Looking for the perfect performance of "The Nutcracker" to take your dancer to? We've compiled a list below with some recommendations. There are no shortage of options in the Los Angeles dance scene, so whether you're looking for traditional or a brand new twist, there is a production for you!
Biggest Oohs & Aahs: Inland Pacific Ballet (but not so close!)
An eye popping spectacle for kids who love the props, with the 40 ft dragon and real sleigh, along with a big new snowfall scene, which keeps little engineers trying to figure out how they did that, while princess worshipers love the romance of the story and mini-music mavens love the dances and the score.
Westside Ballet’s “The Nutcracker”
when: Dec 3-6 at Various times
where: The Broad Stage , 1310 11th St., Santa Monica, CAcost: $40
Lavish costumes and exuberant choreography mesmerize audiences in Westside Ballet of Santa Monica’s rendition of this holiday classic. Showcasing the most promising young dancers in Los Angeles, Westside’s Nutcracker is a full-length ballet in two acts. Reasons we see it year after year? They get that it’s a show for kids! Live music, kids 2 and under sit free on laps and the times (several late morning or every evening shows) mean that kids aren’t tired, hungry or fussy. The Broad Stage also provides booster seats, so everyone can see. And that means everyone has a very merry Nutcracker experience.
Best for Boys: The Hot Chocolate Nutcracker
You’ve got boys and girls to keep happy, and your little man in insisting that ballet is just for girly-girls. Prove to him that that doesn’t have to be the case with this fresh re-telling of the show. Debbie Allen (Lydia Grant, always and forever!) has re-imagined the classic by giving it a new context, fresh lively characters, new music and spectacular dancing. In this story, young Kara receives a Nutcracker filled with hot chocolate. She falls asleep and the journey begins when the Nutcracker comes alive. She follows him to many lands of wonder: Candy Cane Lane, Egypt, the Rainforest, Jazzland, Russia and the Land of the Kimono Dolls, China. The entire story is narrated by three wisecracking mice: Harvey, Schmink and Buckey, sure to entertain even those who think they might not like an all-dancing, no-talking show.
December 18 & 19 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Event details.
The Los Angeles Ballet – Not my favorite for young ones
The Los Angeles Ballet was only formed in 2006, but it’s already an institution, and their first production was The Nutcracker. This original version is set in 1913 Los Angeles. Join Clara, her Uncle Drosselmeyer and her beloved Nutcracker as she travels to the Land of Snow, and to the Palace of the Dolls where all of her favorite doll companions come to life. The essential holiday tradition continues! The Los Angles Ballet performs “The Nutcracker” at several theaters around LA.
Only in LA: Bob Baker’s Nutcracker
Sure, lots of cities (or every city and even most podunk towns) have a version or two of the Nutcracker at Christmas. But only LA has the inimitable Bok Baker production. Here, the show is performed by over 100 of legendary puppeteer Bob Baker's famous marionettes. This performance, perfect for even kiddos too little to sit through a ballet, features all the characters from the beloved story: Clara and the Nutcracker Prince, the Sugarplum Fairies, the Mouse King, and many more - it's a true puppet extravaganza.
Through January 10 at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater in Echo Park. Event details.
Best Friend Outing: The Nutcracker School Show
You remember falling in love with Clara and the Nutcracker when you were a kid. You can’t wait to take your own baby ballerina… but she’s a little young yet for a night-time performance that lasts a couple of hours. This show, at 10 a.m., which is barely an hour long and ends with snow falling in the auditorium, is perfect. Gather your playgroup to get a group discount, the kids will love playing in the aisles together as the snow falls at the end of the show. Get your tickets in advance , as this show sells out every year.
December 10 at the Thousand Oaks Civic Center Auditorium. Event details.
Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker – history but not for little ones
Not that your parents remember 1892, and the first production of The Nutcracker in Russia, but they’ll certainly be able to appreciate the history of this very old fashioned show straight from Moscow. It features the innovative rolling backgrounds, first created by a St Petersburg Conservatory of Music producer, and which were the inspiration for Eisenstein’s cinematic technique. (Just a tidbit for the film geek parents out there.)
December 21 & 22 at the Wiltern in Mid-City Los Angeles. Event details.
Red Chair’s “The Nutcracker”
when: Dec 11 at Various times
where: Alex Theatre, 216 North Brand Blvd., Glendale, CAcost: $15-$4ages: 2 & up
Kids can’t always sit through a whole ballet, but you want to introduce them to a fabulous holiday family tradition. Try the The Red Chair Children’s production of the show!
The Red Chair’s production features young performers ages 5 to 18 in principal and supporting roles along with adults. Amid lavish sets and glittering costumes, a cast of over 100 brings to life the enchanting storybook tale. The show is short (only a little over an hour and a half, with one will timed intermission), so it’s perfect for short attention spans.
Best Live Musical Accompaniment: Long Beach Ballet
No canned music here! The Long Beach Ballet production is Southern California’s only one with a full symphony orchestra. So if your little one delights in seeing the musicians and instruments in the pit as well as the dancing on stage, this is the production for you.
December 12, 13, 19 & 20 at the Terrace Theatre in Long Beach. Event details.
Pasadena Dance Theater with a Tea Party
This production takes place in the gorgeous and historic Mission, and is a beautiful production in every way, but the highlight for little ones who dream of the Sugar Plum fairy, emphasis on sugar? Clara’s Nutcracker Party at 12:30 p.m. on December 19 & 20. Our heroine sets a table with tasty treats as tale is told (which helps them understand the show later, when they’re watching it). Nutcracker performers, in costume, hand out favors to all. Space is limited to 80 guests, and tickets are $20.
December 12, 13, 19, 20, 22 & 23 at the San Gabriel Mission Playhouse. Event details.