Going to see a performance of The Nutcracker is an annual tradition for many people and their families. This year, in response to restrictions put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most ballet companies were forced to cut their season short -- which also meant canceling performances of the beloved holiday favorite, The Nutcracker.
In good news for fans of The Nutcracker and ballet in general, ballet companies across the country have decided “the show must go on.” While the performances will be different this year, fans will still get to enjoy The Nutcracker.
Here’s a look at how some ballet companies are presenting The Nutcracker this year.
San Francisco Ballet
The San Francisco Ballet has created what it calls an “interactive, virtual performance” of The Nutcracker.
Featuring a high-definition stream of the San Francisco Ballet captured at the War Memorial Opera House in December 2007, the production features Yuan Yuan Tan as the Snow Queen. In addition to the stream access, ticket holders are invited to take an immersive digital journey through the War Memorial Opera House, using interactive activities and videos.
Tickets are on sale for presentations running from November 27 at noon to December 31. Each ticket, which costs $49, provides 48 hours of access.
In a first, the Boston Ballet announced it is partnering with NBC 10 Boston to broadcast a performance of The Nutcracker on TV.
The program, created with previously captured performance footage, will premiere on NBC 10 Boston on Saturday, November 28, at 7:00 p.m., with encore airings and on-demand viewing opportunities on NECN and Spanish-language Telemundo. Free access will also be available at the Boston Ballet’s website.
Pacific Northwest Ballet
While Pacific Northwest Ballet won’t be performing The Nutcracker live this year, it does invite fans to watch the holiday favorite from their homes. Fans can stream an archived performance of The Nutcracker, which has unique-to-Seattle scenery and costumes by Ian Falconer.
Tickets for the digital performance are $39. Streaming begins on December 18 and runs to December 26.
Tickets for a Digital Performance Plus package are $55. That provides unlimited viewing of the streaming, beginning December 11. Its special features include Olivia’s reading list; a gallery of costume sketches by Ian Falconer; and videos of dancers discussing roles that include Mouse King, Sugar Plum Fairy, Mother Ginger, Clara, and Fritz.
Texas Ballet Theater
“The Nutcracker is part of so many families’ holiday traditions, and this year they can keep that tradition going by watching from the safety and comfort of their homes,” Executive Director Vanessa Logan said. “We are excited to offer this alternative and connect with audiences in our Dallas-Fort Worth community, and beyond.”
Indeed, the company will present a filmed production of Artistic Director Ben Stevenson’s The Nutcracker 2012 production, December 14 to 26, on its website. Tickets cost $50 per household. The video can then be watched by accessing a special page on the website using unique login credentials.
St. Louis Ballet
The St. Louis Ballet has announced that beginning December 12, the company will stream a new, fully-produced Nutcracker Extravaganza, which “includes favorite Saint Louis Ballet dances and scenes from years gone by, interspersed with newly-set Nutcracker performances from our 2020-2021 dancers, plus behind-the-scenes interviews and Nutcracker fun you could only witness from the comfort of your home.”
Performances will be streamed at various times on December 12, 13, 19, and 20. It will also stream all day from December 21 to 23. Complimentary tickets are available now.
While the Joffrey Ballet will not perform The Nutcracker live this year, it has debuted a new animated digital display as part of Chicago’s Art on theMART -- the largest permanent digital art projection in the world.
The Nutcracker presentation, set to the music of Tchaikovsky’s score, runs nightly through December 30, at 7:00 and 7:30 p.m., in partnership with Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. The projections -- displayed on theMART’s 2.5-acre river-facade -- can be viewed for free from the jetty section of the Chicago Riverwalk on Wacker Drive between Wells Street and Franklin Street.
The Pennsylvania Ballet will stream a performance of The Nutcracker from December 16 to 25. You can register to be notified when tickets go on sale.
Los Angeles Ballet
While the Los Angeles Ballet will not perform The Nutcracker this year, it has created a special virtual event and fundraiser.
During the virtual Clara's Nutcracker Tea Party, “Clara invites you into her home as she hosts her Nutcracker Tea party with friends Marie, Columbine, Nutcracker, and Snow!” Guests can gather to enjoy an afternoon of interactive play with dancing, magic, music, and crafts.
Clara’s Nutcracker Tea Party will take place on December 20 at 11:00 a.m. Tickets to watch the party are $39.99. Tickets for Clara’s Party Box for two, which includes surprises to open during the tea, are $125.
Taking a different approach, fans are invited to watch the Colorado Ballet’s special presentation of The Nutcracker on Rocky Mountain PBS. It can be watched on a number of days. The production may also be streamed at no cost, any time throughout the holiday season on the Rocky Mountain PBS app.
Ballet And Performing Arts Centre
The Ballet and Performing Arts Centre will perform and record a performance of The Nutcracker on stage at Reynolds Auditorium on November 29. What’s different this year is that there won’t be a live audience. Instead, the recording will be available for viewing on December 12. This abbreviated version of The Nutcracker is called “In A Nutshell.”
The cost to view the video (via Vimeo) will be $40 per household.
Bonus: In-Person Performances
Though many ballet companies are going fully virtual, that’s not the case for all! Two ballet companies -- described below -- are offering safety protocols so The Nutcracker can take place with an audience.
The Indianapolis Ballet will perform “Nutcracker Sweets” live, a condensed version of The Nutcracker at The Toby at Newfields. Performances will be held from December 11 to 20. The show lasts approximately 1 hour, with no intermission.
In accordance with COVID-19 restrictions, there will be socially distanced seating arrangements and a limited capacity of 25 percent of normal seating. Masks and temperature checks are required.
What’s more, hand sanitizing and hand washing stations will be found throughout the building.
Tickets range from $25 to $35.
Miami City Ballet
The Miami City Ballet will perform The Nutcracker live in a series of socially distanced outdoor performances in downtown Doral Park.
The December 18 performance, which is free, is dedicated to and exclusively for first responders and essential workers who have served as front-line heroes of the pandemic.
This is just a sampling of virtual performances of The Nutcracker. Be sure to check your favorite ballet company’s website for information about their performances of The Nutcracker.
Finally, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the cancellation of most ballet company’s 2020 -- 2021 season, which, of course, has resulted in a significant loss of revenue. Some companies have established a relief fund to recoup some lost funds so they can continue operations. We invite you to visit your local ballet company’s website to see if you can make a donation.