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Originally a short story entitled "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King", and written by E.T.A. Hoffmann in 1816, it was converted into a ballet with music by Tchaikovsky in 1892. Both the story itself and the ballet are excellent, enchanting and magical, though they do differ. Performances of the ballet on every level imaginable have become part of American Christmas traditions, as has the annual PBS broadcast of Baryshnikov's 1977 starring role. Maurice Sendak also famously designed sets for a version done in Seattle in 1983.

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