The holiday season means one thing above most others for Sacramentans: “The Nutcracker” performed by the Sacramento Ballet.
Ron Cunningham’s version of the ballet has become a staple of Christmas-time entertainment during its three decades of performances. This will be the last year the ballet will be presented under the artistic direction of Cunningham and wife Carinne Binda, who will be replaced as creative heads of the dance company at the end of this season.
“The Nutcracker” tells the story of a little girl whose Christmas gift of a nutcracker doll comes to life and escorts her on a magical journey through exotic lands. Beautiful sets and costumes, a tree that “grows” on stage and snow that falls upon the dancers are hallmarks of this family favorite.
There will be four opportunities to get a special behind the scenes glimpse of “The Nutcracker.” Those who arrive at the Community Center Theater by 12:30 p.m. (for the 2 p.m. performance) on Dec. 9, by 11:45 am. (for the 1 p.m. show) on Dec. 10 and 17, or 5:30 p.m. for the 7 p.m. program on Dec. 15 will get to watch the end of a company class on stage, see the stagehands begin preparations for the production and talk to the artistic directors, the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier about what makes the ballet so special.
There will be 12 performances of “The Nutcracker” between Dec. 9 and Dec. 23, seven of them performed to live music by the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera Orchestra. Tickets are $30-$89 for shows with the live orchestra and $25-$74 for those with recorded music. For more information, go to sacballet.org.
Another Holiday Classic Returns
Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” returns to Sacramento Theatre Company after a five-year hiatus. Adapted by local playwright Richard Hellesen, with original music by David de Berry, the production will feature Matt K. Miller reprising his bah-humbug-y role as Ebenezer Scrooge.
This sumptuous production takes us through Scrooge’s greedy past, his miserable present and the sad fate that awaits him if he doesn’t change his ways. It is a story of redemption just perfect for the holiday season.
Capital Stage has a special holiday production opening Dec. 6 and running through Dec. 30: “Miss Bennet: Christmas a Pemberly” It’s a sequel to “Pride and Prejudice” in which middle sister Mary has grown tired of her siblings’ romances and wants one of her own. An unexpected guest at the family’s Christmas celebration sparks Mary’s interest mightily.
Performances are Tuesdays through Sundays, with tickets priced $32-$42. For more information, go to CapStage.org.