Maurice Sendak, author/illustrator of such beloved (and revolutionary) children’s books as “Where the Wild Things Are,” “Chicken Soup with Rice,” “In the Night Kitchen” and others, died this morning at the age of 83. Seattleites have a special connection to Sendak: In 1983, he designed fanciful, wildly colorful “Nutcracker” sets and costumes for Pacific Northwest Ballet, for a production choreographed by Kent Stowell that’s still an annual tradition for the company. Peter Boal, artistic director of PNB, released the following statement today:
We at Pacific Northwest Ballet are saddened by the news of Maurice Sendak’s passing. Each of us has a deep connection to Maurice through treasured tales that were read to us as children. In turn, I loved revisiting favorite stories with my children as they will with their children. His books are part of us and part of a family tradition. At the ballet we have another Sendak tradition equally dear to us: Each winter when we step into the wondrous storybook world of Kent Stowell and Maurice Sendak’s Nutcracker. Mischievous mice, an exotic peacock, the Pasha’s seraglio and even a curious monster from Where the Wild Things Are create a blissful return to childhood. Many at PNB remember working side by side with Maurice while he discovered the world of ballet and we discovered the alchemy of magic and wonder. We will proudly dedicate this year’s Nutcracker to Maurice Sendak, an artist who taught us to dream in color.