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Nutcracker Vol. 1 No. 2 - Clara or Marie?

Updated: Jan 28

A young boy and girl pose in ballet costumes
Robert Maiorano as the Prince and Deborah Paine as Clara/Marie in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker.

(2/50) I received a question about Marie/Clara. Everyone knows NYCB’s Nutcracker production uses the name Marie now, but the photo I shared from the original 1954 production yesterday credits the girl as Clara. So when did it change?

In the original ETA Hoffmann story, the character is Marie and Clara is her doll's name. In the adaptation of the story by Alexandre Dumas on which Petipa based his ballet, her name is Marie. Since Balanchine’s production follows the Dumas/Petipa story, it makes sense that she is called Marie now. But apparently it hasn’t always been that way! In the 1954 original production she was called Clara! I don’t have answers on when or why it changed but I did some digging on eBay and found a few programs to serve as time markers of when the name changed. See the collection of photos below.

Does anyone know the reason behind the name changes within the same production?

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