The Nutcracker Ballet is a timeless holiday tradition for families because it offers something for everyone–from the ethereal Sugar Plum Fairy gliding across the stage in a beautiful costume to a thrilling battle to defeat the evil Mouse King to stunning music from Tchaikovsky’s score.
There are a variety of productions of the Nutcracker in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs that are sure to delight.
Various dates Nov. 1 – Dec. 30 – 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire
This production of the Nutcracker is a musical adventure featuring songs and lyrics by Marc Robin in addition to Tchaikovsky’s score. In this version, the Mouse King has stolen the powerful magic crown which has the ability to turn the wearer into a human boy. A team of kind-hearted toys help Marie reach the Sugar Plum Fairy and reclaim the Nutcracker’s crown before the wicked Mouse King. At one hour, it’s great for all ages. All performances followed by a Question & Answer session with the cast.
Nov. 26, 27 – Hinsdale Central Auditorium, 55th and Grant St., Hinsdale
Dec. 3 – Center for Performing Arts Governors State University, 1 University Pkwy., University Park
Dec. 10, 11 – North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie
You can take your favorite little dancer to the Sugar Plum Party following the 1 p.m. performance in Hinsdale on Nov. 27. Party goers will enjoy refreshments and crafts, and get to meet the Nutcracker characters at the unique onstage experience. Various guest artists, including Gillian Murphy, a principal ballerina with American Ballet Theatre, appear at different performances. Performances in Hinsdale feature the Chicago West Chamber Orchestra.
Nov. 26, 27 – Batavia Fine Arts Centre, 1201 Main St., Batavia
Presented by State Street Ballet, both students and professional dancers take the stage to bring this Christmas Eve story to life. The costumes are gorgeous and the sets are lavish. Consider VIP seats, which include photo opportunities with select cast members and a chance to go backstage after the show.
Nov. 27 – Rialto Square Theatre, 15 E. Van Buren St., Joliet
Dec. 17, 18 – McAninch Arts Center (MAC) at the College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn
It’s hard to know where to look with the beautiful dancing, whirling snowflakes and growing Christmas tree at this Nutcracker performance. It’s a feast for both the eyes and the ears at the McAninch Arts Center when the New Philharmonic Orchestra provides live music.
Dec. 2-4, 9-11 – Prairie Center for the Arts, 201 Schaumburg Court, Schaumburg
Live narration makes it easy to follow the story for younger attendees or those who are unfamiliar with the story. The cast of more than 140 performers includes professional dancers and guest artists, as well as children.
Dec. 3, 4 – Libertyville High SchoolDec. 9, 10 – Genesee Theatre
“Clara’s Dream,” an hour-long special preschool performance, takes place on Dec. 3 at 10:30 a.m. and offers a condensed version of the ballet that hits the highlights before little ones get antsy. Dancenter North also offers several full length performances in Lake County.
Dec. 4 – Rosemont Theater, 5400 North River Road, Rosemont
Moscow saw the premier of the Nutcracker on Dec. 17, 1892, so it is particularly appropriate to see the Moscow Ballet’s take on the classic, featuring Russian-made costumes and sets. There is also an opportunity to take a photograph with one of the ballerinas either before or after the performance.
Dec. 3, 4 – Northeastern Illinois University, Steinberg Fine Arts Center, Enter at 3701 West Bryn Mawr, Chicago
The Land of Snow and the Kingdom of the Sweets has been a tradition featuring guest performers from Cuba’s National School of Ballet. Tea with Clara offers a chance to enjoy sumptuous treats while you visit with some of your favorite Nutcracker characters.
Dec. 9-11 – Mandel Hall, 1137 East 57th St., Chicago
Not only can you enjoy the beauty of the ballet, you can finish your holiday shopping at the Holiday Bazaar features local vendors and artisans as well as neighborhood shops. In addition to wandering the Bazaar, attendees can also enjoy holiday treats.
Dec. 10-30 – The Auditorium Theatre, 50 E Congress Pkwy, Chicago
Looking for a new twist on the classic Nutcracker? The Joffrey is changing things up this year with a newly imagined production by Tony Award-winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon. It takes place during the 1893 World’s Fair, giving this Nutcracker the production a uniquely Chicago feel. Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune says that this production is “shaping up to be quite a Broadway-style extravaganza.” For many families, this is the Nutcracker in Chicago, and the landmark Auditorium Theatre decorated for the holidays only adds to the festive feel.
Dec. 10-18 – Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave., Chicago
This performance at the lovely Athenaeum Theatre on the city’s North side lasts 90 minutes, including a 15-minute intermission and features charming choreography and celebrates all the joys of the season.
Dec. 10, 11 – Dominican University Performing Arts Center, Lund Auditorium, 7900 West Division, River Forest
Ballet Légere’s claims the longest running production of The Nutcracker in the Chicagoland area. This year’s Guest Artists will be Hannah Bettes and Marcus Romeo who will dance the Grand Pas de Deux, courtesy of the Boston Ballet.