Besides mistletoe, egg nog and that sweater from grandma, there’s no greater holiday tradition than “The Nutcracker.” But no two “Nutcrackers” are alike, so we checked them all out to give you an insider’s guide:
From Dec. 22-Jan. 2, the American Ballet Theatre brings “The Nutcracker” to the Brooklyn Academy of Music. A live orchestra will perform Tchaikovsky’s famous score, while more than 100 performers will bring the magical toy soldiers, sparkling fairies, mischievous mice, and, of course, young Clara and her wooden prince to life.
In Bay Ridge, the Vicky Simegiatos Dance Company borrows ballerina Jennifer Ringer, principal of the New York City Ballet, once again for a full-length production on Dec. 19. Ringer stars as the Sugar Plum Fairy, while the rest of the cast is rounded out by the young members of the company for a particularly sweet production.
Similarly, over at the Kingsborough Performing Arts Center, the Brighton Ballet Theater’s Russian American Kids Ballet revives the holiday classic on Dec. 12, with lavish costumes, splendid scenery, and a junior company of more than 50 young dancers in an abridged production. You can catch the Brighton Ballet Theater again at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, as the company performs all your favorite excerpts from “The Nutcracker” on Dec. 19.
“The Nutcracker” wasn’t known for humor until Mark Morris’s “The Hard Nut,” an irreverent take now celebrating its 30th anniversary, Dec. 10-19. Morris’s troupe transplants the story from the decorous 1890s to the swinging 1970s, and live music will be provided by the MMDG Music Ensemble with the Brooklyn Youth Chorus.
The Gowanus-based Company XIV, known for its sensuous, Baroque-inspired performances, gives “The Nutcracker” an erotic makeover with its “Nutcracker Rouge,” running Dec. 10-Jan. 9. In keeping with the company’s opulent flair, this retelling promises to be a hedonistic display of gorgeous and decadent winter entertainment, complete with burlesque that further strays off book as it blends pieces by Tchaikovsky, Vivaldi and Duke Ellington, with text inspired “The Nutcracker” and “Little Red Riding Hood.” That, at least, explains the “rouge.”
“The Colonial Nutcracker,” an annual, hour-long production at the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts on Dec. 12, sets the action in wintry colonial Yorktown in Virginia, during the Revolutionary War. That makes for a red-coated mouse army and an enchanted nutcracker prince in, naturally, a powder wig.
American Ballet Theatre at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Gilman Opera House [30 Lafayette Ave. between Ashland Place and St. Felix Street in Fort Greene, (718) 636-4100], Dec. 22-Jan. 2. Tickets $20-$135. For info, visit bam.org; Vicky Simegiatos Dance Company, Dec. 19 at 7 pm and Dec. 20 at 2 pm at the Poly Prep Country Day School [Seventh Avenue at 92nd Street in Bay Ridge, (347) 517-4169]. Tickets, $25–$35. For info, visit www.vspac.com; Kingsborough Community College [2001 Oriental Blvd. at Decatur Avenue in Manhattan Beach, (718) 368-5596], Dec. 18 at 2 pm. Tickets $12. For info, visit www.kbcc.cuny.edu; Brighton Ballet Theater at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum [145 Brooklyn Ave. between St. Marks Avenue and Prospect Place in Crown Heights, (718) 735-4400], Dec. 19 at 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm. Admission $7.50. For info, visit www.brooklynkids.org.
“The Hard Nut” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Howard Gilman Opera House [30 Lafayette Ave. between Ashland Place and St. Felix Street in Fort Greene, (718) 636-4100], Dec. 10, 11, and 15-18 at 7:30 pm, and Dec. 12 and 19 at 3 pm. Tickets $25-$70. For info, visit bam.org; “Nutcracker Rouge” at Company XIV (303 Bond St. at Union Street in Gowanus, no phone), Dec. 10-Jan. 9, Friday-Sunday at 8 pm. Tickets $25-$40. For info, visit www.companyxiv.com; “The Colonial Nutcracker” at the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College [2900 Campus Rd. at Hillel Place in Flatbush, (718) 951-4600 X22], Dec. 12 at 2 pm. Tickets, $6. For info, visit www.brooklyncenteronline.org.