The Nutcracker Story
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.
Sunday, December 4, 2016 at 1:00PM (Doors Open at 11:30AM)
The Nutcracker Family Day is an interactive event where children of all ages can discover what it takes to create everyone's seasonal favorite. Family Day activities immediately precede the matinee performance. Families enjoy diverse activities including craft stations for coloring, meet-and-greet with some beloved characters, and the opportunity to watch a rehearsal and learn how dancers prepare for performance. Participation in Family Day is included in the ticket price.
THE WASHINGTON NATIONALS RACING PRESIDENTS
The Washington Nationals Racing Presidents will be special guests at The Nutcracker performance on Thursday, December 8 at 7PM. The Presidents made their Nutcracker debut with The Washington Ballet in 2010. Since then, they’ve made a special guest appearance every year, appearing for one night only.
Photo by media4artists, Theo Kossenas
MILITARY APPRECIATION NIGHT
Tuesday, December 6, 2016 at 7:00PM (Doors Open at 5:00PM)
The Washington Ballet will bring the magic of The Nutcracker to service men and women and their families for Military Appreciation Night. In advance of the performance guests will be greeted at the historic Warner Theatre by military dignitaries and Nutcracker cast members and will be treated to an exclusive behind-the-scenes rehearsal of The Nutcracker ‘Soldiers Marching.’ On this night, all in attendance are encouraged to wear red, white and blue. Come early! Doors Open at 5:00PM.
Special 15% Discount Offer for Military Night, December 6: Use promo code STARS to receive a 15% discount in select price levels; offer valid until December 6 and only for the December 6 performance; not to be combined with any other offer; not valid on previously purchased tickets.
THE NUTCRACKER TEA PARTY
Sunday, December 11, 2016 - 3:00pm
A quintessential Washington, D.C. tradition, The Nutcracker Tea Party is the perfect way to kick off your family’s holiday festivities!
The experience includes an elegant tea with white glove service at the historic Willard InterContinental Hotel, hands-on activities for youth and the rare opportunity to pose for photographs with members of The Nutcracker cast. This family-friendly event is a delight for ballet lovers of all ages!
A benefit for The Washington Ballet education and community engagement programs, proceeds raise critical funds to provide the highest quality dance performance and training to everyone in our community.
Tickets will be on sale to the public July 15, 2016.
For more information, click here.
Visit our Hotel Offers page to learn about special offers for hotel, dining and spa services.
Donate to The Washington Ballet with a purchase at BOSS SHEPHERD'S
Join us before the show at Boss Shepherd's Restaurant, located just next door, for an exclusive 3-course dining experience and specialty nutcracker cocktail that is sure to have all the sugar plum fairies dancing with delight!
Boss Shepherd's is pleased to offer to The Nutcracker ticket holders from December 1 - December 24, 2016 the Theatre Menu: $5.00 of each purchase of the Theatre Menu will be donated to The Washington Ballet to support community engagement and education programs.
During the month of December, Boss Shepherd's will feature a cocktail inspired by The Nutcracker and for every purchase of this special cocktail a $2.00 donation will be made to The Washington Ballet to support community engagement and education programs.
Learn more about Boss Shepherd's
At the corner of 13th & E Street NW at the Warner Theatre building
513 13th Street NW
Washington, DC 20004
Live Nation is committed to providing a safe and secure environment for our guests to enjoy their visit. We encourage you to review the safety and security information below prior to arriving at the Warner Theatre.
Venue Security Information