Presented by the Nevada Ballet Theater Dec 15th - 24th 2012 at The Reynolds' Hall of The Smith Center for Performing Arts in Las Vegas, The Nutcracker is a holiday classic which was revisited to marry the world of ballet and theater while remaining competitive with other shows in Las Vegas. The company's artistic director James Canfield referred to the ballet as "Tim Burton meets Dr. Seuss."

Nevada Ballet has been in existence since 1978. The artistic director decided to hire a cohesive visual design team from Montreal composed of Patricia Ruel as the set designer and Matthieu Larivée of Lüz Studio as the video and lighting designer.

With new sets, new costumes, a full orchestra and new choreography, Nevada Ballet Theater's latest Nutcracker represented a great challenge. Indeed, tackling the redesign of a staple show in a brand new majestic hall in Las Vegas in only ten days was quite ambitious.

The set was composed of humongous pieces of scenery and since it was not intended as a permanent show, there were no hydraulics available, therefore the scenery was being moved by only stagehands.

In addition to the giant Victorian four stories high life size dollhouse, this Nutcracker featured a flying rocking horse (with main character flying), a giant grandfather clock and a towering Christmas tree, which eventually grew more than 30 feet tall. This piece was set against the upstage wall and it only left one foot to light up the cyclorama, which made for tricky lighting angles

The pieces of the dollhouse were as large as 50' X 20' X 40'. The top of the house had to be flown in the grid and the other parts side stage, which meant that overhead and side lights could only be used sparingly and in a limited way. Also, most of the real estate space as well as the footprint were blocked due to the orchestra shell and other pieces of scenery.

One of the visions of the set designer was to be inside the giant dollhouse and it had to evolve during the show. For lighting, a lot of wireless lighting fixtures were used because of the moving scenery.

All act one was played upstage behind a scrim, so no front lighting could be used. Also, we had two lighting trims: act one was at 40 feet high due to dollhouse size and act two at 30 feet high which meant two different focuses had to be used. Moving lights were used in lieu of conventional fixtures for ballet to accommodate the two trims. Every line set of the 88 available was used.

In order to capture the fantastic world of the divertissement through all of act two we used 6 moving 15-foot grandfather clocks lit up by custom gobos.

Video was used to project a short narrative text on the scrim.

Venue details
The Smith Center was envisioned as a world-class performing arts center that would develop and present the best and brightest in a broad range of first-rate programming.

Equipment List:

  • MARTIN Mac 2000 PERFORMANCE - 22
  • MARTIN Mac 2000 PROFILE -12
  • PRG Best Boy SPOT -13
  • VL3500 Wash - 12
  • COLOR KINETICS Color Force 72 - 20
  • COLOR KINETICS Color Force 12 - 24
  • ETC S4 LEKO 10 - 70
  • ETC S4 LEKO 19 - 60
  • ETC S4 LEKO 26 - 73
  • ETC S4 LEKO 36 -16
  • ETC S4 15/30 -16
  • ETC S4 25/50 -16
  • ALTMAN Zipstrip MR16 - 31
  • ETC S4 Par MFL -73
  • ETC S4 Par NSP - 42
  • ETC S4 Par VNSP - 24
  • MDG LOWFOG - 2


Design Team:

  • Director/ Choreographer: James Canfield
  • Score: Piotr Ilitch Tchaïkovsky
  • Conductor: Jack Gaughan
  • Set Design / Props: Patricia Ruel
  • Costume Design: Sandra Woodall
  • Lighting Design: Matthieu Larivée (Lüz Studio)
  • Lighting programmer: Hubie Tardif
  • Video: Lüz Studio
  • Project Manager / Stage Manager : Adrian Young
  • Technical Director: Tim Sage
  • Lighting Vendor: PRG Las Vegas
  • Lighting Vendor for Set Lighting: Blue Line Studios, Las Vegas


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