Family Picks

Magical 'Nutcracker' returns at Memorial Auditorium

CorrespondentNovember 22, 2012 

The Carolina Ballet’s production of the classic ballet “The Nutcracker” begins this weekend.

COURTESY OF CHRIS WALT PHOTOGRAPHY

There is no more denying that the Christmas season has arrived: The Carolina Ballet’s production of the classic ballet “Nutcracker” begins this weekend.

The first performance is Friday at 2 p.m. in Raleigh’s Memorial Auditorium, a part of the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts. It continues through the weekend with shows Saturday and Sunday, also at 2 p.m.

The ballet set to music by Tchaikovsky tells the story of a family gathered for Christmas Eve, and the magical adventures the excited children dream up.

Even if you or your children have seen this ballet before, it’s worth going again.

The show was completely revamped last year. So unless you saw the show last year, you will find gorgeous new sets and costumes and stunning magic tricks that will impress all ages.

Artistic Director Robert Weiss worked with a well-known Las Vegas magician to create spectacular illusions that surpass the amateur magic used in years past. Dancers train for months to perform the complicated tricks. People and objects appear and disappear, fly and levitate – and even the grownups won’t be able to figure out how it’s done.

Most of the children in the audience dress in their holiday best. At intermission, they can have their pictures taken with characters from the ballet.

Tickets range from $25 to $110 and can be purchased at www.carolinaballet.com/the-nutcracker or by calling 919-719-0900. And if you can’t go this weekend, don’t worry. There are shows all through December in Raleigh’s Memorial Auditorium, at the Durham Performing Arts Center and at UNC’s Memorial Hall.

‘Wizard of Oz’ on the big screen

Thanksgiving weekend is also a time many families head to the movies. If you’re looking for something special, you can see “The Wizard of Oz” on a giant screen in Raleigh’s Meymandi Hall in the Progress Energy Center.

The film will be accompanied by the North Carolina Symphony playing the soundtrack live.

Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and on Saturday at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $20 to $60, or you can buy a family four-pack for $100. To purchase, go to www.ncsymphony.org.

Children are invited to come dressed as characters from the film. If they stop by the costume contest table, they will have a chance to win prizes, including concert tickets and books.

You can also donate nonperishable food items to the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle’s BackPack Buddies program, which provides backpacks full of food to children in need. For information on needed foods, go to www.foodshuttle.org/backpack-buddies.

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