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16 ‘Nutcracker’ productions to see in Southern California in 2018

It’s “Nutcracker” season.
The fairy-tale ballet tells the story of Clara, a girl who has a vivid dream about a magical holiday wonderland inhabited characters ranging from a Sugar Plum Fairy to a Nutcracker Prince, all dancing to Tchaikovsky’s timeless score. The traditional approach is a holiday classic, but there are a variety of productions that offer their own unique spin on the ballet.
Check out this list of diverse stagings of “The Nutcracker” across Southern California.
Clara sets out on a wondrous journey with her magical nutcracker doll in Inland Pacific Ballet’s holiday tradition, “The Nutcracker.” (Courtesy of Inland Pacific Ballet)
The Mouse Queen and three other wise-cracking rats speak with Kara, the Clara of Debbie Allen’s “Hot Chocolate Nutcracker.” (Photo credit: Lee Tonks)
Sound The gallery will resume in seconds Sarah Lane and Herman Cornejo perform in American Ballet Theatre’s annual production of “The Nutcracker,” at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa Dec. 14-23. (Photo by Doug Gifford)
American Ballet Theatre’s annual production of “The Nutcracker” will be performed Dec. 14-23 at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. (Photo by Doug Gifford)
American Ballet Theatre’s annual production of “The Nutcracker” will be performed Dec. 14-23 at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. (Photo by Gene Schiavone)
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LOS ANGELES COUNTY
“Hot Chocolate Nutcracker”
It’s Christmas Eve at the Johnsons’ party and little Kara has just unwrapped a Nutcracker filled with hot chocolate – her favorite!
When : 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6-7, 1 and 7 p.m. Dec. 8, and 2 p.m. Dec. 9
Where : Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Redondo Beach
Tickets : $40-$110
Information : 213-972-8550. www.hotchocolatenutcracker.com
Bob Baker’s Nutcracker
Go on an adventure with more than 100 of Bob Baker Marionette Theater’s hand-crafted puppets in this adaptation of the ballet classic, performed outside of its original home for the first time since 1969.
When : 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24-25, Dec. 1-2 and Dec. 8-9, 10:30 a.m. Nov. 30, Dec. 6-7, Dec. 13-14, Dec. 18-20 and Dec. 26-28, 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Dec. 15-16, Dec. 22-23 and Dec. 30, 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Dec. 21, and 11:30 a.m. Dec. 29
Where : Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena
Tickets : $20. Free for children under 2
Information : 626-356-7529. www.pasadenaplayhouse.org
Long Beach Ballet
Performed with a full symphony orchestra, this production is “ lush, special-effects-packed .”
When : 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 15 and Dec. 22, 2 p.m. Dec. 16 and Dec. 23, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 21
Where : Terrace Theater, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach
Tickets : $34-$115
Information : www.longbeachballet.com
California Dance Ensemble
Jake Elwell of Dayton Ballet and Cincinnati Ballet Second Company stars as the Nutcracker Prince in this traditional telling complete with snow, sword fights and sugar plum fairies.
When : 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 15 and 1 and 5:30 p.m. Dec. 16
Where : Calabasas Performing Arts Education Center, 22855 W. Mulholland Highway, Calabasas
Tickets : $22-$37
Information :  www.CaliforniaDanceEnsemble.org
Miami City Ballet
George Balanchine’s “The Nutcracker” returns. It includes performances by students from the Colburn School and The Gabriella Foundation’s “everybody dance!” along with live orchestra.
When : 7:30 p.m. Nov. 30, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 1, and 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Dec. 2
Where : The Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles
Tickets : $34-$138
Information : www.musiccenter.org
Moscow Ballet
A Christmas tree actually grows in this national tour, a whimsical production with larger-than-life puppets, storybook backgrounds and lavish costumes hand-sewn in Saint Petersburg’s oldest theatrical costume shop.
When : 6 p.m. Dec. 14 and noon and 4 p.m. Dec. 15
Where : The Wiltern, 3790 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles
Tickets : $43.50-123.50
Information : www.wiltern.com
Pacific Festival Ballet
Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza’s resident company welcomes back New York City Ballet dancers Tiler Peck and Gonzalo Garcia as well as the Kalinin Russian Dance Troupe. As if that weren’t enough, it promises a “100 percent chance of snowfall on the audience.”
When : 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 15 and 16
Where : Fred Kavli Theater, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks
Tickets : $31-$47
Information : 805-449-2787. www.pacificballet.org
SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY
Inland Dance Theatre
A holiday tradition featuring this 80-member cast of amateur and professional dancers and actors of all ages from across Southern California.
