The Nutcracker

New Haven Ballet proudly presents Artistic Director Lisa Sanborn’s exciting full-length production of The Nutcracker once again at the historic Shubert Theater in downtown New Haven. This wonderful family friendly classic is set to music by Tchaikovsky, masterfully played by the New Haven Ballet Orchestra as conducted by Dr. Richard Gard. Come and experience Clara’s dream world brought to life—from the enchanting party where she meets the charming nephew of her Uncle Drosselmeyer and is enthralled by dancing dolls, to the daring battle between the Mouse King and brave Nutcracker Prince. Lead by tiny reindeer, Clara and the Nutcracker Prince travel through the Land of Snow and journey to the enchanting Fantasy Land of Sweets, where they are entertained by various dancers – including the mysterious Arabian Coffee, the comical Mother Ginger, the dynamic Russian Trepak, and many more. Don’t miss this seasonal ballet tradition, which features over 200 performers, who enthrall from beginning to end, and showcases the technical artistry of the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier, performed by principal guest artists from highly acclaimed ballet companies. Performances are December 18-20, 2015. For tickets: call 203-562-5666 or online at

Nutcracker Announcements:

NHB Announces its Nutcracker 2015 Sugarplum Fairy and Cavalier  — Simone Messmer and Rainer Krenstetter! NHB Announces its Nutcracker 2015 Snow King — Jeremy Cox!


Headshot 236x300 The Nutcracker


Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Simone Messmer began studying dance at the age of nine at Ballet Arts Minnesota. At 14, she continued her training at the Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton, Florida, where she performed roles such as Gamzatti in La Bayadère, the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker and Princess Florine in The Sleeping Beauty. At 15, Simone was awarded the Jeannot B. Cerrone Award for Excellence in Dance. After two years at the Harid Conservatory, she resumed her training at Ballet Arts Minnesota under the direction of Bonnie Mathis. Messmer participated in American Ballet Theatre’s Summer Intensive Program in 2001 and joined the Studio Company later that same year.

In August 2002 she became an apprentice in the Main Company and, in January 2003, became a member of the corps de ballet. She was promoted to soloist in 2010. Her repertoire with American Ballet Theater includes Gamzatti, the Lead D’Jampe and a Shade in La Bayadère, Milkmaid in The Bright Stream, Stepsister in Cinderella, Aurora and the Mazurka Lady in Coppelia, an Odalisque in Le Corsaire, the pas de deux in Dark Elegies, a flower girl in Don Quixote, Myrta and Moyna in Giselle, Prudence in Lady of the Camellias, Olga in On the Dnieper, a Gypsy in Petrouchka, Clemence in Raymonda, a Harlot in Romeo and Juliet, the Fairy of Valor and the Fairy of Fervor in The Sleeping Beauty, Some Assembly Required, a Big Swan, the Pas de Trois, the Polish Princess, the Spanish Dance and the Lead Czardas in Swan Lake and roles in Airs, Baker’s Dozen, Ballo della Regina, Birthday Offering, Black Tuesday, Company B, Desir, In the Upper Room, Overgrown Path, Petite Mort, Sinfonietta, Theme and Variations and Within You Without You: A Tribute to George Harrison.

She created the Maiden in Alexei Ratmansky’s Firebird, one of The Nutcracker’s Sisters in Ratmansky’s The Nutcracker and roles in Everything Doesn’t Happen at Once, From Here On Out, Private Light and Thirteen Diversions.

Messmer is a recipient of a 2010 Leonore Annenberg Arts Fellowship.

