediatric Hospice Program.

The ballet also said that donations in support of the “The Nutcracker” production will be matched 100 percent — up to $50,000 — by The Wege Foundation

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