George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® at Lincoln Center
November 24 – December 31, 2023
David H. Koch Theater
20 Lincoln Center Plaza
Experience the quintessential New York City holiday tradition with George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®, a captivating production that has enchanted audiences for generations. This enchanting ballet, set to Tchaikovsky’s timeless score, whisks away children and adults alike to a world of wonder and imagination.
Witness a cast of 150 talented dancers, including over 125 children from the School of American Ballet, bring to life a magical tale of holiday enchantment. Immerse yourself in the captivating story of Clara and her beloved Nutcracker Prince as they embark on a journey through whimsical landscapes, encountering toy soldiers, a mischievous Mouse King, and the enchanting Sugar Plum Fairy.
Be mesmerized by the exquisite sets and costumes, designed by the renowned designers Rouben Ter-Arutunian and Karinska, respectively. These masterful creations transport audiences to a realm of fantasy, where every detail is meticulously crafted to evoke the spirit of the season.
The story of the Nutcracker:
In the quaint town of Nuremberg on Christmas Eve, a young girl named Clara Stahlbaum eagerly anticipates the festivities to come. Her excitement reaches new heights when her eccentric godfather, Drosselmeyer, arrives with a collection of enchanting toys, including a wooden nutcracker with a painted face and a mischievous grin.
As Clara’s curiosity draws her towards the nutcracker, a magical transformation takes place. Under the cloak of darkness, the nutcracker springs to life, revealing himself to be a handsome prince named Nutcracker. He explains that he has been cursed by the Mouse King, an evil rodent who has trapped him in his wooden form.
Determined to break the spell, Clara embarks on a perilous journey with the Nutcracker Prince to the Kingdom of Sweets, a fantastical realm ruled by the benevolent Sugar Plum Fairy. Along the way, they encounter a host of whimsical characters, including toy soldiers, a mischievous squirrel, and a wise owl.
Upon reaching the Kingdom of Sweets, Clara and the Nutcracker Prince are greeted with a grand celebration. The Sugar Plum Fairy, captivated by Clara’s courage and kindness, offers to help break the curse. However, the Mouse King, determined to maintain his power, emerges from the shadows to confront the Nutcracker Prince.
A fierce battle ensues, with Clara bravely defending the Nutcracker Prince. With her help, he manages to defeat the Mouse King, shattering the curse and regaining his human form. The Kingdom of Sweets erupts in joyous celebration, and Clara and the Nutcracker Prince are united as royalty.
As the festivities continue, Clara begins to feel a sense of drowsiness. She awakens to find herself back in her living room, surrounded by her beloved toys and the lingering scent of Christmas. The nutcracker lies by her side, his wooden form unchanged.
Despite the fantastical journey she has experienced, Clara remains unsure whether it was a dream or reality. Yet, the memory of her adventure and the courage she displayed will forever be etched in her heart.