American Repertory Ballet's Nutcracker Season: A Holiday Tradition Since 1964.

Every year, American Repertory Ballet brings the holiday classic to stages across the state.

American Repertory Ballet brings the beloved classic to the stage with Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score, stunning new sets, thrilling choreography, and a cast of over 100 performers.

ARB’s professional company will be joined by students from Princeton Ballet School to tell the story of a young girl and how a mysterious gift brings about enchanted dreams and fantastical scenes. Whether it’s your first time, an annual tradition, or a once-in-a-lifetime experience, ARB’s Nutcracker is a perfect holiday treat for your entire family.

American Repertory Ballet first presented The Nutcracker in 1956 at McCarter Theatre in Princeton, NJ.

In 1964, it became an annual holiday tradition.



American Repertory Ballet’s THE NUTCRACKER
McCarter Theatre Center | Princeton NJ | 609.258.2787 |
Friday, November 26  2:00 PM
Friday, November 26  7:30 PM
Saturday, November 27 2:00 PM
Saturday, November 27  7:30 PM
Sunday, November 28 1:00 PM

Union County Performing Arts Center | Rahway, NJ
Friday, December 3  7:30 PM | american-repertory-balletthe-nutcracker–rahway-ucpac-main-stage
Sunday, December 5  1:00 PM (Sensory Friendly) sensory-friendly-theatreamerican-repertory-balletthe-nutcracker–rahway-ucpac-main-stage

Patriots Theatre at the War Memorial | Trenton, NJ
Saturday, December 11  1:00 PM |
Saturday, December 11  5:00 PM |

State Theatre New Jersey | New Brunswick, NJ |
Friday, December 17  7:30 PM
Saturday, December 18  2:00 PM
Saturday, December 18 7:00 PM
Sunday, December 19   1:00 PM
Sunday, December 19    5:00 PM



‘Tis the Season! We look forward to celebrating the holidays with you as we present The Nutcracker! We advise that all ticketholders review the COVID-19 safety protocol of the venue you are attending in preparation for your visit. The health and safety of our audience members, artists, and staff are of the utmost importance to American Repertory Ballet and to the performance centers. Venue safety protocols for theatre access is listed below:

McCarter Theatre Center

Union County Performing Arts Center

Patriots Theatre at the War Memorial

State Theatre New Jersey



The Story of The Nutcracker


The Party

The scene opens with the annual Christmas Eve Tree Lighting party at the home of the Silverhaus’. Clara and Fritz anxiously wait outside the parlor for the lighting of the tree, when to Clara’s horror and Fritz’s delight, the maid enters the hall, chasing a mouse from out of the pantry.

Father calls the children in, and the tree is lighted. As the guests arrive, we are introduced to the Elegant Family, the Widow, her daughter, the Dapper Gent and the Big Family with their nine children. After a festive dance performed by the children, the mysterious Uncle Drosselmeyer and his Nephew arrive. Drosselmeyer demonstrates wonderful mechanical dolls, and then presents his favorite niece Clara with a beautifully carved Nutcracker. As all of the children watch Drosselmeyer’s demonstration of the Nutcracker, Fritz becomes jealous and grabs the gift from Clara. In his flight, he drops and breaks it.

Drosselmeyer bandages it and re-presents it to Clara. The party winds down, the guests depart and the Silverhaus family goes to bed.

Unable to sleep, Clara sneaks downstairs to visit her Nutcracker. As she dances in the parlor with the Nutcracker, the shadows and the movement of little mice disturb her delight. Drosselmeyer reappears and casts her into a dream world -transforming the parlor into a battleground between an army of soldiers and rats.

Under the Christmas Tree

Clara is amazed by the transformation of the parlor as the now life-size Nutcracker and his army of soldiers defend the Christmas tree from the minions of the Rat King and mice. As the fortune of the battle turns, Clara defends her beloved Nutcracker by throwing her shoe at the Rat King – vanquishing him and his awful troop.

Drosselmeyer reappears and transforms the wounded Nutcracker into the Nutcracker Prince who will accompany Clara on an enchanted journey. The parlor is magically transformed into the Land of Snow, and Angels stream onto the scene. Clara and the Prince meet the beautiful Snow Queen and her King and are swirled and dazzled by whirlwinds of Snowflakes.


Clara and the Nutcracker Prince make their way to the Land of Sweets and are greeted by the Sugar Plum Fairy. The Prince tells the story of the great battle for the Christmas tree and how Clara saved the day by thwarting the Rat King and securing victory. As a reward for her heroism, the Sugar Plum Fairy presents dances from all the different lands of the Sweets including, Chocolate, Coffee, Birdsong, Candy Canes, Marzipan, and a wonderfully playful Polichinelles. This is followed by a fragrant bouquet of Flowers and the tour de force pas de deux by the Sugar Plum and her cavalier. After the grand finale, a very happy but tired Clara is returned home to the comfort of the family parlor and wakes from her wonderful journey.

“This talented company is a gem in New Jersey and the ARB is poised to continue this season with performances to delight metropolitan area audiences.” – Marina Kennedy, Broadway World