If you’re looking for where to see The Nutcracker in New York City with kids 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, from Russian classic to hip-op to abridged for young kids and their attention spans. Whatever your version, the family-friendly holiday ballet tells a dreamy tale of dancing toys, mischievous mice, and beautiful ballerinas. Here are our picks for the best Nutcrackers in New York City!

For The Classic: George Balanchine's The Nutcracker by NYC Ballet

This vast and vibrant show puts together a cast of 90 dancers, 62 musicians, 40 stagehands and 125 children to bring viewers a truly spectacular performance. Using Tchaikovsky's classic music and George Balenchine's choreography, this rendition of the Nutcracker is definitely one of the showiest. Watch in amazement as 12-foot Christmas tree grows to 41 feet and marvel at the 85-pound, 9-foot wide figure of Mother Ginger — even the snowflakes are created to perfection! It's a dazzling sight to behold and a joy for any age.

Various times and dates
Lincoln Center
David H. Koch Theater
20 Lincoln Center Plaza
Online: nycballet.com

For The Bite-sized Version: 1-Hour Nutcracker by the NY Theater Ballet

Don't think your little ones can sit through an entire performance? Then Keith Michael's version might be the right one for you. Recommended for ages 3 and up, this performance condenses the ballet into just one hour and fills every moment with excitement and color. The performance touts the intimacy of the venue, where every child can experience their first Nutcracker in unforgettable clarity. This version uses Tchaikovsky's original music combined with 1907-era Art Nouveau style and will win over the younger audience.

Fri., Dec. 13-Sun., Dec. 15, Various times
Tickets: $16-$29
Florence Gould Hall
55 East 59th St.
Upper East Side
Online: nytb.org

For a Fresh Production: Hip Hop Nutcracker

Celebrate the sixth year anniversary of the Hip Hop Nutcracker, opened by MC Kurtis Blow. This magical mash-up features the original score with an electronic twist, performed by an on-stage DJ and an electric violinist. Dancers bring the traditional story to life in modern setting and using Hip-Hop choreography. The reimagined performance is a fun take on the piece, and is meant as a celebration of love, community, and diversity.

Sun., Dec. 15 , 2 & 6:30 p.m.
Tickets: $29.50-$79.50
Kings Theatre
1027 Flatbush Ave.
Online: hiphopnutcracker.com

For a Hometown Show: The Yorkville Nutcracker by Dances Patrelle

Take a trip back in time to 1895 NYC, where you can watch the 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 Bronx Botanical Gardens, and more. Sleigh rides, life-sized mice, and plenty of visual treats make this one a treat at any age.

Fri. Dec. 13-Sun., Dec.15, Various times
Tickets: $60-70
The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College
E. 68th St. btwn Park & Lexington Aves.
Midtown East
Online: dancespatrelle.org

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.

Fri., Dec. 13-Sun., Dec. 15
Various times
Laguardia Community College
31-10 Thomson Ave.
Long Island City
Online: joffreyballetschool.com

photo: National Ballet Theatre of Odessa

For Russian Stars in Newark: National Ballet Theatre of Odessa's The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker returns to NJPAC in a delightful, traditional production starring Russia’s acclaimed National Ballet Theatre of Odessa. This version of the ballet features the original choreography by Marius Petipa with spectacular sets and lavish costumes. 

Sat., Dec. 14, 2019, 2 & 7 p.m.
Tickets: $26- $79
Prudential Hall
1 Center St.
Newark, NJ
online: njpac.org

photo: Brooklyn Ballet

For a Brooklyn Ballet: 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. Set, naturally, in the borough, the classic characters are updated to represent the cultural diversity the you'll find in the county of Kings. 

Sat., Dec. 14, 2 & 7 p.m.
Tickets: $30-$115
Kings Theatre
1027 Flatbush Ave.
online: kingstheater.com

photo: The Salzburg Marionette Theatre

For a Puppet Nutcracker: The Salzburg Marionette Theatre’s Nutcracker

Coming to Queens all the way from Austria, it’s The Salzburg Marionette Theatre’s unique version of the classic Nutcracker. You haven’t seen The Nutcracker quite like this before, with hand carved and painted puppets!

Wed., Dec. 4, 7 p.m.
Tickets: $6-$14
Flushing Town Hall
137-35 Northern Blvd.
online: flushingtownhall.org

For a Starter Nutcracker: My First Nutcracker

New York City Children's Theater presents the classic holiday story adapted especially for young audiences. In this 50-minute production, audiences will travel with Clara and the Prince to a magical kingdom filled with delicious treats, dancing flowers, and a pesky mouse king.

Nov. 23-Dec. 22
Sat. & Sun., 11 a.m. & 2 p.m.  
Tickets: $32.25-$39.35
Theatre Row
410 W. 42nd St.
online: nycchildrenstheater.org

For a Pacifist Production: Great Russian Nutcracker by Moscow Ballet & Brighton Beach Ballet

For a beautiful take on an already stunning ballet, see the Dove of Peace version of the Nutcracker. Performed by world-class Russian ballerinas, this performance focuses on the idea of peace and harmony between all living things and features hand-painted sets, Russian nesting dolls and snow maidens, and other cultural updates on the classic.

Sat., Dec. 7, 2 & 7 p.m.
Tickets: $45-$125
Kings Theater
1027 Flatbush Ave.
Prospect Park South
Online: nutcracker.com

The Abridged: The Nutcracker by The School of Russian American Ballet

This condensed version of the performance provides another option for the smallest ballet-enthusiasts. The pace is faster and more upbeat than the original, providing viewers with non-stop engaging visuals as over 60 dancers take to the stage. This performances is recommended for kids ages four and up. The price for this event also includes the earlier Winter Holiday Class Concert, in which students showcase what they've learned over the year.

Sat., Dec. 21
6:30 p.m.
Kingsborough Community College
Leon M. Goldstein Performing Arts Center
2001 Oriental Blvd
Manhattan Beach
Online: brightonballet.org

—Jesseca Stenson & Yuliya Geikhman


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