Ask any theater buff. No winter holiday season is complete without a performance of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Christmas classic tale, “The Nutcracker.” Usually a traditional ballet, “The Nutcracker” has charmed audiences with its tale of magic and merriment for over a century.
The original “Nutcracker” was first performed in Russia, with ballerinas gracing the stage of St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre.
Today, “The Nutcracker” may be seen in countless adaptations, from traditional ballets to figure skating shows, do-it-yourself dances and even barking dogs.
Here are a dozen “Nutcracker” performances of all sorts, both amateur and professional, offered all over Chicagoland for the 2010 holiday season. Chicago “Nutcracker” shows are listed alphabetically – for easy reference.
Ticket prices and seating options vary widely, and school field trip discounts may be offered for some presentations of “The Nutcracker.” Theatre fans are advised to check with individual venues for details and availability. (CTRL-click on each title to open that theatre organization’s website in a new internet window.)
2936 N. Southport Avenue, Chicago, Illinois
Ballet Chicago raises the curtain on “The Nutcracker” in Chicago’s Athenaeum Theatre on Friday, December 17th (7:00 p.m.). Performances will also take place on Saturday, December 18th (2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.), and Sunday, December 19th (3:00 p.m.).
Chodl Auditorium, 2423 S. Austin St., Cicero, Illinois
708- 222 – 5867
Cicero’s Chodl Auditorium will feature Ballet Legere’s 25th anniversary presentation of “The Nutcracker” from December 7th through December 12th. With a cast of more than 130 and a full orchestra, Ballet Legere’s “Nutcracker” is a popular draw.
Barrington Youth Dance Ensemble
758 W. Northwest Highway, Barrington, Illinois
The 100-plus Barrington Youth Dance Ensemble students present “The Nutcracker” at the Barrington High School Auditorium (616 W. Main St.) on Friday, December 3rd (7:00 p.m.); Saturday, December 4th (2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.); and Sunday, December 5th (2:00 p.m.).
Chicago Cultural Center
78 E. Washington St., Chicago, Illinois
“Nutcracker” fans are invited to join the fun in the “Dance-Along Nutcracker” at the Chicago Cultural Center on Sunday, December 5th. Workshops will be held at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., with performances at noon and 3:00 p.m.
Chicago Festival Ballet
Rialto Square Theatre, 102 N. Chicago St., Joliet, Illinois
The Chicago Festival Ballet presents Von Heidecke’s version of “The Nutcracker” at the Rialto Square Theatre on Sunday, November 28th (2:00 p.m.), at Joliet’s Rialto Square Theatre.
540 N. Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville, Illinois
Dancenter North, a performing arts school, presents “The Magic of the Nutcracker” on two pre-Christmas weekends in two Northern Illinois locations.
The troupe will perform the holiday classic at the Libertyville High School Butler Auditorium (708 W. Park Ave.) on Saturday, December 4th (3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.), and Sunday, December 5th (3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.). Encore “Nutcracker” performances will be held at Waukegan’s Genesee Theatre (203 N. Genesee St.) on Saturday, December 11th (3:00 p.m.), and Sunday, December 12th (3:00 p.m.).
House Theatre of Chicago
Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St., Chicago, Illinois
The House Theatre’s “Nutcracker” takes an unconventional approach to Tchaikovsky’s classic. This show, first staged at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre three years ago, is anything but ballet. Matinee and evening performances run through December 26th at the House Theatre of Chicago.
Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, 50 E. Congress Parkway. Chicago, Illinois
The classic Chicago “Nutcracker,” presented by the famous Joffrey Ballet, will take place at the Auditorium Theatre. Shows will run from December 10th through December 26th, with evening and matinee programs available.
Noble Horse Theatre
1410 N. Orleans St., Chicago, Illinois
The Noble Horse Theatre presents “The Nutcracker” on horseback, with trick riders performing equestrian feats, for an exciting equine holiday theater treat. “The Nutcracker” runs through January 2nd at Chicago’s Noble Horse Theatre.
Pets for Vets/PAWSitive Therapy Troupe
1312 Blanchard St., Downers Grove, Illinois
“The Nutcracker” goes to the dogs in a 45-minute presentation by Pets for Vets, with costumed canines performing. Show dates include Saturday, November 20th (2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.) at Glen Ellyn’s Glen Crest Middle School, and Saturday, December 11th (2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.) at Downers Grove’s Herrick Middle School.
Robert Crown Skating School
1701 Main St., Evanston, Illinois
Skating students and competitive ice skaters will present “The Nutcracker on Ice” at Evanston’s Robert Crown Center. Performances include Friday, December 10th (7:30 p.m.), Saturday, December 11th (2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.) and Sunday, December 12th (2:30 p.m.).
Salt Creek Ballet
98 E. Chicago Avenue, Westmont, Illinois
Sixty-five dancers from the Salt Creek Ballet will perform a traditional Russian version of “The Nutcracker” in multiple performances and locations.
Presentations include Saturday, November 27th, and Sunday, November 28th (1:00 p.m.) at Hinsdale Central High School Auditorium; Saturday, December 4th (1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.) at Aurora’s Paramount Theatre; Saturday, December 11th (1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.) at Chicago’s Governor’s State University Center for Performing Arts; and Saturday, December 18th and Sunday, December 19th (3:00 p.m.), at Skokie’s North Shore Center for Performing Arts.