Houston Ballet cancels season opener but Nutcracker costumes are saved from water damage

Houston Ballet cancels season opener but Nutcracker costumes are saved

The cast of The Nutcracker, Houston Ballet
Most of the costumes from the Houston Ballet production of The Nutcracker have been saved, the company reports. Photo by Amitava Sarkar

In the wake of Tropical Storm Harvey, The Houston Ballet has cancelled its season-opening performances of Poetry in Motion, scheduled for September 8-17. The mixed-repertory program was scheduled for the Wortham Theater Center, which has sustained considerable water damage.

The ballet still hopes to perform the much-anticipated premiere of Sir Kenneth MacMillan's ballet Mayerling on Sept. 21, but at this point officials do not know if the Wortham Center will be usable and what other options will be available.

Before the storm hit Houston, ballet personnel moved a "substantial portion" of the lavish costumes for The Nutcracker from the Wortham Theater basement to a safe location, officials said in a press release. The big ballet moneymaker got a spectacular revamp last year in a reimagined production from Houston Ballet artistic director Stanton Welch.

Other good news:  The warehouse where sets for Houston Ballet productions and additional costumes are stored sustained no damage.

"The (ballet) family’s thoughts go out to our beloved city as it contends with the ongoing crisis caused by Hurricane Harvey," Welch and Houston Ballet executive director Jim Nelson said in a joint statement. "We are grateful to be able to share with you that our dancers, artists, and staff are safe, although many have been displaced and otherwise affected by this terrible storm."

The ballet's website remains offline due to a power outage and ballet offices will be closed through Labor Day.

'While the recovery from Harvey will be difficult and prolonged, we join all Houstonians in our steadfast belief that our great city will emerge stronger than ever," Welch and Nelson said.