November 25 - December 30, 2022
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Photo of Brittany Stone by Spencer Bentley

Experience the magic of The Washington Ballet’s charmingly-DC The Nutcracker!

This celebrated production is set in historic 1882 Georgetown with George Washington, King George III, and other historical figures. Join us again with family and friends or start a new holiday tradition with your loved ones.

Set to Tchaikovsky’s magical score, this celebrated classic comes to life with intricate, stunning set designs, original period costumes, and over 100 dancers including students and trainees from The Washington School of Ballet. It has become the signature Nutcracker of the nation’s capital.

The Washington Ballet’s The Nutcracker will transport audiences of all ages into a winter wonderland that has become a lasting holiday tradition not to be missed.

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Performance Casting

View the digital program below:



Signature events:

The Nutcracker Tea Party
Sunday, December 4

Join your favorite Nutcracker characters for a magical afternoon tea party. Guests will be transported to an enchanting winter wonderland where they will indulge in tea sandwiches, fresh scones, sweet treats, holiday teas, crisp champagne (for the adults), and pose for photos with the iconic Snow Queen and Sugar Plum Fairy. Experience tea time after the matinee performance of The Washington Ballet’s charmingly-DC The Nutcracker at the historic Warner Theatre. This year’s event is sold-out, but we look forward to celebrating with you next year.

Military Appreciation Night
Wednesday, December 7

The Washington Ballet brings the magic of The Nutcracker to service men and women and their families for Military Appreciation Night.

Family Day
Sunday, December 11

The Nutcracker Family Day is an interactive experience where children of all ages can participate in activities and festivities prior to the matinee performance. Visit craft stations for coloring and search-a-word, photo ops with dancers, and more. Family Day activities are included in the ticket price. Family Day events begin at 11:30am before the 1pm matinee performance.

Julie Kent on The Nutcracker:

Set in historic Georgetown with George Washington as the heroic nutcracker, The Washington Ballet’s The Nutcracker is charming iteration of the holiday classic. The tone and ambiance of the Warner Theatre and Tchaikovsky’s iconic score contribute to the holiday spirit, and it is a pleasure to see how the performance touches our audience.

The Nutcracker provides wonderful artistic milestones for our dancers as they move through the ranks and grow artistically and technically over the years. It is a joy to see the whole school represented with the company and to get to see the full spectrum of The Washington Ballet onstage.


The Nutcracker Synopsis

It’s Christmas Eve in 1882 in a Georgetown mansion. Clara and her family prepare for a holiday celebration. As the guests arrive, Clara’s mysterious godfather, Mr. Drosselmeyer, enters with his handsome young nephew, who greets Clara with a kiss on her hand. Drosselmeyer entertains the guests with a puppet show and dancing dolls and presents Clara with a special gift—a nutcracker.

Jealous of his sister’s present, Fritz seizes the nutcracker and breaks it. As the party ends, Clara sadly places the nutcracker under the Christmas tree. Later that night, after everyone has gone to bed, Clara tiptoes downstairs to retrieve her nutcracker. Suddenly, the room fills with scurrying mice. Eventually, Clara falls asleep and begins to dream. When the clock strikes midnight, Drosselmeyer’s magic begins. The Christmas tree grows and a battle ensues between a brigade of toy soldiers led by a life-sized nutcracker against the Rat King and his menacing rats. As the Rat King nears victory, Clara distracts him, enabling the nutcracker to kill him. Suddenly, the nutcracker is turned into a handsome prince. He leads Clara through the enchanted winter to a glorious springtime.

Clara and her Nutcracker Prince travel to Springtime, where the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. They are greeted by the Sugar Plum Fairy, her Cavalier and her attendants: butterflies, mushrooms and other woodland creatures. When the Prince tells them how Clara saved his life, the Sugar Plum Fairy summons her subjects to entertain them with wonderful dances—Spanish and Chinese dances, a duet for an Anacostian brave and maiden. Brilliant red cardinals frolic with a Tom Cat; an American frontiersman dances with frontier girls; Mother Barnum dances with her circus clowns; and the waltz of the Cherry Blossoms is led by the Dew Drop Fairy. The celebration comes to a spectacular climax when the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier perform a grand pas de deux. Just before the curtain falls, we see Clara asleep with her nutcracker, marking an end to her magical journey.

History of TWB's The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker was originally based on the story of The Nutcracker and the Mouse, written by German author E.T.A. Hoffmann. Years later, Alexander Dumas rewrote the story, making it happier and more fun for kids to read. In 1891 Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky was commissioned to write the music for a new ballet based on the stories by the St. Petersburg Opera, but he was initially unhappy with the setting of a children’s Christmas party.

The legendary choreographer Marius Petipa presented Tchaikovsky with an exact scenario, including rhythm, tempo and number of measures for each dance. Petipa later became ill and the choreography was completed by his assistant, Lev Ivanov.

The Nutcracker debuted on December 17, 1892 in the Mariinsky Theatre in Russia, which is still the home of the Kirov Ballet today. The original cast included ballet students, just as The Washington Ballet and The Washington School of Ballet does today. The Nutcracker was not performed outside of Russia until 1934, when Nicholas Sergeyev staged it at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre in England.

The Nutcracker was first mounted by The Washington Ballet in 1961. The production by TWSB and TWB founder Mary Day was performed in Constitution Hall and, beginning in 1992, at The Warner Theatre.  In 2004, the Company premiered a new all-American version of The Nutcracker by Artistic Director Septime Webre, designed just for Washington, DC.

About the Venue

Warner Theatre

513 13th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20004

The historic Warner Theatre has been the home of The Washington Ballet’s The Nutcracker since 1992. The Warner is located in the bustle of downtown and convenient to shops, restaurants and monuments.

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