And the winner is ... 'The Nutcracker'
It's safe to say that "The Nutcracker" is the most popular ballet in the world. And as we in the vicinity of Hollywood know all too well, the best way to recognize a popular art form is to hand out an award.
This year, the online entertainment marketing company Goldstar is sponsoring the third annual National Nutcracker Award -- nicknamed the Nutty. The honor is bestowed on the most popular production of the Tchaikovsky ballet as voted on by members of Goldstar from around the country.
The winner receives a cash prize that will go toward education programs. The winner will be announced Dec. 22.
Last year, the winner of the Nutty was the Kirov Ballet of the Mariinsky Theatre, presented by L.A.'s very own Dance at the Music Center. In 2007, the winner was The House Theatre of Chicago at Steppenwolf Theatre for its re-envisioned version of the ballet.
So who are this year's nominees? An impressive 11 of the 27 nominations come from either L.A. or Orange County. Who knew SoCal was such a hotbed of "Nutcracker" enthusiasm? Culture Monster wishes we had a celebrity on hand to read out the nominations, but we'll just have to make do with the list below.
Nutty 2009 nominees from Los Angeles and Orange County:
Anaheim Ballet presents “The Nutcracker”
California Dance Academy
California Dance Academy’s “The Nutcracker”
Dec. 5 -13
Long Beach Ballet
David Wilcox’s “The Nutcracker”
Terrace Theater / Pasadena Civic Auditorium
Dec. 19-20, Dec. 22 -23
Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles
“Nutcracker: A Choral Fantasy”
The Alex Theatre
Pasadena Jazz Institute
“The Nutcracker Swings”
Pasadena Convention Center
Pasadena Dance Theatre
Pasadena Dance Theatre Performs “The Nutcracker”
South Bay Ballet
Diane Lauridsen’s “The Nutcracker”
El Camino College Center for the Arts – Marsee Auditorium
Laguna Ballet’s “The Nutcracker”
McKinney Theatre at Saddleback College
Festival Ballet Theatre
Festival Ballet Theatre’s “The Nutcracker”
Irvine Barclay Theatre
“The Nutcracker” from Youth Company Ballet Etudes
Huntington Beach High School Historic Auditorium
Tustin Dance Center
Tustin Dance Center presents “The Nutcracker Ballet”
Servite Theatre / San Gabriel Mission Playhouse
For the rest of the nominees, click here.
-- David Ng
Photo: Handmade Nutcracker dolls at the Seiffener Volkskunst in Germany. Credit: Sean Gallup / Getty Images