She joined San Francisco Ballet as a soloist for the 2013-2014 season. During her brief time with San Francisco Ballet she preformed as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Clara in Helgi Tomasson’s The Nutcracker, the Pas de Cinq and Pas de Trios in Suite en Blanc, the Firebird in Yuri Possokov’s The Firebird, principal roles in Alexei Ratmanskys From Foreign Lands, Agon, Brahms Schoenberg Quartet, Myrtha in Giselle, and helped create principal roles with Liam Scarlett and Helgi Tomasson. She joined Miami City Ballet as a principal dancer in 2015.


unnamed 1 The Nutcracker


Rainer Krenstetter was born into a dance family in Vienna where he began his ballet training at the Ballet School of the Vienna State Opera. In 1999, he was accepted into the Royal Ballet School in London and continued his training there until 2000 when he became a corps de ballet member with the Vienna State Opera Ballet. In 2002, he joined the Berlin State Ballet under the direction of Vladimir Malakhov and went through the ranks up to principal dancer in 2013. He joined Miami City Ballet as a principal dancer in November 2014.
Throughout his training, Krenstetter participated and won medals in various international ballet competitions including in Vienna, Brasilia and Luxembourg, culminating in his first place win at the Prix de Lausanne in 1999.

Throughout his prolific career, Krenstetter has danced principal and leading roles in most ballets in the classical repertoire including Swan Lake, Giselle, Don Quixote, Le Corsaire, The Nutcracker, Coppélia, Onegin, Firebird, The Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, La Sylphide and Cinderella. Additionally, he has danced in ballets by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Vladimir Malakhov, Kenneth MacMillan, Auguste Bournonville, Michel Fokine, Alexei Ratmansky, Roland Petit, Maurice Béjart, Hans van Manen, Uwe Scholz, Clarke Tippet and Jirí Kylián, among others.

Krenstetter has also performed as a guest artist in various companies and galas internationally in Europe, Australia, South America and Asia; been a member of the jury at the International Ballet Competition in Rome and Riga; and guest taught at several dance workshops in many countries.

Head shot Cox The Nutcracker


Jeremy Cox trained with New Haven Ballet for over ten years and also at the School of American Ballet in New York City. Professionally, he danced with Miami City Ballet as a Principal dancer performing works by such notable choreographers as George Balanchine, Paul Taylor, and Twyla Tharp. In 2010, Mr. Cox debuted on Broadway as “Marty” in Twyla Tharp’s Come Fly Away. Mr. Cox joined the New Haven Ballet faculty in 2015.






Welcome one and all to New Haven Ballet’s annual production of The Nutcracker!

This year has brought back so many incredible memories. As I have worked with each performer—from our youngest, exuberant reindeer to seasoned adult party guests—I am reminded of my own training and performance experiences. It gives me goose bumps to recall my first Nutcracker, running out onto what felt like an infinitely large stage at the Arie Crown Theater in Chicago and gazing out into row upon row of seats filled with excited audience members. I thought about some of the incredibly talented and famous performers I had seen standing on that very same stage and thought, “I am the luckiest person in the world.”

And I was.

To be given an opportunity to share a piece of one’s self through performing before a live audience is one of the greatest gifts imaginable. This year’s cast features over 240 performers, who will not only dance to Tchaikovsky’s famous score performed by the New Haven Ballet Orchestra but also have the chance to learn about the many facets of live theater. It has been an honor and privilege to work with so many dedicated dancers and provide them with the opportunity of sharing with all of you a glimpse into their hearts. From Clara’s jubilance upon receiving the Nutcracker as a gift from her mysterious Uncle Drosselmeyer, to the excitement of the battle between Clara’s beloved Nutcracker and his soldiers against the band of Mice and their Mouse King, to the serenity of traveling through the Land of Snow, and finally the joy of visiting the Kingdom of Sweets – we are delighted to share this treasured experience with each member of you, our audience.

I am also grateful for and wish to extend a special thank-you to those who have made the magic of Nutcracker possible: our New Haven Ballet faculty and staff, for investing their time and their talent; NHBO’s Conductor and musicians, for bringing their special magic to the production; the Board of Directors, for their guidance and assistance; the Shubert staff and crew, for their superb support and expertise; our students’ families, for their generous support of every kind; and our tireless volunteers, for their cheerful willingness to undertake any task, no matter how small or large, to make this production a success. They all remind us what the spirit and true meaning of the holidays really are.

On behalf of New Haven Ballet’s staff and performers, I wish you all a joyous and safe holiday season, and thank you for making our Nutcracker a part of your holiday tradition.

Happy Holidays,

Lisa Sanborn


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