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Where to See ‘The Nutcracker’ This Season

Need your holiday sugar plum fix? There are lots of choices in the area.

Where to See the Nutcracker on the Main Line and Philadelphia

The Nutcracker is celebrating its 126th Season in 2018 with a beloved storyline that is remembered throughout history as the holiday season’s ballet. Originally performed in St. Petersburg, Russia, accompanied by the music of Tchaikovsky, the story of a little girl named Clara on Christmas Eve unfolds into a whirlwind adventure, eventually culminating in a battle with the Mouse King. Here are some local performances of The Nutcracker this holiday season.


The Pennsylvania Ballet

Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad St., Philadelphia
Runs December 7 — 31
Tickets range from $35 to $154


This performance by the Pennsylvania Ballet is a Philadelphia classic and includes more than just a ballet performance. December 8 and 15 are “Tea with the Sugarplum Fairy” days with photos and brunch buffets before the performances. The sensory-friendly performance is December 27 at noon.


Nutcracker Sweets: A Swinging Sugarplum Treat

Great Valley High School, 255 Phoenixville Pike, Malvern
December 15, 2 pm
Tickets are $25 for adults, $10 for children if purchased in advance online. Tickets at the door are $5 more.


Join the Sugarplum fairy on her journey to the Land of the Sweets in this fresh take on the Nutcracker. Featuring Ballet 180 School students alongside professional dancers, the show blends a wide variety of dance into an entertaining mix of everything from classical ballet to tap dancing soldiers and hip-hopping tea dancers.


Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet

Upper Darby Performing Arts Center, 601 N. Lansdowne Road, Drexel Hill
Runs November 16 — 18
Tickets are $10-$23


The 90-minute show is ideal for children ages 4 and older. The Winterland decorations in the lobby provide the perfect backdrop for holiday shopping before and after the show. Cast members will be available for pictures after the Saturday performance.


Philadelphia Dance Theatre

Kurtz Center for the Performing Arts, William Penn Charter School, 3000 W. School House Lane, Philadelphia
November 23, 7 pm; November 24, 1 and 4 pm
Tickets are $22 for kids, seniors, and students, and $28 for adults


“A Philadelphia Nutcracker” has a local flair, with scenes set in the Northwest Philly neighborhoods many of the school’s dancers call home. It’s become a weekend-after-Thanksgiving tradition for local families.


‘Nutcracker 1776’

The Rock School

November 23, 7 pm
November 24, 1 and 4 pm
Merriam Theater, 250 S. Broad St., Philadelphia


The Rock School West
December 8, 1 and 4 pm
December 9, 2 pm
The Haverford School, Centennial Hall, 450 W. Lancaster Ave., Haverford


Each 70-minute performance is an adaptation of the original Nutcracker involves the history of the city of Philadelphia into the plot, but is still sure to entertain with Ben Franklin and General Mouse Howe leading the story. Prices start at $40 for the Family Circle for the Philadelphia performance, and at $15 for the Haverford performance.


Pages to Pirouettes

December 2, 1:30 pm
Free Library of Philadelphia, Parkway Central Branch, 1901 Vine St., Philadelphia


See a kid-friendly production of the beloved ballet, then try it yourself during a post-show ballet lesson for the audience. This event is free.


The Philadelphia Dance Academy

Mandell Theater, Drexel University, 3220 Chestnut St., Philadelphia
Runs December 15 and 16
Tickets range from $15 to $20


Each two-hour performance will feature students of the Philadelphia Youth Ballet, Philadelphia Dance Academy, and professional guest artists. Most mezzanine seats are $15 and orchestra seats are $20.


nutcrackerfeature2Brandywine Ballet

Emilie K. Asplundh Hall, West Chester University, University Avenue and High Street, West Chester
Runs December 7 – December 16
Tickets range from $25 to $45


This eight-performance production, featuring original choreography from David Kloss and Donna L. Muzio, promises “a tour de force of beauty and elegance.”


