Numerous Nutcrackers

Crack it up to be a local holiday tradition.

Crack it up to be a local holiday tradition.

It’s a holiday tradition, to sum it up quickly. But The Nutcracker is also a children’s fantasy tale about a mouse king, sugarplum fairy and other colorful characters—all brought to life through Tchaikovsky’s orchestral music and ballet dance. If you look yet a little further, it’s also a polarizing American phenomenon. Some critics revile the production for stunting ballet’s creative growth, while others cherish it and regard it as a traditional American institution. Whether you like it or not, three local dancing troupes will take on the production this holiday season.

One of them is the Sacramento Ballet, in its 24th annual staging. With live music performed by the Sacramento Philharmonic, artistic direction by Ron Cunningham, and dancing from 30 professionals and nearly 500 area children, this is Sacramento’s biggest version of the ballet this year (see a full review of The Nutcracker right). It happens at the Sacramento Community Center Theatre, 1301 L Street. Tickets are $15 to $69. Showtimes are December 16, at 7 p.m.; December 17, at 2 and 7 p.m.; December 18, at 1 and 5 p.m.; December 22, at 2 and 7 p.m.; and December 23, at 2 and 7 p.m. For more information, call (916) 552-5800, or visit

Pamela Hayes Classical Ballet, a local, pre-professional nonprofit ballet, will also perform The Nutcracker. Along with the company’s students, the performance will feature special guest Michael Onstad in the role of Herr Drosselmeyer. It happens at Three Stages at Folsom Lake College, 10 College Parkway in Folsom. Tickets are sold out for both performances, Friday, December 16, and Sunday, December 18, so you’ll need to pull strings to obtain tickets. For more information, call (916) 453-1125, or visit

A third production of The Nutcracker is the longest-running of all area productions of the ballet. Put on by the Davis Community Services Department, the Davis Children’s Nutcracker is an annual tradition celebrating its 35th year. It will be staged by nearly 250 Davis children at the Veteran’s Memorial Theatre, 203 East 14th Street in Davis. Tickets are $9.50 for all performances. It happens December 15, at 7 p.m.; December 16, at 7 p.m.; December 17, at 2 and 7 p.m.; and December 18, at 2 p.m. For more information, call (530) 757-5626, or visit