It's one of the world's most beloved ballets, and quite often the first ballet experience for children. It's the Nutcracker - and if you're thinking about taking your kids to see it this year, you've got plenty of options to choose from! Here's a roundup of Chicago Nutcracker productions, in order of show start date. Get your tickets now before they're sold out!
November 3 - December 30
House Theatre of Chicago at Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division, Chicago
The House’s fantastical ballet-free expansion of this holiday classic centers on young Clara’s journey to save Christmas in the face of grief. With the help of a magical nutcracker, this brave girl will risk the darkness, fight the Rat King, and save her family! This modern holiday production weaves together riveting dialogue, astonishing puppetry, original song, and spellbinding spectacle to tell a heartwarming, darkly moving story of magic and hope. Ages 5 and up. Thursdays & Fridays 7:30, Saturdays 3:00 & 7:30, Sundays 3:00 & 7:00. $15-50. Learn more.
Grand Ballet The Nutcracker
Harris Theatre, 205 E. Randolph Drive, Chicago
Russian Grand Ballet is proud to present the world’s most loved Christmas classic danced by Russia’s brightest ballet stars. Before there was Toy Story, there was The Nutcracker. Masha, one of ballet’s pluckiest heroines, journeys to a land where toys come to life. This magical fantasy, based on a fairy tale by Hoffman isn’t just for Christmas. Tchaikovsky’s lustrous music and the magnificent choreography of Marius Petipa have made this beloved story a must-see for children of all ages. 7:30pm. $40-85. Learn more.
Studebaker Theater, 410 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago
Featuring 120 talented young dancers from A&A BALLET’s Conservatory and Youth Company, and guest artists from the San Francisco Ballet, Kremnev’s Nutcracker is reported to be a fresh, albeit more traditional take on the beloved holiday staple than other recent incarnations. At only 90 minutes, curtain to curtain, including intermission, and tickets starting at a family budget-friendly $30, the A&A BALLET production of Kremnev’s Nutcracker is a perfect introduction for young audiences to classical ballet and one of the season’s most cherished traditions. 7 p.m., Friday, Dec. 1; 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 2, and 2 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 3. Learn more.
December 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, and 10
Prairie Center for the Arts, 201 Schaumburg Ct., Schaumburg
The Schaumburg Dance Ensemble returns for its 23rd annual production of Tchaikovsky’s grand ballet. Live narration sets the scene as a young girl’s vivid imagination whisks her away to a land of dancing snowflakes, waltzing flowers, and leaping Russians. Featuring a cast of nearly 150, inventive choreography, beautiful costumes, colorful scenery, and some new twists. See web site for schedule. $28/$18 seniors & students. Learn more.
Joffrey Ballet The
Nutcracker by Christopher Wheeldon
Joffrey Ballet, Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Parkway, Chicago
Journey inside Chicago's 1893 World's Fair with Wheeldon's critically acclaimed holiday masterpiece. When young Marie and her mother, a sculptress who is creating the fair's iconic Statue of the Republic, host a holiday party, a surprise visit from the charming Great Impresario sets off a Christmas Eve dream of whirlwind romance and adventure. A must-see tradition boldly reimagined for a new generation. All ages. See web site for ticket pricing and schedule. Learn more.
Page Civic Ballet's The Nutcracker
Northeastern Illinois University Auditorium Fine Arts Bldg, 3701 West Bryn Mawr, Chicago
The Ruth Page Civic Ballet’s popular re-creation of this holiday classic is back for four performances only. The Ruth Page Civic Ballet is the official youth performance company of the Ruth Page Center for the Arts and an Artist In-Residence. And don’t Miss "Tea With Clara," a special afternoon that features a beautiful holiday tea (additional fee) and a performance of "The Nutcracker" on Sunday, December 3 at 3:15 p.m. All ages. $25. December 2, 3 and 7pm; December 3 at 1 and 5pm. Learn more.
Hemmens Cultural Center, 45 Symphony Way, Elgin
This performance will be brought to life by the students and staff of the Chicago Ballet Conservatory. With Director Linda Cunningham at the helm (formerly Artistic Director of State Street Dance), this production will feature professionals from around the globe, including principal dancer of New York City Ballet, Joaquin De Luz, and former ABT and Joffrey Ballet dancer Abigail Simon. Audiences of all ages will be transported to a land of magic and mystery as they are treated to a new twist on the holiday classic they know and love. Ages 2 and up. Saturday at 7pm, Sunday at 2pm. $25-40. Learn more.
Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St., Chicago
Sugarplum fairies and mouse kings of all ages and abilities are invited to point their toes to the familiar music of Tchaikovsky’s holiday classic with Ballet Chicago at this FREE event. At 11am and 2pm, members of Ballet Chicago will teach basic ballet positions and movements at an optional lesson. At noon and 3pm, dancers of all ages and abilities are invited to join the dancers of Ballet Chicago, an internationally recognized professional track school of ballet that strives to make classical ballet training accessible to all. All ages. FREE. Learn more.
