SEATTLE -- Rehearsals have started at Pacific Northwest Ballet for the new Nutcracker which debuts on November 27.

For the last 18 months, PNB has been busy working on the 155 costumes which were designed by Ian Falconer, author and illustrator of the Olivia book series.

"The Sendak-Stowell palette is much more muted, more pastel. And this is not what you'd at call muted or pastel," said Larae Hascall, manager of the costume shop.

Falconer's designs are colorful and bold with simple, clean, and strong lines.

Clara will wear a red and white striped dress with a big black bow.

The Arabian dancer will no longer be a peacock but her costume has some peacock elements, which is a nod to the Sendak version.

The Waltz of the Flowers costume is a bright pastel orange with layers of petals on the skirt.

Costumers have been sewing thousands of jewels by hand, applying intricate patterns and even painting stripes onto the fabric, to get the exact width and color.

Audiences will also see a few new characters, like Mother Ginger, whose giant skirt is 10-feet wide and 3-feet deep.

Eight children will run out from underneath her skirt in Act Two.

The tree will be much taller and more dramatic at 40-feet high.

The mice also have a humorous level of chubbiness.

PNB is using George Balanchine's 1954 choreography in which Clara and her prince are played by children throughout the story.

"There's a sugar plum fairy. We haven't had a sugar plum fairy before. She ends up doing the pas de deux, which used to be Clara and the prince," said artistic director Peter Boal.

Boal knows shelving a 32-year tradition is a gamble, but he made the decision to attract new audiences.

"It's a risk but I feel really confident about it," said Boal. "It's the right thing to do at the right time."

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