7 NYC Nutcrackers

Welcome to November!  With the holidays coming, we are covering all things Nutcracker in NYC in partnership with Petite Seat, a parent’s guide to NYC theatre & live entertainment. There are many different Nutcracker productions, and selecting the right one for your family can sometimes be a challenge. Here are the best family-friendly Nutcrackers in NYC with preparation pointers.

Read on for our quick guide and head over to our petiteseat.com or @petiteseat on instagram for full production details and more tips (plus lots of info on tons of family-friendly shows). Kid On The Town’s holiday guide is coming soon; here’s a preview of our holiday shows listings.

All Events This Week | Weekend Agendas


  GET YOUR KIDS NUTCRACKER READY  

Explain that the performers don’t talk

Let kids know the story will be told through dance, movement and music only.

 

Get familiar with the score

Also watch video clips online. Talk about how different songs make them feel or imagine.

Practice general theatre etiquette

Remind kids to stay seated and that there is no speaking during the performance. They can save their questions and thoughts for intermission or applause between songs.

Get familiar with the story

New York City Ballet has a picture book that follows their version of the story. Each production is a little different; look for a synopsis in the program before the show.

Most importantly, pick the right production. . There is no standard Nutcracker; each production varies in length, plot, setting and ideal audience age. Fortunately, we’ve done the research for you…


NEW YORK CITY BALLET PRESENTS GEORGE BALANCHINE’S THE NUTCRACKER

This is the classic, timeless production that is probably most well known in New York City.  While it is big, beautiful, and quite a spectacle on stage, it’s a full length production, and tickets are expensive.  Many of the audience members are grown ups who expect a quiet viewing experience, so before investing in these tickets, make sure your child knows to sit quietly during the performance.

RECOMMENDED FOR AGES 6+

NEW YORK THEATRE BALLET PRESENTS KEITH MICHAEL’S THE NUTCRACKER
This one hour adaptation, set in Art Nouveau style circa 1907, includes clockwork imps, an owl that flies above the audience, mice dressed in polka dots, and dancers dancing with huge chopsticks. This production takes place at Florence Gould Hall, an intimate theatre space providing excellent views. Special children’s pricing also makes this production a popular choice for families.
RECOMMENDED FOR AGES 3+

**Keith Michael’s The Nutcracker at Brookfield Place is a free version of the above production.  Arrive at least one hour early as seating is first come, first served.

DANCES PATRELLE PRESENTS THE NUTCRACKER

This annual production at Hunter College’s Kaye Playhouse features dance students, ages 5 to 85, alongside professional artists. The lavish Olde New York settings give this production a more local vibe. Expect ice skating in Central Park, Teddy Roosevelt at Gracie Mansion and a sleigh-ride to the New York Botanical Garden. For those looking for the classic, full length experience but without the higher price tag, this is a great option.

RECOMMENDED FOR AGES 5+

THE HIP HOP NUTCRACKER

At the Kings Theatre on Dec 23rd only, virtuosic break dancing tells an uplifting, family-friendly story set in the 1980s and today. The music is still mostly Tchaikovsky’s classic score, though some songs are sonically updated with live electric violin. This version of the Nutcracker is much louder than its traditional counterparts with a pre-show by hip-hop legend Kurtis Blow. For families with younger children, consider seats further back for less of an auditory overload.

RECOMMENDED FOR AGES 5+

THE HARD NUT
Mark Morris Dance Group returns to BAM with their modern dance take on The Nutcracker and it is pretty far from the traditional version. The music and some plot elements remain the same, but this whimsical production features 1970s-inspired technicolor costumes sand sets, men in drag, and modern dance choreography. Though the production has been modified in recent years to be more family friendly, expect an audience of mostly adults: the production is funny, but the witty sense of humor may go over the heads of most kids.

RECOMMENDED FOR AGES 6+

THE MOSCOW BALLET’S GREAT RUSSIAN NUTCRACKER

Presenting world class Russian artists, hand painted sets, Russian Snow Maidens, and jubilant Nesting Dolls, the Great Russian Nutcracker bring the Christmas spirit to life for families. This production features the “Dove of Peace” role, which is exclusive to the Moscow Ballet, and inspired by a principal dancer of the Bolshoi Ballet.

RECOMMENDED FOR AGES 6+

PERIDANCE CONTEMPORARY DANCE COMPANY PRESENTS THE NUTCRACKER

Join world-renowned choreographer Igal Perry for an innovative contemporary Nutcracker experience. With over 60 performers, this version is set to excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s original score as well as new music selected by Igal Perry. The classic story is blended with a fusion of hip hop and contemporary dance to guide you through the falling snowflakes and waltzing flowers.  Certain performances have pre-show receptions for children.

RECOMMENDED FOR AGES 4+


** The Radio City Christmas Spectacular has a cute 10-minute nutcracker section danced by giant bears that little kids love. **


We hope you find the perfect match for you and your family! Special thanks to our partner on this newsletter, Petite Seat, a parent’s guide to NYC theatre & live entertainment. Be sure to follow @petiteseat on Instagram for the latest in NYC kids’ shows (plus @kidonthetown for our cultural adventures).

The Nutcracker by New York City Ballet

Prep for the ballet with a gorgeous picture book that mimics George Balanchine’s choreography and illustrations inspired by the backdrops and scenery from the actual production. A holiday favorite with stylish and modern sensibility.