Saturday, November 29, 2008

TV News: Ovation TV's Second Annual "Battle of the Nutcrackers"

This Holiday Season...

"The Toe-Shoes Are Gonna Hit the Fan in an All Out Smack-Down."


Forget the WWF-- this year it's Balanchine vs. The Bolshoi Ballet, Matthew Bourne vs. Mark Morris and Nutcracker: The Motion Picture vs. Maurice Bejart's reimagined version.

Returning once again with last year's wildly popular "Battle of the Nutcrackers" programming on Ovation TV, this year they're raising the stakes to the level of a "Grudge Match," by taking "one of the most beloved holiday traditions and turn[ing] it into a tongue-in-cheek battle," as Ovation TV's Kris Slava, the Senior Vice President of Programming and Production noted in the press release. Viewers can check out exclusive clips (including those posted below), photos, facts, and vote online, learning more about their favorites on the program's official website which you can visit by clicking here.

Hosted by the choreographer Mark Morris, whose audience favorite from last year Hard Nut is in contention once again-- Morris will lead viewers through not only his production but host the rest of the five diverse and wildly inventive stagings ranging from the classical style we've come to expect through others that go out of their way to crack that impossible nut.

Here's the Line-Up & Program Descriptions:
(From the Press Release)

Mark Morris’s Hard Nut – Sunday, November 30, 8 p.m. ET/PT
Last year’s reigning champ in “The Battle of the Nutcrackers” takes on the challenge once again, leading the pack of worthy contenders.

George Balanchine’s Nutcracker - Monday, December 1, 8 p.m. ET/PT
This is one of the most beloved stagings of the holiday classic. A young girl’s love turns a toy soldier into a handsome prince. Starring Darci Kistler, Macaulay Culkin, narrated by Kevin Kline and featuring the New York City Ballet.

Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker! – Tuesday, December 2, 8 p.m. ET/PT
This delicious production is full of pathos and theatrical magic. From a hilariously bleak Christmas Eve at Dr. Dross’ Orphanage, to the spectacular candy folk of Sweetieland, Clara’s journey passes through Oliver Twist, the Icecapades and the kaleidoscopic fantasy of Busby Berkeley musicals.

Bolshoi Ballet: The Nutcracker – Wednesday, December 3, 8 p.m. ET/PT
The legendary holiday ballet performed by the Bolshoi Ballet. Featuring Natalya Arkhipova and Irek Mukhamedov. Choreographed by Yuri Grigorovich.

Béjart’s Nutcracker – Ovation TV Premiere, Thursday, December 4, 8 p.m. ET/PT.
A radically innovative reimagining of The Nutcracker, this staging by acclaimed choreographer Maurice Béjart departs from the traditional Nutcracker story in virtually every way but the music. And even the score is adjusted to include French popular music, which is performed onstage by accordion legend Yvette Horner. Béjart, who passed away just before Christmas last year, uses the Nutcracker as a vehicle to explore his personal story.

Nutcracker: The Motion Picture – Ovation TV Premiere, Friday, December 5, 8 p.m. ET/PT.
A very traditional staging with sets and costumes designed by children’s book writer and illustrator Maurice Sendak, best known for the classic Where The Wild Things Are. Performed by The Pacific Northwest Ballet, this Nutcracker is one of the most beloved contemporary versions. It closely refers to the original story by E.T.A. Hoffmann, which adds a darker feel than the standard version. Directed by noted cinematographer Carroll Ballard this film is sophisticated and elegant with graceful dancing and vibrant sets.