The Nutcracker is a seasonal spectacular not to be missed. But which show to see? Read on for seven different twists on this traditional tale sure to fill your wee one with sugarplum visions and create a lasting holiday memory.

Nutcracker 2009 - 1 - Photo by C. McCullers

Fox Theatre
Best for:  Families looking for a classic retelling
What’s the scoop:  The Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker at the fabulous Fox Theatre is a holiday staple.  This beautiful classic will transport your little ones into a delightful holiday world.  If you are looking to make a lasting memory with your family, don’t look further than this classic production.  See it:  Ticket prices range from $15-89.  Performances are held December 11-28 at the Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta 30308.  Buy tickets here.

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Gwinnett Theatre
Best for:  Traditionalists
What’s the scoop:  The Gwinnett Ballet Theatre is celebrating its 33rd performance of the Nutcracker in Atlanta.  This company focuses on the traditional retelling of this classic story.  Half of the performances will be set to recorded music, and the other half will be performed with a live orchestra.
See it:  Tickets range from $18-26.  Performances are held December 5-21 at the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth 30096.  Reserve your tickets here.

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Cobb Civic Center
Best for:  Ballet Purists
What’s the scoop:  The Georgia Ballet Company brings their lavish and classical presentation of the Nutcracker back to Atlanta with help from some superstar friends.  Joining this exquisite production are Sarah Lane and Luis Ribagorda from the movie, Black Swan, as well as from the American Ballet Theatre in New York.
See it:  Tickets range from $15-100.  Event performances are held December 5-7 at the Cobb Civic Center, 548 South Marietta Pkwy SE, Marietta, 30060.  Reserve your tickets here.

Urban Nutcracker courtesy of Arts Atl

The Urban Nutcracker
Best for:  Families looking for a cultural spin
What’s the scoop:  The Urban Nutcracker kicks off the first Nutcracker performance of the holiday season.   Be transformed to Atlanta’s own Sweet Auburn Avenue and experience a different spin on the Nutcracker classic in the form of reggae ragdolls, sultry Arabian dancers, bubbly Coca Cola Pas de Six, Mother Spice and her tumbling spice drops and more.
See it:  Ticket prices range from $39 to $52.  Performances are held November 20-23 at Georgia Tech’s Ferst Center for the Arts, 349 Ferst Dr, Atlanta, GA 30332.  Order tickets here or call 404-894-9601.

Fox Theatre at the Atlanta Ballet

Kids in Step at the Fox Theatre
Best for:  The younger set in big groups from school.
What’s the scoop:  Through the Atlanta Ballet Kids In Step program, younger ones can enjoy the magic of the Nutcracker in a shortened version.  After experiencing an abbreviated performance, they are treated to a special behind-the-scenes look at the magic of backstage.  Teachers will also receive educational materials prior to the performance.
See it:  Tickets are $10.  Performances are held December 11 & 17 at 11 am at the Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St NE, Atlanta, 30308.  Reserve your tickets here.

NutcrackerATLBallet

The Nutcracker Tea
Best for:  Families who want an up close experience.
What’s the scoop:  The Nutcracker dances to life in the way of a tea party for young ones.  The Atlanta Ballet dancers perform and tell a story, as little ones will sip on traditional teas and cocoa and munch on finger sandwiches, scones and bite-size desserts.  Cameras are permitted to capture the excitement of the dancing sugar plum fairies.  For an even sweeter ending, little ones will decorate holiday cookies.
See it:  Tickets are $60 for adults, $50 for children ages 3-12, and complimentary for children under 3.  Performances are held December 7, 14, & 21, 2:30 to 5 pm at the Four Seasons Park 75 Restaurant.  Call (404) 253-3840 for reservations.

American Girl Nutcracker Event courtesy of Atlanta Ballet

The Nutcracker at the American Girl
Best for:  Younger girls, ages eight and up
What’s the scoop:  American Girl of the year, Isabelle, is an aspiring ballet dancer.  Your own little aspiring ballerinas will start the day with brunch and Isabelle-themed crafts at the American Girl store.  After, the ballerinas will board a bus for the Fox Theatre for a backstage tour, cookies and milk, and a performance of Clara and the Nutcracker.  Your ticket includes round-trip bus transportation and an Isabelle poster.
See it:  Tickets are $85.  Event and performance are held on December 14 at 9:30 am at the North Point Mall American Girl Store, 1202 North Point Circle, Alpharetta 30022.  Reservations are required.  Call 1-877-247-5223.

Will you be seeing the Nutcracker this year?  How will you share this classic with your little ones?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.

—Allyson Chapman

Photos courtesy of Charlie McCullers and The Atlanta Ballet, Gwinnett Ballet Theater, The Georgia Ballet, and Urban Nutcracker via Facebook