A holiday must-see, full of magic and marvels and featuring Tchaikovsky’s beloved score performed by the incomparable Cleveland Orchestra. The Joffrey Ballet’s production has been captivating audiences for a quarter century with brilliant costumes, larger-than-life scenery, entrancing storytelling, and breathtaking dancing.
The Cleveland Orchestra
The Joffrey Ballet
The Cleveland Orchestra
conducted by Tito Muñoz
A Ballet in Two Acts
based on The Nutcracker and the Mouse King
by E.T.A. Hoffmann (1776-1822)
and with music composed
by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)
A Robert Joffrey Production
Conceived and directed by Robert Joffrey
with choreography for "Waltz of the Snowflakes"
and "Waltz of the Flowers" by Gerald Arpino
Originally staged by George Verdak and Scott Barnard
Scenery by Oliver Smith
Creative design for The Mice, Mother Ginger,
and Clara's House by Kermit Love
Lighting by Jack Mehler after original designs by Thomas Skelton
Conceived from the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo 1940 production
revived by Alexandra Fedorova
from the original Petipa/Ivanov production
for the Maryinsky Ballet
THE BALLET IS PRESENTED WITH ONE INTERMISSION.
Presented by arrangement with Opus 3 Artists LLC.
Scene 1 — It is Christmas Eve in an American city in the 1850s. Mayor and Mrs. Stahlbaum and their domestic help are preparing for a party. The two children, Clara and Fritz, join their parents in the parlor and enthuse over the Christmas tree and its treasures. Soon their guests arrive laden with gifts. The last to appear are the mysterious Dr. Drosselmeyer, Clara and Fritz’s godfather, with Drosselmeyer’s nephew. They have brought many wonderful gifts and surprises for the Stahlbaums and their friends. Young and old are delighted and amused by the mechanical dolls — Columbine, Harlequin, the Vivandiere, and the Soldier — which dance for the guests. As a special gift for Clara, Dr. Drosselmeyer has brought a Nutcracker. Fritz, who with his friends has been teasing the girls, snatches it away and accidentally breaks it. Godfather Drosselmeyer bandages the Nutcracker and comforts the heartbroken Clara. But the hour is growing late; the guests take their leave, and the family goes upstairs to bed.
Scene 2 — It is midnight. Everyone is sleeping but Clara, who has returned to the parlor to fetch her Nutcracker from under the tree. She hears a noise. A small mouse scurries by, then another. The mice begin to tease her, but Godfather Drosselmeyer has returned to chase them away and to transform the small Nutcracker into a life-size Nutcracker Doll. Suddenly, the parlor disappears, and the Christmas tree grows before our very eyes. The toy soldiers that have been standing guard under the tree have grown to life size. The Nutcracker Doll summons the soldiers to battle with the mice, who are now led by the seven-headed Mouse King. Clara returns with her Godfather Drosselmeyer, and, just in time, she throws her slipper at the Mouse King and saves the NutcrackerDoll. With Clara’s kiss, he is transformed into the Nutcracker Prince, who bears a striking resemblance to Dr. Drosselmeyer’s nephew.
Scene 3 — Godfather Drosselmeyer leads Clara and the Nutcracker Prince into the Land of Snow. Here they meet the Snow Queen and King and Snow Prince, who look remarkably like Clara’s mother, father, and brother. The enchanted journey continues to the Kingdom of Sweets.
The Sugar Plum Fairy welcomes Clara, the Nutcracker Prince, and Dr. Drosselmeyer to theKingdom of Sweets. The Nutcracker Prince tells the Sugar Plum Fairy about their magical battle with the mice. Gifts are presented to Clara. The subjects of this enchanted kingdom are the dolls from under Clara’s tree. Divertissements from all over the world and the flowers from her Victorian bouquet have grown to life size and dance in her honor. But all dreams must come to an end, and children must return home to their loving families. Clara, too, departs the land of dreams and returns home where her parents wait to welcome her.