When : 7 p.m. Dec. 7-8 and 2:15 p.m. Dec. 9
Where : California Theatre of the Performing Arts, 562 W. Fourth St., San Bernardino
Tickets : $25-$35
Information : 909-885-5152.  http://californiatheatre.net
RIVERSIDE COUNTY
Inland Valley Classical Ballet Theatre
An annual tradition for the families and students of this Temecula ballet company.
When : 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24, and 1 and 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 25
Where : Old Town Temecula Community Theater, 42051 Main St., Temecula
Tickets : $20-$24
Information : 866-653-8694. https://tickets.temeculatheater.org
“David Allan’s Nutcracker”
New York City Ballet stars Lauren Lovett and Andrew Veyette join more than 110 dancers in bringing this holiday tradition for Riverside to life.
When : Dec. 21-23
Where : Landis Performing Arts Center, 4800 Magnolia Ave., Riverside
Tickets : $18-$40
Information : 800-870-6069,  http://brava-arts.org
ORANGE COUNTY
American Ballet Theatre
More than 100 performers bring Clara’s journey to life with dazzling sets and costumes by Tony Award-winning Richard Hudson, set to Tchaikovsky’s score.
When : 7 p.m. Dec. 14, 19, 20 and 21, 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 15 and 22, and 12:30 and 5:30 p.m. Dec. 16 and 23
Where : Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa
Tickets : $29-$179
Information : 714-556-2787. www.scfta.org
Festive Ballet Theatre
World-renowned guest artists join a cast of hundreds in this traditional production, which sparkles with colorful sets and dazzling costumes. Guest dancers hail from New York City Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and Ballet West.
When : 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 8, 15, 21 qnd 22, 1 p.m. Dec. 9, 7 p.m. Dec. 14, 1 and 6 p.m. Dec. 16 and 23, 11 a.m. Dec. 24
Where : Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine
Tickets : $45-$90
Information : 949-854-4646. www.festivalballet.org
Anaheim Ballet
Giant Christmas trees, waltzing flowers and dueling mice add to the spectacle of this family classic, constantly updated to keep the production fresh.
When : 12:30 p.m. Dec. 23
Where : City National Grove of Anaheim, 2200 E. Katella Ave., Anaheim
Tickets : $25-$45
Information : 714-712-2700. www.anaheimballet.org
MULTIPLE LOCATIONS
Inland Pacific Ballet
Clara’s journey to the Land of Snow and the Kingdom of Sweets in the company of her Nutcracker doll comes alive with beautiful sets and dazzling costumes. Toy soldiers, battling mice, waltzing flowers and one Sugar Plum Fairy round out this cast of 80 dancers.
When : 2 and 7:30 P.M. Dec. 1, Dec. 8, Dec. 15 and Dec. 22, and 2 p.m. Dec. 2, Dec. 9, Dec. 16 and Dec. 23
Where : Lewis Family Playhouse, 12505 Cultural Center Drive, Rancho Cucamonga (Dec. 1-2, 8-9),  Fox Performing Arts Center, 3801 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside (Dec. 15-16), Bridges Auditorium at Pomona College, 450 N. College Way, Claremont (Dec. 22-23)
Tickets : $23-$66
Information : www.ipballet.org
Nutty Nutcracker
This hilarious send-up follows Clara and her offbeat friend, Anita, into the Land of the Sweets where they witness antics and unexpected visitors.
When : 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14 and Dec. 21
Where : Lewis Family Playhouse, 12505 Cultural Center Drive, Rancho Cucamonga (Dec. 14), Fox Performing Arts Center, 3801 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside (Dec. 21)
Tickets : $40-$46
Information : www.ipballet.org
Los Angeles Ballet
This production stays true to the original holiday story. But it sets the Tchaikovsky ballet in 1912 Los Angeles, with period costumes and Spanish-style sets.
When : 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24, 1 p.m. Nov. 25 and Dec. 16, 6 p.m. Dec. 1, 2 p.m. Dec. 2, noon and 5 p.m. Dec. 8, noon Dec. 9, 1 and 5 p.m. Dec. 22 and 23, 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Dec. 24
Where : Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 18000 Park Plaza Drive, Cerritos (Nov. 24-25), Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale (Dec. 1-2), Dolby Theatre in Hollywood and Highland, 6801 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood (Dec. 8-9), Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Redondo Beach (Dec. 15-16), UCLA’s Royce Hall, 340 Royce Drive, Los Angeles (Dec. 22-24)
Tickets : $31-$124
Information :  https://losangelesballet.org
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