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July 30, 2021

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Conspicuously missing is any reference to The Nutcracker and how they intend to deal with the issue of children in the audience. Given that it's the company's cash cow, it will be interesting to see how they approach it.

Solor, I was thinking the exact same thing. But they did say "At this time, children under the age of 12..."; so if the vaccine is approved for younger kids by then, they'll be able to adjust their policy.

I was very relieved to get the email. I heard that the Met Opera and Carnegie Hall have adopted similar requirements.

I can't imagine any public venue doing otherwise, considering the most recent Covid news. While I doubt a children's vaccine will ride to the rescue in time for NYCB, the bigger issue is that most ticketed venues (including NYCB) are offering refunds prior to the performance, and that can cut both ways - hopefully it will motivate people to buy tickets, but could result in big financial shortfalls for the companies if health matters get worse. And with other issues resurfacing (work, school), buying tickets may move down a few notches for many people. But there's not much else that can be done.

Has City Ballet announced they will put on the Nutcracker this year? I strongly suspect they won't as the children necessary for the production will not be vaccinated in time to audition/rehearse, etc., and it's not as though they can rely on the 12+ students to fit into the tiny angel costumes! I see that the Philadelphia Ballet is putting a Nutcracker on.

Hi, Rachel.

NYCB hasn't said anything yet about Nutcracker, but I definitely think they will stuff those 12-year-olds into the costumes for 60+ performances. It's their major income source each year, and I don't think they will let a few too-short pants or too-tight ribbons stand in the way of getting those kids on stage.

It's not unheard of to use adults in children's roles, either. Baryshnikov did that in his incredibly successful Nutcracker that was broadcast on TV for many years and is still a favorite among many.

Most Russian Nutcrackers use shortish adults in kids’ roles (Vainonen version at Mariinsky, for ex)...which may account for the relatively charmless/stiff party scenes in most Russian Nutcrackers.

I got a note from a reader who pointed out that NYCB's Nutcracker tickets go on sale September 26th per the website. So it looks like the show is a "go" at least at this time.

If you key in your vaccination details, you can get an "Empire Pass" here:

https://covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/excelsior-pass

I did it, and it worked - but I'm not sure how this works out in real life.

There is a QR code on each pass which should help confirm the authenticity of the Excelsior Pass by the event managers.

Vax policy excludes their cash cow, the six week Nutcracker season. That’s too much money to worry about Covid I guess. There remains a world wide pandemic so maybe children not yet eligible for a vaccine should not be attending (or performing) an indoor concert and there is absolutely no reason whatsoever the vaccine rules applicable to adults should not apply to the Nutcracker as well. Also, what is this religion that doesn’t allow for vaccinations?

Sharp eye, Eldie. Yes, indeed, the "Your Safety" page says that the vaccine policy pertains to the fall, winter, and spring seasons, but that policy for the Nutcracker season is still being determined. That little caveat is buried rather deeply and jars with the very distinct impression put forth by the earlier general announcement that proof of vaccine would be required for anyone entering the building.

It's quite possible, if not probable, that the vaccine will be available for younger children before Nutcracker season starts. Hopefully, common sense will prevail among the public and no one will try to sneak their unvaccinated coughing kids into the theater just because they paid $200 for a ticket.

Addressing your last question: Here are links to Vanderbilt University Medical Center's page on Immunizations and Religion and to the National Institutes of Health library article. That's it here for any discussion on religious objections to vaccines -- no matter how much one may know about the topic.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5141457/

https://www.vumc.org/health-wellness/news-resource-articles/immunizations-and-religion

FWIW, the Clear App also has a QPR/pass that you can obtain, and it has a "Lincoln Center" option (as it does for a number of other entertainment venues). I happen to be a CLEAR member, and I am therefore not certain whether non-CLEAR members can access this particular "passport". The CLEAR QPR code also includes my CLEAR photo (which, as I am quite short, is basically my forehead :)).

https://www.clearme.com/support/clearpass

Thanks, Rachel, for the info and link.

I just observed an upcoming problem with my NYS Excelsior pass. It expires in May of 2022!! It's never too early to start freaking out about what happens when you get to the turnstile and you see that your pass has expired.

Also, it appears that my Clear pass only lasts a few days. I think the idea is that you enter your info into the app, but then for a particular venue/performance/event, you get a specialized pass within a few days of the event. No long-term expiration date set, but I suspect we'll all be getting our booster shots long before May 2022.

While I sadly will be away for the first few weeks of NYCB's season, I suggest my fellow readers arrive at the State Theater with plenty of time to spare as I suspect there will be snags/delays as they roll out the vaccine checks!

True, Rachel.

Now that I think about Nutcracker more, the more worried I get. Of course there will be parents who bring their coughing COVID-carrying kids into the theater -- especially if the parents invested in those luxury Nutcracker special packages that run over $300. Of course parents will line up their coughing COVID-carrying kids to have their pictures taken with the snowflake ballerina standing on the Promendade. "Nuts to this requirement. COVID is somebody else's problem, not mine. My pretty Polly is getting her picture with the snowflake! " It only takes one inconsiderate adult to start the snowball rolling throughout the theater. Even with everything that New Yorkers have gone through, there are still people who dew not want to dew the right thing.

NYCB could turn this into something positive by printing a Nutcracker snow scene on a bunch of basic blue masks and requiring kids to mask up and stay masked up throughout their time in the building. But it will take uniformed security personnel to enforce it. Ushers will be helpless to enforce any type of requirements. If there is a person coughing in a seat, how does management propose to remove that person from the theater? "It's just my allergies and asthma, trust me! Let go of my arm!! I've had this ticket for two months. I have to see _______'s debut as Sugarplum!" I can see this happening with a couple of the coughing "regulars" who sit in the side rings every season and think it's their right to stay - even if they infect everyone.

NYCB could also set aside certain performances for kids and exclude them from others. Whether NYCB could blow out the theater sufficiently between matinee and evening performances is a question.

It only takes one rat to dirty-up the whole house.

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