Oh! the magic of the holidays. A time when traditions are steadfast, family and friends gather, hope is paramount and joyous times are upon us. It’s a time-honored tradition to watch The Nutcracker during the holidays and Segerstrom Center for the Arts has brought in American Ballet Theatre for this must-see performance.
Grab yourself a Sweet Seat (more about those below) at Segerstrom and watch the classic story of Clara, a young girl who is given a Nutcracker doll at Christmas. This dreamy adventure starts the moment Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky’s score rings through the air. There are two acts with a total of five scenes: The Kitchen; The Party; The Battle; The Snow; and the Land of the Sugar Plum Fairy.
It’s Christmas Eve and the Stahlbaum holiday party is underway. Stahlbaum’s two children, Clara and her brother, Fritz, are close by. Mice begin to overtake the kitchen looking for crumbs. Clara’s godfather, Drosselmeyer who is also a toymaker, magically appears out of nowhere and hands out life-sized dolls. He gives Clara a special Nutcracker dressed as a soldier. Fritz grabs the Nutcracker and breaks it, leaving Clara distraught. Drosselmeyer repairs the Nutcracker and leaves it near the tree.
Clara wakes during the night and goes downstairs to retrieve the Nutcracker. Mice scurry into the room, and carries off the Nutcracker. A battle between mice and toy soldiers ensues. A Mouse King appears and duels the Nutcracker. When all seems hopeless for the Nutcracker, Clara heaves her show at the Mouse King leaving the Nutcracker victorious and allows him to turn into a Prince.
Snowflakes start to fall in the Stahlbaum’s parlor and soon a relentless blizzard is in full force. Drosselmeyer rescues the Prince and Clara by weigh of sleigh and transports them to the Land of the Sugar Plum Fairy. The Fairy, who is impressed with Clara’s bravery, dedicates a festival in Clara’s honor. Clara is then turned into a beautiful Princess and embraces the Nutcracker Prince as they share their first dance.
The American Ballet Theatre has performed in over 136 cities across 50 countries. They have a cast of over 100 performers dolled up in dazzling, festive costumes designed by Richard Hudson. Hudson is also responsible for the larger-than-life stage sets with sparkling snow, a glistening Christmas tree and alluring scenes. Choreography is directed by Alexei Ratmansky, a former ballet dancer. The caliber of the dancers along with the imagination and creative work of Ratmansky creates just the right amount of dramatic flair.
Tickets start at $29.00. The ballet performance lasts approximately 105 minutes. A limited number of Sweet Seats, which are composed of prime Orchestra seating and trinkets such as a collectible poster of The Nutcracker, a delectable holiday cookie, and a Segerstrom Center keepsake ornament.