Pacific Northwest Ballet Mourns the Loss of Maurice Sendak

Beloved children’s author and illustrator, Maurice Sendak has died. He is mostly remembered for his book: Where The Wild Things Are, which  was later made into a movie.

In the world of ballet he was known for being the creative force behind the scenery and costumes of PNB’s The Nutcracker. Today the Pacific Northwest Ballet mourns the loss of Maurice Sendak.

Maurice Sendak has Died

Pacific Northwest Ballet's The Nutcracker. Scenery and costumes designed by Maurice Sendak. Image: Video excerpt.

The man who brought children delight with his book “Where the Wild Things Are” and one of the designing forces behind Pacific Northwest Ballet’s beloved “Nutcracker” has died.

Maurice Sendak died early Tuesday in Danbury, Conn. at age 83, four days after suffering a stroke

Sendak teamed with PNB founding Artistic Director and Choreographer Kent Stowell in 1983 on “Nutcracker,” according to the PNB website. Sendak designed the sets and costumes.

The ballet drew on E.T.A. Hoffman’s “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.”Sendak illustrated a 1984 edition of the original story, which ended up on the New York Times bestseller list for eight weeks.

PNB’s “Nutcracker” has been performed every season for the past 28 years. This season, it will run Dec. 7 -29. A feature-length film was made in 1986 and released nationwide.

See original articles here and here.

Pacific Northwest Ballet mourns the loss of Maurice Sendak

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.

Article source from the Seattle Times.

Here’s Sendak’s scenery, which he created in 1983 for PNB (Pacific Northwest Ballet) being loaded. video courtesy of the Pacific Northwest Ballet Channel.

I just love this version of The Nutcracker. I bought the movie of this production many years ago for my children. They delighted with the wonderful characters created by Sendak. I am saddened by his passing.

As the Pacific Northwest Ballet mourns the loss of Maurice Sendak, please help us pay tribute to this amazing artist by clicking Like and Share below. May you rest in peace Mr. Sendak!


About Romy Macias, Senior Editor

Romy danced with the Ballet Clasico de Queretaro Fernando Jhones for 10 years having reached 1st soloist position. She presently takes on character roles and teaches at the company's junior academy. This site is a testament to her passion for classical ballet. You're invited to be part of our community and join in the joy for this amazing art form.


  1. Thanks for bringing us this story about Maurice Sendak. I’ll remember him fondly! So creative.

  2. Kathy says:

    Thank You for this post- and especially the history that is attached to it.

  3. Elyn says:

    Maurice Sendak was a fascinating person who loved what he did and walked his own path. I studied with him for a week or so in a children’s literature art class, and he is the one who taught me to use a crow quill pen. My favorite story about Maurice Sendak, in his own words, is this:
    “Once a little boy sent me a charming card with a little drawing on it. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters — sometimes very hastily — but this one I lingered over. I sent him a card and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, “Dear Jim: I loved your card.” Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said, “Jim loved your card so much he ate it.” That to me was one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. He didn’t care that it was an original Maurice Sendak drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it.”
    We are lucky to have lived in his time.

    • Wow, I just got goosebumps. That is a beautiful story! How lucky you are to have worked with him!
      What I liked about Sendak was his unconventional way of telling stories about children. He did not conform and follow the Dick and Jane formula. The children in his books were real. As a child, I now look back, and realize that his stories allowed me to imagine and dream!

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