The Grand Rapids Ballet debuted a new production of The Nutcracker under the direction of Artistic Director, Patricia Barker, which featured the creative vision of Chris Van Allsburg and Eugene Lee. Chris Van Allsburg is the renowned author of The Polar Express, Zathura, Jumanji and other classics. Eugene Lee is the Tony Award winner of Bernstein’s Candide, Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd and Wicked. Lee is also the Emmy Award winning production designer for NBC’s Saturday Night Live and recently designed the new set for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Bringing the beloved characters to life through dance was the distinguished choreographer Val Caniparoli, whose work includes productions for ballet, opera, and theater for more than 35 companies across the world.


​For the first time in nearly 30 years, the company decided to mount a new production and looked to Blackbird for oversite of all the technical elements. The scenery, lighting and video systems were prepped and constructed in NYC and for the productions 2nd season, a 2 stop tour was mounted with plans for an expanded tour next year.