Valley Forge Dance Theatre

Upper Merion Middle School Theater, 450 Keebler Raod, King of Prussia
November 24, 1 and 4 pm (Santa Tea Party from noon — 4 pm)


This 60-minute, no-intermission performance is in a small theater, so it’s a close-up experience for kids. Tickets are $20 and include a tea party with Santa before the late show.


Academy of International Ballet

Upper Merion High School, 440 Crossfield Road, King of Prussia
November 24, 12 pm and 4 pm
Tickets are $25


A combination of students and professional dancers makes this a “hidden gem,” according to one of our readers.


International Ballet Classique

Fred T. Meagher Theater, Neumann University, 1 Neumann Drive, Aston
December 8, 11 am(sensory-friendly version), 2 pm
December 9, 2 pm
Tickets $24 for adults; seniors and children $16


This is the 27th year of IBC’s Nutcracker, and features European dance artists as well as original set pieces from Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre. Tickets are $16 for children, seniors, and students, and $24 for adults. Tickets may be purchased by credit card on their website, or reserved by phone at 610-986-2474.


International Ballet Exchange

Plymouth Whitemarsh High School, 201 E. Germantown Pike, Plymouth Meeting
Runs December 15 and 16
Tickets $27 for adults, $17 for seniors and students


The Donetsk Ballet of Ukraine troupe travels the world and this performance is sponsored by the International Ballet Exchange, bringing high-quality ballet performances to aspiring dancers. The award-winning cast invites 50 local students to be a part of the performance. Tickets are $17 for children, seniors, and students, and $27 for adults. 


Upper Merion Dance and Gymnastics Center

Upper Merion High School, 440 Crossfield Road, King of Prussia
December 1, 3 pm and 7 pm
Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door, and children 10 and under are free


The Nutcracker performances will feature dancers of Upper Merion Dance and Gymnastics many dance classes. The performance is child-friendly and kids 10 and under are free. Call 610-731-0022 to reserve tickets in advance or pay at the door.

Want to go beyond sugarplums? Here are all the family-friendly performances coming to town for the holidays!


Photographs by Alexander Iziliaev and courtesy of the Pennsylvania Ballet. 


  • Melissa December 7, 2016

    Don’t forget about International Ballet Theater. They put on the most beautiful show! Two shows left Sat & Sun Dec 10th & 11th at 2pm, Neumann University, One Neumann Dr, Aston, PA. Tix $18-28.

  • Maria Jacobs November 16, 2017

    Nutcracker + Santa Tea Party in Upper Merion Middle School Theater on Saturday 11/25 at 1 & 4 pm. Mainline Santa is in the cafeteria from Noon to 4 pm, which includes a dessert buffet, and lots of photo opportunities with our props. $20 tickets available online or at the door http://www.ValleyForgeDance.com

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      Gwyneth K. Shaw November 17, 2017

      Added! Thank you!

  • Emily Brunner November 18, 2017

    Wayne Ballet always does a beautiful job with their Nutcracker! http://www.wayneballet.net December 16th and 17th at Upper Merion Middle School.

  • Laura Frank November 8, 2018

    Please add Kristina Pulcini Ballet Academy Nutcracker performances. They are:
    Saturday, December 22nd at 11 AM
    Saturday, December 22nd at 5 PM
    Sunday, December 23rd at 4 PM

    And will be performed at Upper Merion Middle School

  • Pam Boyer November 15, 2018

    Pennsylvania Academy of Dance Arts! Saturday, December 8th, 6pm at Perkiomen Valley Middle School East. Tickets $18 in advance, $20 at the door. https://dancestudio-pro.com/tickets/padancearts

  • Maria Jacobs November 17, 2019

    Valley Forge Dance Theatre’s Nutcracker & Santa Tea Party, above posted dates/times are for last year 2018. Our 11/30/19 Saturday show is Noon – 2 pm for Santa Party; Show is 2- 3 pm, at the Upper Merion HIGH School, 440 Crossfield Rd, King of Prussia. Tickets are $20 (includes both party & show) and can be purchased at the door.


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