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NYCB Vol. 9 No. 23 & 24 - Nutcracker

Updated: Mar 29

(23/25) These are photos from rehearsals for the 1958 CBS TV taping of the Nutcracker. As you can see here, Mr. B played Drosselmeyer. In Nancy Reynold's "Repertory in Review," Shaun O'Brien (who played Drosselmeyer for many years) described Balanchine's interpretation of the role like "a very dotty old doctor, with glasses." In these pictures you don't see him fully in character, rather he is in company director mode. The footage below shows Mr. B in the role. Drosselmeyer's nephew/the prince is played by a young Robert Maiorano. He wrote about this taping in his autobiography and I'll include his recollections of the experience in the next post today as well! Stay tuned!

Photos by Fred Fehl, 1958. Harry Ransom Center.


(24/50) Robert Maiorano, who played the the Prince in the 1958 taping of Nutcracker wrote in his autobiography what it was like working with Mr. B who played Drosselmeyer.

“We finished the back up taping and the following day we shot the entire performance live. Mr. Balanchine was more nervous than anyone. He had spent most of his time directing his dancers and had not allotted much rehearsal time for his own part.”

Balanchine appears at 15:00

“Just before we entered the party scene together he asked me in which direction he should go. I stammered at first, completely surprised that he would be asking me for assistance. Then I responded to him shyly, queuing him in time for our entrance. Everyone in the scene maneuvered him in front of the right camera at the right time. He soon gained confidence and easily zipped through with his natural ability for pantomime. The part came off smoothly, and the rest of Mr. Balanchine’s performance was appropriately beguiling and mysterious.”

Robert also wrote:

“[While waiting for the subway home] a little girl and her mother came over to me. I had noticed them looking at me before. ‘Is it possible that we saw you on television tonight?’ The mother asked. ‘Yes,’ I answered. ‘There, you see, mama. I knew it was him. You’re the prince in Nutcracker, aren’t you?’ The little girl asked. I nodded and smiled. ‘May I have your autograph, please?’ She asked. ‘Yes, of course!’ I answered, surprised. I took her pen and signed my first autograph.”

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