Ballet to shelve iconic 'Nutcracker'

SEATTLE -- For years, Maurice Sendak's rat costumes, party boy outfits and fairy sparkles have wowed Seattle crowds around Christmas time.

But after this year's run of the Pacific Northwest Ballet's 'Nutcracker,' those costumes and choreography will be retired for good.

The 2014 holiday staging of the "Nutcracker" will be the last of Sendak and choreographers Kent Stowell's version, the Seattle Times reported, replaced instead by a version using George Blanchine's 1954 choreography and new costumes by Ian Falconer.

According to the Seattle Times, the deciscion to retire the popular Sendak version came after looking at ticket sales. Sales for the "Nutcracker" have dropped from $6.2 million in 2007 to $5.4 million in 2013.

Balantine's choreography has long been used with the New York City Ballet's performance of the classic Christmas tale. It uses a large number of children and classic dance steps, the Seattle Times reported. The new costumes, designed by Falconer, should keep a "dream-like" feel, the Times reported, as Falconer -- like Sendak -- is a children's book author.

Organizers of the PNW ballet said Sendak's costumes will be put into storage, and could come out again someday. But not anytime soon.