Set in historic Georgetown with George Washington as the heroic nutcracker and King George III as the Rat King, The Washington Ballet’s production is a beloved holiday tradition for generations of Washingtonians.
Tchaikovsky’s magical score brings this celebrated classic to life with stunning set designs, lavish costumes, and D.C.-specific references, including the iconic Dance of the Sugar Plums set against bursting cherry blossoms along the Tidal Basin.
Each performance features a rotating cast of 100 dancers, led by the professional artists of The Washington Ballet and including approximately 400 students and trainees from The Washington School of Ballet.
This charmingly-DC production of The Nutcracker premiered at the Warner Theatre in 2004 under the direction of Artistic Director Septime Webre. This uniquely American ballet continues to display our history and culture under the current Artistic Director Julie Kent.
The student performers from The Washington School of Ballet are a cornerstone to the performance. Representation matters and there is nothing like seeing other kids on the stage at the iconic Warner Theatre.
The Washington Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker
This performance is running from November 25 to December 30
Performances are offered Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 7 p.m. Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sundays at 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Tickets start at $42 and are available for purchase online.
In addition to 37 scheduled performances, signature events include The Nutcracker Tea Party (December 4), Military Appreciation Night (December 7) and Family Day (December 11). Tickets are on sale now at www.washingtonballet.org.
Performances are at Warner Theatre — 513 13th St. NW, Washington DC
The Nutcracker for kids
If we had to pick one production of The Nutcracker here in DC for families it would be The Washington Ballet’s production.
The Warner Theatre is a beautiful venue for families. There is nothing more special than getting dressed in something fancy and stepping into the ornate lobby. Looking up at the gold leaf ceilings and chandeliers is like nothing else.
The Warner Theatre also offers concessions before and during the performances if you want a treat. There is a “Nutcracker gift shop” in the lobby that has something for everyone to commemorate the experience.
The Washington School of Ballet student performers are both adorable and professional. It is astounding to see such young performers at such a high caliber. For kids, the kids are one of the most exciting parts.
The uniquely DC performance offers up scenery that is like no other Nutcracker performance starting at the Georgetown residence, followed by the iconic springtime cherry blossoms. Our kids were tickled by King George III as the Rat King.
The Nutcracker story for kids
Knowing the storyline of The Nutcracker is key for kids enjoying a live performance. We love to listen to some of the music, get out our nutcrackers and run through the basic storyline before attending The Washington Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker.
Feel free to share our recap of The Nutcracker with your kids.
The story starts with a lavish Christmas Eve party. Clara is the main character and the party’s at her house. Clara’s godfather comes to the party and entertains the kids with his puppet show. Her godfather gives out presents. He gives Clara a very special present, a nutcracker. Clara’s little brother takes her nutcracker and breaks it.
Clara puts her nutcracker under the Christmas tree. After everyone is asleep Clara sneaks downstairs to get her nutcracker and she falls asleep. Clara starts to dream. The Christmas tree grows and there is a battle between the toy soldiers led by a lifesize nutcracker and the rat king with his menacing rats.
Clara distracts the rat king and the Nutcracker who wins is turned into a prince. The Nutcracker Prince and Clara go through a winter wonderland to glorious springtime.
Clara and the Nutcracker Prince travel to Springtime where the iconic DC cherry blossoms where they meet the Sugar Plum Fairy. The Sugar Plum Fairy, her Cavalier and her attendants entertain them with beautiful dances.
There are performances by the butterflies, mushrooms, bees, flowers, Spanish dancers, Anacostia maiden and brave, Chinese dancers, frontiers people, cardinals and tom cat, mother barnum and clowns, and dew drops.
There is a special dance by the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier. Clara returns home and falls asleep with her nutcracker.
We love to chat about the ending and see if they think it was all a dream or it really happened.