Nutcracker storytimes and events for young kids in Lake County

The Nutcracker is a holiday tradition for many families. If you have young children and want to test the waters on their interest and stamina for a Nutcracker performance, these special storytimes and events are a great place to start. 

Storytimes and special appearances

Nutcracker Ballet Storytime: Clara’s Dream

11a.m. on Nov. 18 – Lake Bluff Library

The dancers from LoMastro Performing Arts Academy will get everyone in the spirit with a magical storytime performance of Clara’s Dream. 

Ballet Makkai Nutcracker at Uncle Dan’s

3:15 p.m. on Nov. 18 – Uncle Dan’s Highland Park

As a part of Downtown Highland Park’s holiday celebration, Uncle Dan’s will be roasting chestnuts and featuring mini performances from the Irina Makkai Classical Ballet and Dance School. Dances start every 20 minutes. 

Clara’s Nutcracker Tea

11:30 a.m. on Dec. 3 – Turnberry Country Club, Lakewood

Tickets are $40 per adult and $30 per child

The afternoon starts with a lunch featuring hot chocolate and a dessert platter. Then the Berkshire Ballet Theatre will perform The Nutcracker as the story is read aloud. After the performance there will be autographs and the chance to become an honorary sugarplum fairy or valiant prince. Reservations are required. Call 815-477-0033 to reserve your spot. 

Abridged performances

Clara’s Dream is an abridged performance of The Nutcracker — usually about an hour long. It is often shared in a storybook format with a narrator so it’s much easier for small children to follow along. 

LoMastro Performing Arts Academy

11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Nov. 26 – John & Nancy Hughes Theater at Gorton Center, Lake Forest

Tickets are $20 general admission.

Show is staged by dancers ages 6-18 alongside professional dancers. This one-act performance takes place in the dreams of Clara in the Kingdom of Sweets. 

Dancenter North

10:30 a.m. on Dec. 2 – Butler Auditorium of Libertyville High School

Tickets are $15 orchestra $12 Main/Balcony

Dancenter North has been putting on the longest running and most lavish Nutcracker performance in Lake County for 30 years. Their Clara’s Dream is specifically designed for a young audience but with the same cast, choreography and grandeur of the full length performance. 

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