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Don’t miss the captivating George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker at the Academy of Music


The Pennsylvania Ballet kicked off the holiday season on opening night, December 7th, with George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ at the Academy of Music. Don’t miss the captivating George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker at the Academy of Music

This stunning ballet has truly outdone itself. Now in its 50th year, the PA Ballet creates yet another gorgeous, beautifully done masterpiece, carefully crafting music, dance, art and song all within the most-loved Christmas ballet of all time.

The company, which was was founded in 1963 by Balanchine student and protégée Barbara Weisberger, is headquartered in Philadelphia and is one of the nation’s leading ballet companies. The company’s annual local season features six programs of classic favorites and new performances, including the Philadelphia holiday tradition of  The Nutcracker™.

Running until December 29th, children of all ages can delight in this classic. The ballet boasts dazzling costumes and sets, first-rate dancing from the principals and from dozens of young students from The School of Pennsylvania Ballet, with the magic of a Broadway spectacular, but closer to home in our city. Plus, the outstanding Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra and the soulful Philadelphia Boys Choir bring the masterful Tchaikovsky score to life.

“In our 50th Anniversary Season, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ puts everyone in the holiday spirit,”  said Pennsylvania Ballet Executive Director Michael Scolamiero.

When the curtain goes up, the audience is immediately a part of the exhilarating Christmas Eve night with friends and family at the Stahlbaum house. This beloved ballet tells the story of Marie and her brother Fritz with their friends and family, and Marie’s enchanted adventure to the Land of Sweets with the Nutcracker-turned-Prince after defeating the scary Mouse King. Performances by the Sugarplum Fairy and her Cavalier, the Snowflakes, Dewdrop and her Flowers, the little angles, Coffee, Tea, Hot Chocolates and Candy Canes will enthrall the audience.

This is one of the best performances of the Nutcracker™ I have seen to date- the entire cast seemed so happy to be on stage, dancing with excitement and laughter. Little Marie and her prince were a wonderful couple and truly charming. 

Before any PA Ballet performance, make sure you visit 10 Arts Lounge at the Ritz Carlton Philadelphia. Small plates appetizers such as Philly pretzels with cheddar sauce, dijon mustard, and jalapeno jam; fresh oysters, mac, ham and cheese, philly cheesesteak sliders, pork sliders, roasted nuts, fresh bread, mini pork or beef sliders, roasted Kennett Square mushrooms with garlic and parmesan, small salads and so much more. The drinks menu is gorgeous, try the Blair and Pear, a sweet lemony-honeyed cocktail with vodka, pear and lavender. And for dessert, sample an array of chocolates and sweets, and the hot chocolate comes highly recommended with all kinds of sweet toppings.

Spend a night or a weekend filling your stocking with the holiday spirit at George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™. 

Tickets to all 24 performances of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ at the Academy of Music are on sale now, starting at $35. Tickets are available online at paballet.org, by phone at 215.893.1999, and in person at the Kimmel Center Box Office.

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ performances at the Academy of Music:
Friday, December 13 at 7 p.m.
Saturday, December 14 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Sunday, December 15 at noon and 5 p.m.
Thursday, December 19 at 7 p.m.
Friday, December 20 at 7 p.m.
Saturday, December 21 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Sunday, December 22 at noon and 5 p.m.
Monday, December 23 at 2 p.m.
Tuesday, December 24 at noon
Thursday, December 26 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Friday, December 27 at 2 p.m.
Saturday, December 28 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Sunday, December 29 at noon and 5 p.m.

And don’t miss these Nutcracker happenings:

“Nutcracker Magic” Children’s Party
Saturday, December 14 at noon
The Bellevue and Academy of Music

Don’t miss Pennsylvania Ballet’s glorious holiday fundraiser, a family tradition for more than 25 years. Children will be charmed by entertainers, crafts, games, and costumed characters like the Sugarplum Fairy and the Mouse King, plus a delicious lunch, all inside the magnificent ballroom at The Bellevue. All children will be invited to make a holiday card for a patient at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Following the food and festivities, guests will enjoy a performance of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ at the Academy of Music at 2 p.m. Tickets to Nutcracker Magic are $150 or $250, and sponsorship opportunities are available from $500 to $5,000. All sponsors receive free Pennsylvania Ballet tickets to donate to the charity of their choice. For more information and tickets, contact Manager of Special Events Barbara Vogdes at 215.587.6916 or bvogdes@paballet.org.


Behind the Scenes of the Nutcracker
On view November 14, 2013 – February 2014
Philadelphia History Museum

The Philadelphia History Museum will celebrate the magic of the holidays with an exhibition that takes a peek behind the curtain of one of Philadelphia’s most beloved performances.  In the Museum’s Philadelphia Voices: Community History Gallery, Behind the Scenes of the Nutcracker, tells the story of 45 years of Pennsylvania Ballet’s presentation of The Nutcracker in Philadelphia.


Christine Tarlecki is a freelance writer from Phoenixville and is on Twitter and Facebook under @engchik. Christine also reviews beauty products weekly on her blog 500 Days of Beauty, which features womens' and mens' items as well as bath and body products (#500DaysofBeauty)

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George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ is supported by First Niagara Foundation, and PECO is Program Sponsor of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™.

Special thanks to Marissa Montenegro, Public Relations Manager of the Pennsylvania Ballet.

Special thanks to Bradley and Miguel and staff at 10 Arts Bistro at the Ritz Carlton Philadelphia.

Pennsylvania Ballet Company Member Alexander Peters photo: Alexander Iziliaev