Rosemont Theatre, 5400 N. River Rd., Rosemont
The one and only Moscow Ballet Great Russian Nutcracker returns to Chicago with a company of almost 40 ballerinas and danseurs on their 25th Anniversary Tour of North America. Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker is known for its award-winning Principal Dancers, lavish costumes in the style of the Victorian era, many backdrops created by “La La Land’ Set Concept designer Carl Sprague, and its Russian focus including life-sized Matryoshka Dolls, Russian folk legends Ded Moroz (Father Christmas) and Snegurochka (Snow Maiden) and Troika Sleigh. All ages. 1pm and 5pm. Tickets start at $28. Learn more.
IYDT presents The Nutcracker
Lake Zurich Performing Arts Center, 300 Church St., Lake Zurich
Illinois Youth Dance Theatre (IYDT) invites you to the 18th annual production of Tchaikovsky's ballet fantasy "The Nutcracker." See these amazingly talented local dancers, as well as professional guest artists, perform this timeless ballet that you will remember for years to come. Special Interactive Stage Tour after the Sat 12/10 1pm show. Tickets $12-27. See web site for schedule. Learn more.
Hyde Park School of Dance "The Nutcracker"
University of Chicago Mandel Hall, 1131 E. 57th St., Chicago
Staged by HPSD Founding Artistic Director August Tye, ballet mistress and choreographer at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the 90-minute narrated production follows Clara, Fritz and the mysterious Uncle Drosselmeyer from the family holiday party and the midnight battle with the Mouse Queen and her troops through the Land of Snow to the Kingdom of Sweets. The performance includes a hip hop dance battle to showcase the range of dance genres the school offers, as well as send a message of peace, with the mouse-soldiers using hip hop as their “weapons.” See web site for pricing and schedule. Learn more.
Ballet Chicago The
December 8-10, 15-17
Athenaeum Main Stage, 2936 N. Southport Ave., Chicago
Every year, The Nutcracker takes us on an unforgettable journey with Marie as she travels from her home on Christmas Eve to the Kingdom of Snow and the Land of Sweets. For children, it is the opportunity to create new memories. For everyone, it is a time for sharing and giving among family & friends. Performance lasts 90 minutes including a 15-minute intermission. All ages. Fridays 7pm; Saturdays 2pm and 7pm, Sundays 2pm. Tickets from $17. Learn more.
Creek Ballet's The Nutcracker
Governors State University, 1 University Pkwy. Universtiry Park
A magical tale featuring Tchaikovsky’s enchanting score, a brand new set & costumes – along with waltzing flowers, giant mice, and the Sugar Plum Fairy. Photos with Santa at 3 p.m. A delightful holiday tradition for all ages. 1 and 5pm. Tickets from $28. Learn more.
It Out Nutcracker
Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston
This Nutcracker performance, curated by Dance Chicago, pairs the classical (Tchaikovsky) and jazz (Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn) versions of the holiday favorite, performed by Axiom Brass and Music Institute Ensemble-in-Residence Quintet Attacca. Featured ensembles in past years have included Forum Jazz Dance Theatre, Moscow Ballet’s children’s cast, The Kate Jablonski Statement, Tapman Productions, Visceral Dance Chicago, Wheatland Dance Theater, and other companies and choreographers participating in Dance Chicago. All ages. 10am and 2pm. $7.
Creek Ballet's The Nutcracker
Centre East at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd, Skokie
Salt Creek Ballet’s production produces a whimsical tale of young Clara and her magical journey with waltzing flowers, giant mice and sugar plum fairies, which are all exquisitely set to Tchaikovsky’s enchanting musical score. The production features amazing new sets, vibrant costumes and internationally recognized guest dancers. The production additionally boasts a cast of one hundred, including local children and young adults aged eight to seventeen from the school of the Salt Creek Ballet. All ages. Tickets from $20. Learn more.
Chicago Festival Ballet: The Nutcracker
McAninch Arts Center at College of DuPage, Fawell and Park Boulevards, Glen Ellyn
The gorgeous holiday classic returns for four magical performances featuring accompaniment from New Philharmonic orchestra – a rare opportunity to see this magnificent ballet set to live music. One of our favorite holiday traditions, Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker delights with a magical full-scale production. Saturday 2pm and 7pm, Sunday 1pm and 5pm. $44 adult, $34 youth. Learn more.
Ballet's The Nutcracker
Hinsdale Central Auditorium, 55th and Grant, Hinsdale
Meet the young Clara and her hero, the Nutcracker, as you are transported on a magical journey, encountering toys that come alive, dancing snowflakes, waltzing flowers, and the Sugar Plum Fairy along the way. An enchanting holiday tradition, this year's production of "The Nutcracker" features the 48-piece Chicago West Chamber Orchestra. Sunday's performance also includes special admission to the "Sugar Plum Party" where audience members can meet characters from "The Nutcracker" and step onto the stage. All ages. Sat 1 and 5pm; Sun 1pm performance followed by the "Sugar Plum Party." $20-42. Learn more.