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Where To See The Nutcracker

One of the most watched performances, attending The Nutcracker is something many people make a tradition of doing every holiday season. Here’s a list of many of the live performances of The Nutcracker in Orange County.

Where To See The Nutcracker Ballet

The Nutcracker Ballet

The Nutcracker is a ballet based on the story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King by E.T.A. Hoffmann and adapted by Alexandre Dumas with music by Tchaikovsky. A young girl, Clara’s nutcracker comes to life on Christmas Eve. The Nutcracker Prince takes Clara on an enchanting journey to a magical land of dolls with music, dancing, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and the Mouse King. When Clara awakens the next morning under the Christmas Tree, she is still holding her nutcracker in her arms.

American Ballet Theatre at Segerstrom Center For The Art

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

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.

Nutcracker for Kids at Segerstrom Center For The Art

600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa
Performance by American Ballet Theatre
December 2, 2023 at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

TheFestival Ballet Theatre presents a 45-minute children’s performance of the Nutcracker with free activities in the lobby prior to the performances. Performances are on

Anaheim Ballet at the City National Grove

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.

Festival Ballet Theatre at Irvine Barclay Theater

4242 Campus Dr, Irvine, CA 92612
Performance by Festival Ballet Theatre
Saturday/Sunday, December 9-10, 16-17, 21-24, 2023

Festival Ballet Theatre presents a traditional version of The Nutcracker and a special pre-show Nutcracker Tea Party on select dates.

Nutcracker for Kids at Irvine Barclay Theater

The Nutcracker: Abridged Matinee for Young Audiences

4242 Campus Dr, Irvine, CA 92612
Performance by Festival Ballet Theatre
Saturday/Sunday, December 9-10, 16-17, 21-24, 2023

This one-hour, narrated rendition of The Nutcracker is specially designed to introduce elementary and junior high school students to the beauty of classical ballet and music.

Orange County Ballet Theater | Casa Nutcracker – Casa Romantica

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

An abridged version of The Nutcracker that features choreography tailored uniquely to Casa Romantica’s intimate Main Salon theater, with a runtime of one hour and twenty minutes.

Laguna Dance Theatre/Laguna Ballet at Capo Valley High School

Capistrano Valley High School | 301 Via Escolar, Mission Viejo, CA 92692

Thursday, Dec. 21st at 7pm (Red Cast)
Friday, Dec. 22nd at 7pm (Green Cast)
Saturday, Dec. 23rd at 1pm (Red Cast) & 6pm (Green Cast)

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

Pryntsev Ballet Academy at Santa Ana High School

Santa Ana High School | 520 W. Walnut St. Santa Ana CA 92701
Performance presented by: California Ballet Theater & Pryntsev Ballet Academy 
Saturday, December 2, 2023 at 6pm
Sunday, December 3, 2023 at 4pm

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.

Nouveau Chamber Ballet at Fullerton College

Fullerton College Campus Theater | 321 E. Chapman Avenue, Fullerton California 92832

Dates: Saturday & Sunday, December 16 & 17, 2023 | 2 PM

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.

Tustin Dance Center at Downey Theatre

Downey Theatre | 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.

Coast City Ballet at Huntington Beach Historic Theater

Huntington Beach Historic Theater
1905 Main Street, Huntington Beach, CA
December 15 – 17, 2023

Coast City Ballet’s The Nutcracker is based on original choreography by Marious Petipa and Leon Ivanov, under the direction of Clara D’Autilia. Coast City Ballet has been performing The Nutcracker each year since 2004 and it has become one of the Southern California/Orange County areas most beloved productions of this classic ballet.

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 with enchanting snowflakes and magical dance throughout Clara’s journey.

Festival Ballet Theatre at Huntington Beach Public Library

Huntington Beach Public Library | 7111 Talbert Avenue, Huntington Beach
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.

Ballet Repertory Theatre at Golden West College

Golden West College | 15744 Goldenwest St, Huntington Beach
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.

Ballet Etudes at Huntington Beach High School

Huntington Beach High School | 1905 Main Street, Huntington Beach
Saturday, December 2, 2023: 2PM and 7PM
Sunday, December 3, 2023: 2PM and 7PM
Sunday, December 3, 2023: 2PM

Huntington Beach High School and Ballet Etude host several performances of The Nutcracker. This popular full-length production by Ballet Etudes is a local favorite. More than 100 young dancers from Orange County present this 2-hour performance with music by Tchaikovsky, professional costumes, snow and other special effects. Educational presentations are given 30 minutes before the beginning of the 2pm performances.

Ballet Etudes Nutcracker for Kids at HB Central Children’s Library

Huntington Beach Central Children’s Library

Saturday, October 28, 2023 | 10:30am – 12:00pm
Tuesday, November 7, 2023 | 9:30am – 12:00pm
Tuesday, November 14, 2023 | 9:30am – 12:00pm

Ballet Etudes presents The Nutcracker Ballet. In this short-format version of the holiday classic, children and families will travel through magical lands with Clara and the Nutcracker. This version of the story is perfect for caregivers looking to introduce their little ones to ballet as an art form.

Nutcracker for Kids + Ballet at Pacific City

The Reading Reef (Pacific City) | 21010 Pacific Coast Highway Level 1, Huntington Beach, CA
Wednesday, December 20, 2023 | 4 – 5pm

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. Dress in your finest ballet or nutcracker costume and make a holiday themed craft.

Ballet Etudes – The Nutcracker at Bella Terra

Bella Terra | Pavilion Event Plaza (large fountain by Soita)

Saturday, November 25, 2023 | 11:00 AM  12:00 PM

Come see Clara, the Nutcracker, Rat King, Sugar Plum Fairy and Snow Queen perform as Ballet Etudes presents excerpts from The Nutcracker. Children from Huntington Academy of Dance will also perform their holiday dances.

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
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. When she's not writing you can find her solo hiking and going on new adventures with her kids and pup.