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Where To See The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker is one of the most watched performances, and one that many people make a tradition of seeing year after year. Here’s a list of all the places you can go to see a live performance of The Nutcracker in Orange County.

Where To See The Nutcracker Ballet

The Nutcracker Ballet

The Nutcracker is a ballet with music by Tchaikovsky, based on the story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King by E.T.A. Hoffmann and adapted by Alexandre Dumas. The story follows a young girl, Clara, whose nutcracker comes to life on Christmas Eve. The Nutcracker Prince takes Clara to a magical land of dolls with music, dancing, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and the Mouse King – part of an enchanting journey that Clara will never forget. Clara awakens the next morning under the Christmas Tree still holding her nutcracker in her arms.

Anaheim Center for the Performing Arts

Where: City National Grove
Address: 2200 E Katella Ave, Anaheim, CA 92806
Performance by Sunrise Ballet

Friday, November 25, 2022 – 7:00 PM 9:00 PM
Saturday, November 26, 2022 – 2:00 PM 4:00 PM

A tradition for over 30 years, the two hour performance by Sunrise Ballet includes a 15 minute intermission.

Casa Nutcracker – Casa Romantica

415 Avenida Granada, San Clemente, CA 92672
December 7 & 8, 2023 | 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Performed by the Orange County Ballet Theater. This abridged version of the holiday classic features choreography tailored to Casa Romantica’s intimate Main Salon theater, with a runtime of one hour and twenty minutes.

Coast Hills Church

5 Pursuit, Aliso Viejo, CA
Performance By Laguna Dance Theatre
Performances 2023 TBA

The whole family will enjoy this performance of The Nutcracker by Laguna Dance Theatre/Laguna Ballet.

Golden West College

15744 Goldenwest St, Huntington Beach
Presented by Ballet Repertory Theatre
December 9 – December 24, 2023

The Golden West College performance of The Nutcracker is put on by the Ballet Repertory Theatre. With over 45 years, this is the longest running performance of The Nutcracker in Orange County. Come out and watch as more than 300 performers bring the magical world of The Nutcracker to life.

City National Grove Of Anaheim

2200 E Katella Ave, Anaheim
Friday, November 24, 2023 @ 7PM
Saturday, November 25, 2023 @ 2PM & 7PM

The Nutcracker Ballet at the Grove of Anaheim will be performed by Anaheim Ballet. Get tickets here.

Huntington Beach High School

1905 Main Street, Huntington Beach
Performance By Ballet Etudes
December 2023: 2PM and 7PM
December 2023: 2PM
December 2023: 2PM and 7PM

Huntington Beach High School hosts several performances of The Nutcracker. This popular performance by Ballet Etudes is a local favorite.

Huntington Beach – Coast City Ballet

Huntington Beach Historic Theater
1905 Main Street, Huntington Beach, CA
Performance By Coast City Ballet
December 15 – 17, 2023

Coast City Ballet proudly presents its 19th production of “The Nutcracker” at Huntington Beach Historic Theater. Based on the original choreography by Marious Petipa and Leon Ivanov, under the direction of Clara D’Autilia, Coast City Ballet’s The Nutcracker captures the enchantment and magic of this timeless holiday favorite. First presented in 2004, Coast City Ballet’s The Nutcracker has since become one of the most beloved and entertaining productions in Southern California.

Company members, guest artists, and dancers from throughout California come together to present the story of Clara and her beloved Nutcracker in a family friendly full-length production.

Join Clara as she journeys through an enchanted forest where snowflakes dance in ever changing patterns, see toys come to life, marvel in the enchantment of this fairy tale ballet, experience the magic of dance!

For ticket purchase or more information visit or email [email protected]

Huntington Beach Public Library

7111 Talbert Avenue, Huntington Beach
Performance By Festival Ballet Theatre
December 2 & 3, 2023

The Huntington Beach Public Library presents a classic shortened and narrated version of the holiday favorite, The Nutcracker, especially for children. The performance is held in the Library Theater and lasts approximately 45 minutes. This performance benefits the Friends of the Children’s Library. The ballet features the music of Pyotr Tchaikovsky, professional costumes, professional guest artists and a cast of young Orange County dancers.

Irvine Barclay Theater

4242 Campus Dr, Irvine, CA 92612
Performance by Festival Ballet Theatre
Select dates December 9-24, 2023

Festival Ballet Theatre will offer a traditional version of The Nutcracker and a special pre-show Nutcracker Tea Party on select dates. Buy tickets here.

Laguna Beach Festival of the Arts – Forum Theater 

650 Laguna Canyon Rd, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Performance presented by: California Ballet Theater & Pryntsev Ballet Academy 
Dates: TBA 

Pryntsev Ballet Academy is excited to present its 2nd annual performance of The Nutcracker. This is a slightly abbreviated version of the classical ballet production with a cast ranging from 5 – 18+ years of age it is great for all ages to see. 

Contact: [email protected] for more information

Nouveau Chamber Ballet

Lois Ellyn Ballet Studio and Nouveau Chamber Ballet will be presenting Act II of the Nutcracker Ballet. This is a one-hour performance specially made for children of all ages.

Nutcracker + Ballet at The Reading Reef (Pacific City)

21010 Pacific Coast Highway Level 1, Huntington Beach, CA
2023 TBA

Enjoy a story time with local author and entrepreneur Maureen McCabe plus a brief demonstration of Festival Ballet Theatre’s Nutcracker Ballet. Guests can also partake in a mini ballet class with the ballerinas and make a nutcracker themed craft.

Segerstrom Center For The Art

600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa
Performance by American Ballet Theatre
Multiple showtimes available
December 8-17, 2023

The Segerstrom Center hosts the annual performance of The Nutcracker by the American Ballet Theatre with music performed by the Pacific Symphony. This is one of the most popular performances in Orange County with more than 100 performers in extravagant costumes.

Also, at Segerstrom, Festival Ballet Theatre presents 45-minute children’s performances of the Nutcracker with free activities in the lobby prior to the performances. Performances are on December 2, 2023 at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

Tustin Dance Center

8435 Firestone Boulevard, Downey, California 90241

  • Saturday, December 2, 2023
    • 2:00 pm
    • 6:30 pm
  • Sunday, December 3, 2023
    • 2:00 pm

The Tustin Dance Center presents The Nutcracker Ballet. Dozens of ballerinas and dance students of all ages will perform at the Downey Theatre.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is the Nutcracker ballet?
There are many different versions of the Nutcracker ballet but generally they are between 1.5 hours to 2.5 hours (with intermissions). Children’s performances are usually about 1 hour.

Who wrote the Nutcracker?
In 1816 German author E.T.A. Hoffmann wrote the book “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.” The story was adapted in 1844 by the French author Alexandre Dumas. In 1892, Russian composer Tchaikovsky and Russian choreographer Marius Petipa made it into a two act ballet called “The Nutcracker.”

Where was the nutcracker first performed?
The Nutcracker ballet was first performed at the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, Russia on December 17, 1892.

How many acts are there in The Nutcracker Ballet?
There are two acts in the Nutcracker ballet.

Who wrote the original Nutcracker music?
Russian Pyotr Tchaikovsky composed the Nutcracker music in 1892.

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Heidi Deal is the author of the Newcomers Handbook to Living In Los Angeles & Orange County, and a children’s book author specializing in history and human rights.