Christmas is cancelled, says NY City Ballet

Christmas is cancelled, says NY City Ballet


norman lebrecht

June 18, 2020

There will be no Nutcracker this year in New York, the first time George Balanchine’s production has gone unseen since it launched in 1954.

Covid kills another hope, another dream.



  • fflambeau says:

    Too early to cancel this. It is only June now.

    • Robert King says:

      The run-in times for creating any theatrical production are considerable. Not just casting and scheduling many weeks of prior rehearsals, but also scheduling and coordinating all the behind-scenes work: whilst sets and costumes etc may for this production be largely ready to roll out again, there are still several months lead-in required to get all these up to speed. Then there’s marketing – for a long run which needs to sell to high capacity audiences that’s a massive (and very expensive) operation that starts many months ahead of curtain up.

      And then there’s the risk – now surely uninsurable – that if there’s a second, winter Covid spike, the whole run could be cancelled, which would presumably bankrupt the company (and maybe the venue too if that’s separate from the company).

      Even if theatres are open by December, no-one yet knows what the audience distancing rules will be – a run like this probably needs to sell at 80% capacity just to break even, so if you can only sell every second seat (and that’s far more optimistic than current models), you are going to be earning a maximum of 50% – but still paying 100% of costs for venue, marketing, company, orchestra etc. So therein lies bankruptcy too.

      And that’s the reason why only nationally subsidised theatres, orchestras, ballet companies and suchlike right across the world can have any real chance of performing for the next many months. The rest – the majority – are in desperate straits.

    • Omar Goddknowe says:

      Usually the summer months are used for lighting and tech rehearsals, so if they can’t do those now…

  • Kenneth Griffin says:

    Staged in 1954, and remounted in 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019.

    How will New York cope in 2020? Perhaps they can recall every detail by now?

  • V. Lind says:

    Every cloud has a silver lining…

  • Sir David Geffen-Hall says:

    Every ballet company in America depends on the Nutcracker revenues to fund the rest of the season (both fall and spring).

    This is terrible news.

    They should have waited until the absolute last minute to cancel. Much too early in my opinion.

    • NYMike says:

      Every other venue in Lincoln Center, as well as Carnegie Hall, has already canceled until 1/21 and that in itself is conditional. Absolute minute??