Joyce Cuoco, Stephani Marini, and Gloria Sotir

Joyce Cuoco, Stephani Marini, and Gloria Sotir

©Boston Ballet Alumni Network 2007-2008 All Rights Reserved

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Joyce Cuoco as Dew Drop. Stephani Marini as a Flower, kneeling, and Gloria Sotir standing.

Circa 1965-6

I believe this is from the Back Bay Theatre. This was on a wood floor onstage. I believe these were the NYC old ballet sets. They were certainly based on them, i.e., the Balanchine sets. Peachy and white, ornate, representing the Kingdom of Sweets, Big and fun and different. Beautiful costumes, fantastic sets, And, a phenomenal performer, Joyce, whose unbelievable talents Virginia displayed. The audiences were wild about Joyce Cuoco. She could do amazing things. She was a phenomenon.

To see this picture of Gloria, who died about twenty years ago, looking as I remember when she was so beautiful and Stephanie was also young and gorgeous, is very moving... Two flowers, the most beautiful ever. Virginia created the most popular nutcracker in the world. We had the most popular, most highly attended nutcracker in the world. It took a long time to grow. Virginia and her successors did succeed in making it the most popular, highly attended production in the world.

A benefactor of the BB, Bradley Higgens from Worcester financed Virginia to bring the Nutcracker to Worcester. He was a wonderful benenfactor. We had delightful post performance parties in the Worcester armory that he owned.

It took 30 years for Boston's Nutcracker to become the most popular in the world. I was the first Mouse King when Virginia added the Battle Scene. I was also the last female Fritz. Everyone was coming to her schools to be in our Nutcracker. Each year she added something. She was not the first, but everyone understood that hers was wonderful. Of course, it has fantastic music and used all age dancers. And it has a story that appeals to young and old. The battle scene for boys, the fantasy scenes, the dreams and it ends with candy... The Kingdom of Sweets. What could be better than that? Absolutely nothing!!! Balanchine had a conversation with a musician who thought this was Tchaikovsky's finest score.

Notice how point shoes were much more streamlined than those of today. That was a lot prettier.