Biggest Oohs & Aahs: Inland Pacific Ballet (but not so close!)
An eye popping spectacle for kids who love the props, with the 40 ft dragon and real sleigh, along with a big new snowfall scene, which keeps little engineers trying to figure out how they did that, while princess worshipers love the romance of the story and mini-music mavens love the dances and the score.
Westside Ballet’s “The Nutcracker”
when: Starts Dec 2nd at various times
where: The Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica, CA
Lavish costumes and exuberant choreography mesmerize audiences in Westside Ballet of Santa Monica’s rendition of this holiday classic. Showcasing the most promising young dancers in Los Angeles, Westside’s Nutcracker is a full-length ballet in two acts. Reasons we see it year after year? They get that it’s a show for kids! Live music, kids 2 and under sit free on laps and the times (several late morning or every evening shows) mean that kids aren’t tired, hungry or fussy. The Broad Stage also provides booster seats, so everyone can see. And that means everyone has a very merry Nutcracker experience. Event details
Best for Boys: The Hot Chocolate Nutcracker
You’ve got boys and girls to keep happy, and your little man in insisting that ballet is just for girly-girls. Prove to him that that doesn’t have to be the case with this fresh re-telling of the show. Plus, it’s always a treat to take in a show at the Music Center downtown and this spin on the Nutcracker tale is just the ticket. In this rendition, the great Christmas Eve party scene takes place in 1928-era New Orleans. Kara Johnson receives a nutcracker filled with hot chocolate and upon falling asleep is transported to a land of wonder by a trio of mischievous mice. This spin includes an original score by Mariah Carey, young LA dancers who are all students of the Debbie Allen Academy and Debbie Allen herself. Treat your family to this not-so-classic adventure, and those who poo-poo the tutu will have a blast.
December 16 & 17 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Event details.
The Los Angeles Ballet – Not my favorite for young ones
The Los Angeles Ballet was only formed in 2006, but it’s already an institution, and their first production was The Nutcracker. In this production, LAB has stayed true to their classical roots with a little spin: the show is set in LA in 1912 (something to make us love it even more). And as a way to serve their audience in this horizontal city, LAB takes The Nutcracker on the road, performing at four venues, so something should be close to you!
Only in LA: Bob Baker’s Nutcracker
Sure, lots of cities (or every city and even most podunk towns) have a version or two of the Nutcracker at Christmas. But only LA has the inimitable Bok Baker production. Here, the show is performed by over 100 of legendary puppeteer Bob Baker's famous marionettes. This performance, perfect for even kiddos too little to sit through a ballet, features all the characters from the beloved story: Clara and the Nutcracker Prince, the Sugarplum Fairies, the Mouse King, and many more - it's a true puppet extravaganza.
Through January 10 at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater in Echo Park. Event details.
Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker – history but not for little ones
Not that your parents remember 1892, and the first production of The Nutcracker in Russia, but they’ll certainly be able to appreciate the history of this very old fashioned show straight from Moscow. It features the innovative rolling backgrounds, first created by a St Petersburg Conservatory of Music producer, and which were the inspiration for Eisenstein’s cinematic technique. (Just a tidbit for the film geek parents out there.)
The shows are December 16 & 17 at The Wiltern. Event Details
Play Group Gathering: The Nutcracker School Show
You may be dying to take your young ballet lovers to soak in the beauty of this show but also a little worried about their getting through it. Never fear, the Nutcracker School Show is here. This production is a 10 a.m. matinee, the running time is just about an hour and it culminates in snowfall in the audience. Tickets are sold to groups (at $10 per person for groups of 15 or more, but you can get individual tickets for $15) so gather up your little tribe and head to the theatre. Be sure to buy your tickets in advance because this one sells out every year.
December 8 at 10 a.m. at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza.
Red Chair’s “The Nutcracker”
This show is sure to inspire your young crew and has a reasonable run time of 1 hour and 50 minutes. The production features young dancers ages 5-18 that perform alongside adults with a stunning cast of over 100 dancers. If you have a tiny dancer in your home, this is sure to fill them with wonder, inspiration and perhaps plans to take the stage next year.
The show plays December 10 & 11 at the Alex Theater in Glendale. Event details
Best Live Musical Accompaniment: Long Beach Ballet
No canned music here! The Long Beach Ballet production is Southern California’s only one with a full symphony orchestra. So if your little one delights in seeing the musicians and instruments in the pit as well as the dancing on stage, this is the production for you.
Plays December 10, 11, 17 & 18 at the Long Beach Terrace Theater. Event details
Pasadena Dance Theater with a Tea Party
This production takes place in the gorgeous and historic Mission, and is a beautiful production in every way, but the highlight for little ones who dream of the Sugar Plum fairy, emphasis on sugar? Clara’s Nutcracker Party at 12:30 p.m. on December 19 & 20. Our heroine sets a table with tasty treats as tale is told (which helps them understand the show later, when they’re watching it). Nutcracker performers, in costume, hand out favors to all. Space is limited to 80 guests, and tickets are $20.
Actual Sugarplum Sweets: Pasadena Dance Theater
This is a beautiful production presented by one of our local companies and the perfect opportunity to support homegrown artistic effort. With a cast of over 80 dancers performing, it’s a tremendous production that will please everyone. Plus, the company hosts Clara’s Holiday Party on December 17 and 18 at 12:30 p.m. before the show, where refreshments will be served by Clara and the Sugarplum fairy. This party will get the kids buzzing about the room and will give them an opportunity to learn a bit about the story before stepping into that sometimes overwhelming arena of the theatre.
December 10, 11, 17, 18, 22 & 23 Event details