The Nutcracker Roadmap: 2013 Edition

By Michelle Meywes Kopeny in Arts & Entertainment on Nov 30, 2013 4:00PM

Dance-Along Nutcracker is at the Chicago Cultural Center December 1.

Call us old fashioned, but we like to wait until after Thanksgiving to deck our halls and celebrate the Christmas season. Now that the time has officially arrived, we’re ready for another holiday tradition: The Nutcracker. From professional dance companies to local youth groups to animals on parade, we’ve got you covered with this roadmap of performances around the city.

Dance-Along Nutcracker
December 1
Chicago Cultural Center: 78 E. Washington St.

This Sunday, little ones have the opportunity to learn and then perform for free as part of this special Dance-Along Nutcracker. ARCC Ballet gives the kids basic ballet lessons beginning one hour prior to each performance, and then dancers of all ages and abilities are invited to participate in the main event. Tutus welcome and encouraged. Performances are at 12 and 3pm, with lessons beginning at 11am and 2pm. Free, no tickets required.

The House Theater
Through December 29
Chopin Theatre: 1543 W. Division St.

The House Theater returns to the Chopin Upstairs Theatre for their fifth annual presentation of The Nutcracker. Based on the book “The Nutcracker and the Mouse,” this family friendly play is an original, innovative take on the classic story. Six cast members from last year reprise their roles. Tickets are $25 to $45. Check The House Theater’s website for showtimes.

Robert Joffrey’s The Nutcracker
December 6-28
Auditorium Theatre: 50 E. Congress Pkwy

The Joffrey Ballet presents their 26th annual performance of Robert Joffrey’s The Nutcracker beginning on Friday, December 6. Joffrey originally choreographed this version in 1987, switching out the traditional European setting for a 19th century American home. 118 young dancers along with youngsters from local childrens choirs join the full company on stage for the month long run. Tickets are $31 to $132. For showtimes, check The Joffrey’s website.

Dueling Nutcrackers
December 7
Nichols Concert Hall: 1490 Chicago Ave, Evanston

“Duke It Out” puts Tchaikovsky up against Duke Ellington as the Music Institute of Chicago plays both the original classical and the jazz version of The Nutcracker Suite. Dancers from Foster Dance Company will also perform. Tickets are $5.

Ruth Page Civic Ballet
December 7 and 8
Northeastern Illinois University Auditorium: 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.

This long-running ballet (beginning in 1965 at the Aire Crown Theatre) returns to their new home at NEIU with Ruth Page’s original full-length staging. Meet the dancers at the pre-performance “Brunch With Clara” on December 8 (Check their website for more information and pricing). Tickets are $25 ($18 for students, seniors and children). Performance times are 7pm on Saturday, December 7, and 1 and 5pm on Sunday, December 8.

Moscow Ballet’s “The Great Russian Nutcracker”
December 8
Akoo Theatre: Rosemont

The Moscow Ballet held auditions for young local dancers this summer, and now comes their moment in the spotlight. They’ll take the stage as mice, snowflakes, angels and more alongside professional Russian company dancers. 13-year-old violin virtuoso Hannah White will open the performance as part of the “Musical Wunderkind” program. Tickets start at $28. Performance begins at 3pm.

Hyde Park School of Dance
December 14-15
Mandel Hall: 1131 E. 57th St.

The Hyde Park School of dance closes out their 20th anniversary season with three performances of The Nutcracker. 170 performers will take the stage, from family member volunteers to 5th Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston and Hyde Park Chamber of commerce Executive Director Wallace Goode stepping in to play Mother Ginger. A Sugar Plum Tea after Sunday’s matinee adds to the festivities. Tickets are $20 ($10 for children, students and seniors). Showtimes are Saturday, December 14 at 2 and 7pm, and Sunday, December 15 at 2pm.

Ballet Chicago
December 14-22
Athenaeum Theatre: 2936 N. Southport Ave.

Ballet Chicago’s version of The Nutcracker follows our hero Marie from the Kingdom of Snow to the Land of the Sweets. Things get even sweeter at the Nutcracker Sweets Party (tickets sold separately). Tickets are $24 to $30. Check the Ballet Chicago website for showtimes.

PAWSitive Therapy Group

Unfortunately, PAWSitive Therapy Group’s dog troupe will not be performing the Nutcracker live this year, but you can still purchase a DVD of last year’s show. It makes a great stocking stuffer for animal lovers, but the best part is that the money goes toward a great cause. To learn more about what this Downers Grove based organization does and to order a DVD, visit their website.