2023 Unique Nutcracker Performances around Chicago

So many to choose from, it'll make your head twirl!

By Debra Flanagan, Publisher November 15, 2023

The Art Deco Nutcracker
The Athenaeum - Dec. 2
Set in 1920s America, Alexei Kremnev’s one-of-a-kind “The Art Deco Nutcracker,” featuring Tchaikovsky’s beloved score, is a fresh, yet traditional take on the beloved holiday favorite with costume and set design inspired by the unique sophistication of the Art Deco era.

Ballet Chicago’s The Nutcracker
The Athenaeum - Dec. 7 through Dec. 10

Celebrate your favorite holiday tradition with young Marie as she travels from her home on Christmas Eve to the enchanting Kingdom of Snow and the charming Land of Sweets through timeless choreography, beautiful music, and stunning visuals.

Beyond the Nutcracker
The Athenaeum - Nov. 25 through Nov. 26

A classic holiday tradition with a Ballet 5:8 twist comes to Chicago this season. Join Emma and Uncle Abrahms as they embark on a miraculous journey through time and discover what Christmas is all about. Immerse yourself in the magical choreography of Ballet 5:8 Artistic Director Julianna Rubio Slager, featuring the professional artists of Ballet 5:8
Pre-show Tea on the 25th
Join the cast of Beyond the Nutcracker for tea on November 25th at 12:00 pm. You will have a chance to meet the cast and enjoy refreshments and festivities before the performance. An additional ticket is required for this event.

Do-It-Yourself Nutcracker
Indian Boundary Park - Dec. 16, 3pm-4pm
Join us for this magical event! Join our student dancers on stage for a re-telling of this holiday classic where you become the star. Wear your tights, slippers, and holiday finest for this unique and fun-filled interactive holiday dance event.

Duke It Out Nutcracker
Music Institute of Chicago - Dec. 9, 10am and 1pm
This unique Nutcracker production pits the classical (Tchaikovsky) and jazz (Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn) versions of the holiday favorite in a side-by-side showdown. Curated by Dance Chicago, the program features members of Braeburn Brass and Music Institute of Chicago ensemble-in-residence Quintet Attacca. The performance is family-friendly 60 minutes.

The Hip Hop Nutcracker
Cadillac Palace Theater - Dec. 12 through Dec. 17

A holiday mash-up for the whole family, The Hip Hop Nutcracker returns for another spectacular tour. Just like the original, Maria-Clara and the Nutcracker Prince go on a dream adventure battling a gang of mice, visiting the land of sweets and learning the lessons of the holiday season. Innovative digital graffiti and visuals transform the landscape of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s beloved story from traditional 19th Century Germany to the vibrant, diverse sights and sounds of contemporary New York City.

The Immersive Nutcracker, A Winter Miracle
Lighthouse ArtSpace Chicago - Nov. 24 through Jan. 7
The Immersive Nutcracker is an ideal family outing, featuring a 30-minute, immersive experience of whimsical animated characters alongside footage of professional ballet dancers. The iconic and captivating storytelling, set to the sweeping music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, composed of over 1 million frames of video across 500,000 cubic feet captivates audiences from opening scene to the epic finale. The projection features beloved scenes set to their classical scores including “The March of the Toys,” “The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” and more.

The Littlest Nutcracker Workshop
McFetridge Sports Center - Dec. 10, 2pm-4pm
Students (ages 4-7) will learn a dance from the Nutcracker and will perform it for their families at the end of the event (3:45 pm). We will play games, learn ballet moves, and even get to put on tutus or vests and glitter for our performance! This event is great way to get in the holiday spirit and help our little ballet dancers learn about one of the most famous ballets in the world.

The Nutcracker
Hyde Park School of Dance - Dec. 8 - Dec. 10
The temps may be dropping, but don't worry: Hyde Park School of Dance is about to bring the heat! Grab tickets before they're gone to come see their mice and soldiers battle to the beat - and all the beautiful ballet before and after, too!

Nutcracker! Magic of Christmas Ballet
The Rosemont Theater - Dec. 3, 2pm and 6pm
Gather friends and family to re-live your fondest childhood dreams, overflowing with larger-than-life puppets, breath-taking acrobatics and dazzling ostumes. Experience the exquisite artistry of the international cast, featuring stars of Ukraine ballet, performing at the highest level of classical technique. 

SUGAR HILL: The Ellington/Strayhorn Nutcracker
Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre - Dec. 19 through Dec. 30
An exhilarating story told in dance, SUGAR HILL is set to the music of the genre-defying collaboration between jazz icons bandleader/composer Duke Ellington and composer, Billy Strayhorn, in a captivating way that has never been done before. SUGAR HILL reveals the glamour of the 1930s as seen through the lens of the nonconformist daughter of a high-society Black family in Manhattan and her own fantastic dreamworld in the Sugar Hill neighborhood of Harlem.