Family-Friendly, Traditional, Warmth of the Holiday Season



December 9 – 24, 2017

A cherished holiday classic, Orange County’s premier ballet company, Festival Ballet Theatre presents the traditional full-length production of The Nutcracker. This family-friendly classical ballet dazzles audiences of all ages.   Children, adults and the young at heart will enjoy The Nutcracker’s colorful scenery, magnificent costumes and sensational dancing.

From the warmth of the Stahlbaum home to the magical Land of the Sweets, homegrown talented company dancers, children from across Southern California and famed guest artists are sure to create sweet holiday memories for your family. Action, adventure, excitement, and grandeur combine to make this a charming, swiftly paced entertainment as the Sugar Plum Fairy, heroine Clara, and a cast of hundreds take you and your family on a magical journey.

This holiday celebration features dancing toys, mischievous mice, sparkling snowflakes and waltzing flowers.  The beautiful Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier are a highlight of Clara’s adventure.

Guests Artists Include:

Beckanne Sisk – Ballet West
Fabrice Calmels – Joffrey Ballet
Saturday, December 9 at 2pm
Saturday, December 9 at 7pm
Sunday, December 10 at 1pm
Sunday, December 10 at 6pm

Tara Ghassemieh, Festival Ballet Theatre
Vitor Luiz, San Francisco Ballet
Friday, December 15 at 7pm

Frances Chung, San Francisco Ballet
Vitor Luiz, San Francisco Ballet
Saturday, December 16 at 2pm
Saturday, December 16 at 7pm

Maria Kochetkova, San Francisco Ballet
Vitor Luiz, San Francisco Ballet
Sunday, December 17 at 1pm
Sunday, December 17 at 6pm

Irina Dvorovenko, Former American Ballet Theatre Principal
Maxim Beloserkovsky, Former American Ballet Theatre Principal
Wednesday, December 20 at 6pm
Thursday, December 21 at 6pm
Friday, December 22at 7pm

Tiler Peck, New York City Ballet
Andrew Veyette, New York City Ballet
Saturday, December 23 at 2pm
Saturday, December 23 at 7pm
Sunday, December 24 at 11am

*Guest artists may be subject to change

Join Us For A Very Special Pre-Show Event

We are delighted to offer a very special pre-show event before select performances of The Nutcracker.

Guests will enjoy tea, lemonade, finger sandwiches and sweet treats with Clara herself… champagne for the grown-ups as well. Clara will tell the story of the Nutcracker and talk to her guests about the ballet and her magical adventure. Expect a special appearance by the Nutcracker Prince and his archenemy, the Mouse King, too!

Photo opportunities and a party favor for each guest included. Tea Party begins one-hour prior to show start time in the Irvine Barclay Jade Room.

Cost: $20 addition to regular ticket price – Limited number of tickets available


Performance Dates and Times:

Saturday, December 9, 2017 @ 2:00 and 7:00 pm (Nutcracker Tea Party)
Sunday, December 10, 2017 @ 1:00 and 6:00 pm (Nutcracker Tea Party)
Friday, December 15, 2017 @ 7:00 pm (Nutcracker Tea Party)
Saturday, December 16, 2017 @ 2:00 and 7:00 pm (Nutcracker Tea Party)
Sunday, December 17, 2017 @ 1:00 and 6:00 pm (Nutcracker Tea Party)
Wednesday, December 20, 2017 @ 6:00 pm
Thursday, December 21, 2017 @ 6:00 pm
Friday, December 22, 2017 @ 7:00 pm (Nutcracker Tea Party)
Saturday, December 23, 2017 @ 2:00 and 7:00 pm (Nutcracker Tea Party)
Sunday, December 24, 2017 @ 11:00 AM

Tickets: $42 – $55
For group discounts, please call the box office.



Festival Ballet Theatre’s The Nutcracker

  • Set to Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s iconic (traditional) score
  • Features world-renowned guest artists, FBT’s professional company dancers, exceptional young talent from across the Southland, and a cast of more than 200 Southern California children
  • Full-length, traditional production choreographed and directed by Festival Ballet Theatre’s Artistic Director Salwa Rizkalla
  • Family-friendly, fast-paced production perfect for all ages
  • Colorful scenery and dazzling costumes by Simon Pastukh and Galina Solovyeva


 Act I

At the home of Dr. and Mrs. Stahlbaum, guests attending the Stahlbaum family’s holiday party arrive and are graciously greeted by the hosts and their children, Fritz and Clara.

Scene I: The Party

At the party, parents and children dance, visit and exchange gifts. Clara’s godfather, the mysterious Dr. Drosselmeyer, arrives with festive, awe-inspiring boxes from which a life-sized Porcelain Doll,

Harlequinette and Toy Soldier come to life and dance. The children can hardly believe their eyes. After an argument arises between Fritz and Clara, Dr. Drosselmeyer comforts his goddaughter with the gift of a wooden nutcracker soldier. The new toy enchants Clara but, out of jealousy, Fritz grabs the toy and breaks it. Coming to the rescue once again, Dr. Drosselmeyer mends the nutcracker. All the girls join Clara in a lullaby dance with their new dolls – protecting them from Fritz and his fellow mischief-makers.

As the party winds down and the guests begin to leave, the Stahlbaums retire for the evening. Clara wants to take her injured nutcracker to her room, but her mother has her place the toy under the tree with the other gifts.

Scene II: The Battle

During the night, a worried Clara checks on her beloved nutcracker. While in the parlor, she is frightened by large mice and their gruesome leader, the Mouse King. Dr. Drosselmeyer appears, and using his magical powers, commands the Christmas tree to grow and brings the nutcracker to life. Now a life-size soldier, the Nutcracker leads an army of toy soldiers in a battle against the ferocious Mouse King and his minions. When the Mouse King wounds the Nutcracker, Clara runs to his rescue and distracts the evil beast. The Nutcracker protects Clara by slaying the Mouse King and is transformed into a handsome Prince. As a show of gratitude, he takes Clara on a magical journey.

Scene III: The Land of Snow

The Nutcracker Prince and Clara travel through the Land of Snow, presided over by the graceful Snow Queen. The delicate Snowflakes whirl to the delight of Clara and her Nutcracker Prince, and with the help of their gracious Snow Queen, send them off to the Kingdom of Sweets.

Act II

Clara and the Nutcracker Prince arrive in the Kingdom of Sweets where they are welcomed by the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier. In the Palace of the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Nutcracker Prince reenacts the fearsome battle with the Mouse King and credits Clara’s courage for saving his life. An immediate celebration in honor of our heroine is proclaimed. One after another, Spanish dancers, Chinese dancers, Arabian dancers, Russian dancers, Merlitons, Mother Ginger and her Gingersnaps, as well as the elegant Dew Drop and her delicate flowers dance in honor of Clara. As a final tribute to Clara and her Prince, the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier perform a special pas de deux. At the close of the ballet, Clara is left wondering if this incredible journey was real or just an exciting, wonderful dream.


Festival Ballet Theatre’s Nutcracker history

  • Performances began in 1989
  • Presented at various Orange County venues throughout the years:
    – Historic Huntington Beach High School Auditorium
    – Orange Coast College’s Robert B. Moore Theatre
    – Carpenter Performing Arts Center in Long Beach
  • Performed annually since 2007 at the beautiful 754-seat Irvine Barclay Theatre on the University of California, Irvine campus