By Lily Peta, SF Ballet School Student
Every December, the Stahlbaum family holds a lavish party in San Francisco. Actually almost thirty parties over two and a half weeks, and invitations are very hard to come by. Only 12 girls are invited each year, and they get to attend more than a dozen Stahlbaum parties each! Here are five fun facts about being a party girl in SF Ballet’s Nutcracker:
- Each girl gets a beautiful dress to wear and her hair curled into ringlets by SF Ballet’s wardrobe and makeup team.
2. Each party girl is onstage for almost 30 minutes—longer than almost any other children’s part!
3. Every party-goer has a name and belongs in a family. In addition to Clara and her brother Fritz, there are eleven party children: Rose, Daisy, and Henry Greene Jr., Susan and Bobby Blum, Maria, Dominic and Anthony Viola, and Butch, Grace, and Carolina Pessego. I play the role of Rose Greene. We’re a close-knit San Francisco family and are old friends of the Stahlbaums. (Waiting backstage one night before a show, my onstage family imagined that my dad, Henry Greene, is an accountant, and that we own a candy store and know the Ghirardelli family.)
4. Each girl receives a specific gift when the maids Gertrude and Bridget hand out Christmas presents. I get a Chinese doll, and my sister gets a stuffed bear, a replica of the bear who emerges from Madame du Cirque’s skirt in the second act.
5. Only one moment of being a party girl is left unscripted. After Drosselmeyer fixes Clara’s broken nutcracker, she selects a party girl by putting her arm around her and leading over to the couch. The chosen party girl gets to sit on the couch with Clara and touch the nutcracker. Everyone wants to sit on the couch!
At the end of the party my sister falls asleep on a chair, Mrs. Pessego has a bit too much champagne, gets dizzy, and has to sit down, and everyone yawns. We’re all sorry to leave, and can’t wait for the next party, either four hours or a few days later!
The children cast in Nutcracker are students from SF Ballet School. They are chosen from a school-wide audition that is held every September.
Header image: San Francisco Ballet in Tomasson’s Nutcracker // © Erik Tomasson