Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre to Host Pride Night at ‘The Nutcracker’ on December 20

PBT Artists in The Nutcracker; Photo by Rosalie O’Connor.


Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre (PBT) will be offering a Pride Night at this year’s production of The Nutcracker.  The event will take place on Wed., Dec. 20 at the 7:00 performance.  Included in the Pride Night event are discounted $40 tickets to The Nutcracker and a meet-and-greet with PBT artists after the performance.  The annual treasured holiday classic is on stage now at the Benedum Center and runs through Thursday, December 28. 

David Highfield, KDKA-TV Anchor/Host, will make a special guest appearance in The Nutcracker on December 20.  He will have a walk-on role in the “Party Scene” during the first act of the production.

Info about PBT Pride Night at The Nutcracker

Date: Wed., Dec. 20 at 7:00 p.m.
Tickets: $40 at pbt.org (use code PBTPRIDE)
Guest Appearance: David Highfield, host of KDKA-TV’s “Pittsburgh Today Life” will have a cameo role as a guest in the Party Scene.
After Event: Meet-and-Greet with Pride Ticket holders and PBT artists in the Benedum lobby after the performance.

PBT’s current version of The Nutcracker is the perfect fit for local celebrities to make cameo appearances because of its special Pittsburgh flair. The Nutcracker includes more than 13 Pittsburgh referencesfrom Kennywood, the Kaufmann’s Clock and Shadyside to the Pittsburgh Pirates, Pittsburgh Penguins, Mount Washington and more. 

About David Highfield – KDKA-TV Anchor & Host

David Highfield. Photo courtesy of KDKA-TV.

David’s days start early (his alarm rings at 2am!) He anchors the KDKA-TV Morning News with Lindsay Ward. He also hosts “Pittsburgh Today Live,” KDKA’s very popular daily lifestyle/talk show, with Heather Abraham. 

In his 30 years in television, he’s won 12 Mid-Atlantic Emmy Awards, for both hosting and reporting. He’s also won two regional Edward R. Murrow Awards: One for his report on a possible connection between Marcellus Shale drilling and earthquakes, and one for an examination of how smoke detectors often don’t wake up children. In addition, he’s won Golden Quills for feature reporting, awards from the Pennsylvania Associated Press Broadcasters Association, and a Matrix award for flood coverage. David created, hosted and executive produced the Emmy award-winning “Your Pittsburgh,” an evening newsmagazine that ran for seven years on KDKA. 

He got his start at KDKA as a writer in 1991 before being promoted to a newscast producer. Then he went in front of the camera, first as the Westmoreland County Bureau Chief and later as the Beaver/Butler Bureau Chief. He also spent years as an 11 p.m. reporter and fill-in anchor, and in 2020 became the anchor of KDKA News at Noon. 

His hometown inducted him into the Ford City Hall of Fame in 2008, and in 2013, he was inducted into the Armstrong County Sports Hall of Fame for numerous sports-related stories he’s covered over the years. David played a news reporter in the 2009 short film “Tommy and Me,” which benefited Operation Safety Net, a group that helps people who are homeless. 

David attended Ford City High School and graduated from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University with high honors. He lives in Lawrenceville with his husband Gary Kline, who teaches musical theater at Carnegie Mellon, and their cat Marvin.

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s Commitment to IDEA and Pride

PBT Artist Kurtis Sprowls; Photo by Anita Buzzy Prentiss.

“From our first committee meeting, putting on a Pride Night at The Nutcracker was a unanimous initiative,” said Kurtis Sprowls, PBT Corps de Ballet artist and Chair of the PBT Pride Committee. “In a season of giving, Pride Night at The Nutcracker is a way to give back and celebrate the queer community, continuing the celebration of pride all year long!” 

PBT’s The Nutcracker features hundreds of colorful characters in an unforgettable adventure through the Land of Enchantment. The production includes five stunning scenes, 150 spectacular costumes, 1,500 costume accessories, more than 100 artists from the professional company and PBT School, a Christmas tree that grows to 15 times its size, sparkling falling snow and over 30 magic tricks created by a professional magician.

PBT has performed various versions of The Nutcracker annually since its inception in 1970. The current Pittsburgh-based version, based on the choreography and concept by former PBT artistic director Terrence S. Orr, has been staged at PBT for more than 20 years. The annual production features Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s classic score as well as costume and set designs by Emmy-winning designer Zack Brown. 

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s The Nutcracker is generously sponsored by Highmark, Giant Eagle and Clearview.

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre is committed to increasing equity, access and opportunity in the art of ballet. They believe that bringing together people with diverse perspectives, histories and life experiences will make ballet richer, stronger and more innovative — resulting in vibrant experiences for all. PBT continuously and actively works towards its goal of ballet for all in the areas of inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility. The PBT Pride Committee was started in March of 2023, as a companion committee to the existing Transformation Team. The committee’s mission is to lead impactful change, actively listen, and protect all members of queer communities through conversations, education, policy work, and community engagement at PBT.  The creation of Pride Night at The Nutcracker, increased social media and online coverage of pride activities at PBT and company artists marching together in the Pittsburgh Pride Day Parade are some of the committee’s recent activities to focus on LGBTQ artists and the greater community. 

PBT Artists Colin McCaslin and Tommie Lin O’Hanlon; Photo by Michael Henninger


The complete schedule for PBT’s The Nutcracker can be found here.  

Coming to PBT in the 2023-2024 Season:

  • Beauty and the Beast: February 16-25, 2024 at the Benedum Center
  • Spring Mix with the PBT Orchestra: April 5-7, 2024at the Benedum Center
  • Cinderella with the PBT Orchestra: May 17-19, 2024 at the Benedum Center

About Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre has been Pittsburgh’s premier professional ballet company since 1969. Today, PBT is a nationally recognized ballet company of 38 professional dancers, a training institution for over 1,200 students of all ages and an incubator for education and accessibility programs in classrooms, libraries and community centers throughout the region. The company, under the leadership of artistic director Adam W. McKinney and executive director Nicholas Dragga, performs a wide-ranging repertoire of classical ballets, contemporary masterworks and new commissions in nearly 50 performances annually.


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