THE MARYLAND BALLET opened its lavish new production of the holiday classic, "The Nutcracker" last Thursday evening at the Lyric Opera House and Baltimore loved it. (There has been such demand for tickets that more performances have been added; the show runs through Dec. 22.)
Opening nighters included Dr. Dan Kane, executive director of the Maryland Ballet, and Phillip Carman, artistic director -- two men who have worked long and hard to make the Maryland Ballet a reality. And what a beautiful reality, thanks to the generosity of underwriters such as attorney Gordon Feinblatt, the H. Gladding Foundation and WJZ-TV.
Immediately following the performance, Hyatt GM Richard Morgan hosted a party for dancers and guests at Berry & Elliot's. Among those who stopped by were Bachi management's Nick Litrenta; Renee Miller and Mary Card, who was sporting a new hair-do for the occasion; Tim Windsor, Gladding Foundation; Dr. Lisa Rubin and her husband, Dr. Michael Dvorkin, who treats the dancer's orthopedic problems; Maryland Ballet board members Denise Shapiro, Layla Anderson and Joyce Kashima; and Doug McPeters, Legg Mason. Everyone was enchanted by American Ballet prima ballerina Julie Kent, who starred opposite Mikhail Baryshnikov in the movie "Dancers." Kent wowed fans at the Lyric and later at the cast party.
*The Women's Civic League, best known as the Flower Mart Ladies, had a delightful Christmas Cocktail party on Sunday at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Lehr Jackson. The party was a benefit for the group's headquarters at 9 Front St., and the world famous Sherwood Gardens.
Among the festively dressed party guests were Mr and Mrs. Carlos Quinones, she's president of the Women's Civic League; Judge Dulany Foster; Dr. and Mrs. Albert Janoski; Betty Munoz; Genevieve Nyborg; Carol Purcell, party chair; Dr. and Mrs. Paul Krijger; Claudia and Winn Friddell; Aimee and Christopher Smith; and George and Kelly Lintzeris. All of these guests admired the beautiful Christmas tree decorated by the talented Bob Zimmerman.
*Baltimore's most celebrated '50s-style diner, which was the centerpiece for Barry Levinson's movie, "Diner," is ready for business.
Re-opening the Diner, at 400 East Saratoga St., was the brainchild of Chesapeake Foundation for Human Development's Executive Director Ivan Leshinsky. He asked for help from the Goldsmith Foundation and then landed a contract with Mary Ann Saar, director of Maryland Department of Juvenile Services. Leshinsky says this is a great opportunity for the youngsters who will be working there to learn about the food industry.
The grand opening took place last week and in attendance were Mayor Kurt Schmoke; Boogie Weinglass, one of the original Diner guys, now owner of Merry-Go-Round Enterprises, and one of the people who would like to bring professional football back to Baltimore; Adam Goldsmith, Goldsmith Foundation; former Baltimore Colts great Lenny Moore; and former Orioles star turned coach Elrod Hendricks.
So, let's do lunch at the Diner!
*Interior designer Stiles Colwill did a splendid job redesigning the Brass Elephant's first floor middle dining room. He selected a Constantine royal blue wall-covering with flowers and a matching border that beautifully compliments the existing Turkish paneling. Food seems to taste better in a pretty place . . .
*A couple of gift suggestions for the person who has everything: Maggi Gaines and Heather Campbell of Baltimore Reads have come up with the idea of giving "a gift of reading." It's simple. All you have to do is call 576-READ and tell them how much you'd like to contribute and in whose name, then a card will be sent to the person informing them that a contribution has been made in their name. It's a neat idea.
Or how about a colorful commemorative Chesapeake Bay license plate? You can surprise someone with a special Bay plate that features their birthday, anniversary or lucky numbers and the letters B-A-Y. Prices range from $100 to $500 and all but $10 benefits the Chesapeake Bay Trust. Call 974-2941 to place your order.