Fairy Tale: Where to See the Nutcracker in NYC

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If you’re looking for where to see The Nutcracker in NYC this holiday season, we have good news: you’ve got options. Lots of them. This classic Tchaikovsky ballet hits stages all over New York this season and whether you’re continuing a tradition or starting a new one, NYC has a production for you. Try the New York City Ballet Nutcracker at Lincoln Center, a hip-hop version, or maybe one just for little kids. Whatever you choose, get your Nutcracker tickets now—these shows sell out!

Bronx

Ballet in the Bronx: Westchester Ballet Company

This full-length presentation of the ballet promises gorgeous costumes and special effects. Presented by the Westchester Ballet Company, this performance has 100 dancers leaping and frolicking around on stage to the classic music. Be aware that all visitors 12 and over must submit vaccination proof before the event (you can upload it to the website). 

Price: $24-$49
Sat., Dec. 18 at 12:30 p.m. & 4 p.m.; Sun., Dec 19 at Noon &  4 p.m.
Lehman Center for the Performing Arts
250 Bedford Park Blvd. West
Jerome Park
Online: lehmancenter.org

Brooklyn

Brooklyn Nutcracker

A Celebration of Brooklyn: The Brooklyn Nutcracker

A re-imagined holiday classic, The Brooklyn Nutcracker fuses ballet, hip-hop and a myriad of world dance genres to create a new tradition for today’s audience. This twist on the Nutcracker classic places the story against a backdrop any Brooklynite would recognize. From Old Dutch Brooklyn to Flatbush Avenue, this version of the Nutcracker celebrates the many different cultures that make Brooklyn the wonderful melting pot that it is. 

Price: $30 and up
Sat., Dec. 11, 12:30 p.m. doors for 2 p.m. show, 5:30 p.m. doors for 7 p.m. show
Kings Theatre
1027 Flatbush Ave.
Flatbush
Online: kingstheatre.com

Tim Norris

A Fresh Take: Hip-Hop Nutcracker

This magical mash-up features the original ballet score with an electronic twist, performed by an on-stage DJ and an electric violinist, plus legendary MC rapper Kurtis "The Breaks" Blow. Dancers bring the traditional story to life in a modern setting using hip-hop choreography. Directed and choreographed by Jennifer Weber, the show features the music of Tchaikovsky with the heart and soul of hip-hop. The performance uses digital graffiti and visuals to transport audiences to the setting of modern-day New York City. The reimagined performance is a fun take on the piece, and is meant as a celebration of love, community and diversity. Catch it in Brooklyn or at Newark's NJPAC.

Price: $29 and up
Sun., Dec. 19, 12:30 p.m. doors for 2 p.m. show; 5 p.m. doors for 6:30 p.m. show
Kings Theatre
1027 Flatbush Ave.
Flatbush
Online: kingstheatre.com

Price: $29 and up
Sun., Dec. 18, 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.
NJPAC
1 Center St.
Newark, NJ
Online: njpac.org

A Puppet Extravaganza: The Steadfast Tin Soldier and Nutcracker Sweets

Kids will delight as handcrafted marionettes take to the stage in this double bill from Puppetworks. Nicolas Coppola's hand-made puppets will put on a performance of the toy story "The Steadfast Tin Soldier" by Hans Christian Andersen and "Nutcracker Sweets," set to the classic music of the Nutcracker. This show is recommended for ages two and up. 

Price: $11/adult, $10/child
Nov. 20-Dec. 30 & Jan. 2
Every Sat. & Sun. at 12:30 p.m. & 2:30 p.m.
338 6th Avenue (at 4th Street)
Park Slope
718-965-3391
Online: puppetworks.org

The Date Night Nutcracker: Nutcracker Rouge

Leave the kids at home for this one — this risqué option is for adult eyes, only! This sensational show presents a sensual take on the tale, featuring baroque-burlesque performance. Viewers will be titillated by a mix of burlesque, circus, opera and high fashion. 

Price: $85 and up
Various times and dates Nov.-Jan.
383 Troutman St.
Bushwick
Online: companyxiv.com 

Manhattan

Paul Kolnik

The Classic: George Balanchine's The Nutcracker

This vast and vibrant show is made up of a large cast of performers, musicians, and stagehands, and is sure to astound viewers with its spectacular effects and props. Using Tchaikovsky's classic music and George Balanchine's choreography, this rendition of the Nutcracker is definitely one of the showiest. Watch in amazement as a 12-foot Christmas tree grows to 41 feet and marvel at the 85-pound, 9-foot wide figure of Mother Ginger. It's a dazzling sight to behold and a joy for any age.

Note: This year's performance is a little different: Due to COVID-19 restrictions, no children under 12 will be performing on stage. Kids are allowed in the audience, however — the show is recommended for kids age five and up, and all kids (including lap-sitters) require a ticket to enter.

Price: $60 and up
Various times and days from Nov. 26-Jan. 2
David H. Koch Theater
20 Lincoln Center Plaza
Midtown
Online: nycballet.com

Michelle Tabnick PR

A Tale of New York: Francis Patrelle's The Yorkville Nutcracker

Take a trip back in time to 1895 NYC, where you can watch this story unfold amid familiar locations. The tale begins at the Gracie Mansion, where a grand celebration features famous guests like Teddy Roosevelt. The performance then takes you through Central Park, the New York Botanical Gardens, and more. Sleigh rides, life-sized mice, and plenty of visual goodies make this one a treat at any age. This year, the Yorkville Nutcracker celebrates its 25th anniversary — come join the celebration!

Price: $69
Sat., Dec. 11, 2 p.m. & 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 12, 12 p.m. & 5 p.m.
Hunter College
East 68th St. between Park and Lexington Ave.
Upper East Side
212-772-4448
Online: dancespatrelle.org

NY Theater Ballet

The 1-hour Special: Keith Michael's "The Nutcracker"

Don't think your little ones can sit through an entire performance? Then Keith Michael's version might be the right option for you. Recommended for ages three and up, this performance condenses the ballet into just one hour and fills every moment with excitement and color. This version uses Tchaikovsky's original music combined with 1907-era Art Nouveau style that will surely win over the younger audience. This year's performance will take place at Brookfield Place, and will support non-profit. City Harvest. Advance registration is required, and all attendees should show up half an hour before the performance to ensure entry (though be aware that a ticket doesn't ensure a seat!). Stroller parking is available near Salvatore Ferragamo and Le District. Want a preview? You can also watch some vignettes online

Price: Free
Fri.-Sun., Nov. 26-28; Fri. at 7 p.m., Sat. at 1 p.m & 7 p.m., Sun. at 1 p.m.
Winter Garden at Brookfield Place
230 Vesey St.
Battery Park City
Online: bfplny.com

Choreography by Rae

The Photo-op: Nutcracker Ajkun Ballet Theatre

The Ajkun Ballet Theater performs this adaptation of the Nutcracker, where the audience will get up close and personal with the performers. Set in a cozy, intimate space, visitors can enjoy the ballet and then pose with the characters for photos! All money raised by this event will be donated to "A Ticket to Dream," a program that provides free tickets to underprivileged kids and free performances to hospitalized children. 

Price: $49
Sat. & Sun., Nov. 27 & 28, 7:30-9 p.m.
Ballet Arts Center for Dance
130 West 56th St.
Midtown
Online: eventbrite.com

Musical Selections for Tots: Mozart for Munchkins' Nutcracker and Jingles

If your little ones are too young to sit through a whole ballet, they can still enjoy the music. At this cozy concert, a small group of musicians performs selections from The Nutcracker while the audience plays along with holiday bells! It's worth noting that attendance is limited and there may be standing room only.

Price: Free
Sat., Dec. 18, 11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
Hudson Yards: Level 4 in front of H&M
Between 10th & 12th Aves from West 30th to West 34th Sts
Hudson Yards
Online: mozartformunchkins.com

The Circus Mash-up: Nutcracker Cirque Ballet

What do you get when you combine the circus with the ballet? This show! Performed by The Muse students, this show features ballet dancing the circus arts. Watch as students pirouette and hang over the stage in this magical mash-up of performing arts!

Price: $25 at the door; $18 during pre-sale, free for kids under 12
Sat., Dec. 11, 2-3:30 p.m.
The Muse Brooklyn
350 Moffat St.
Bushwick
Online: eventbrite.com

Queens

The Student Production: The Nutcracker, a Magical Night

The Sunnyside Ballet Studio students have been hard at work practicing their parts for this performance, and are eager to show off their skills. Come watch and support these young dancers and their studio!

Price: $20-30
Sun., Dec. 19, 2 p.m. &  5:30 p.m.
Queens Theatre
14 United Nations Avenue South
Sunnyside
Online: eventbrite.com

For Kids Center Stage: The Nutcracker by the Joffrey Ballet School

Kids love watching kids, and the Joffrey Ballet School's rendition of the Nutcracker has over 300 tiny dancers to keep little eyes peeled on the stage! The performance is put together by students attending the Joffrey Ballet School’s Childrens, Young Dancer and Trainees program.

Price: To be announced
Fri., Dec. 10-Sun., Dec. 12
Laguardia Community College
31-10 Thomson Ave.
Long Island City
954-801-6209
Online: joffreyballetschool.com

Staten Island

The Ballroom Ballet: Staten Island Nutcracker

Visit Nicotra's Ballroom at the Staten Island Hilton Garden Inn for a beautiful ballet performance by the Staten Island Ballet. This full-length performance is selling out fast (the first time slot is already gone) so act fast if you want a ticket!

Price: $85
Sun., Dec. 19, 5-8 p.m.
Hilton Garden Inn
1100 South Ave.
718-980-0500
Staten Island
Online: siballet.org

New Jersey

NJPAC

A New Take on the Classic: The Nutcracker by the State Ballet Theater of Ukraine

Presented by the State Ballet Theater of Ukraine, this matinee performance features brand new choreography by Andrey Litvinov, and was first performed in December 2020. Watch the magic unfold as colorful toys, fairies, and other characters dance to the well-known music by Tchaikovsky. 

Price: $29 and up
Sun., Dec. 11, 3 p.m.
1 Center St.
Newark, NJ
Online: njpac.org

Online

An Online Interactive Experience: My First Nutcracker

Want to enjoy a performance of The Nutcracker from the comfort of your home? Check out the "My First Nutcracker" experience from NYC Children's Theater. This interactive streaming performance comes with a filmed video of the show, as well as bonus videos and additional activities for children. This 50-minute rendition of the tale has been adapted specifically for little kids to enjoy!

Price: $25
Online: nycchildrenstheater.org

—Yuliya Geikhman

feature image: Kings Theatre

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