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REVIEW: AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE'S THE NUTCRACKER — Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Updated: Jun 1, 2023


DECEMBER 9 – COSTA MESA, CA


Segerstrom Center for the Arts announces the return of SoCal’s favorite holiday tradition American Ballet Theatre’s captivating production of “The Nutcracker,” December 9-18, 2022, in Segerstrom Hall. The critically acclaimed production, the Official Dance Company of Segerstrom Center for the Arts, features ABT’s roster of superstar dancers along with gorgeous sets and costumes by Tony winner Richard Hudson, and Pacific Symphony playing Tchaikovsky’s timeless score.


“The Nutcracker” is the tale of a young girl, Clara, who receives the gift of a nutcracker doll at her family’s Christmas party. In her dreams that night, the nutcracker doll comes to life as a handsome prince who joins her on a magical journey. Together, they travel to lands filled with dancing snowflakes, waltzing flowers, a mouse army and other exotic characters, all brought to vivid life on stage by a cast of over 100 performers! The show features Devon Teuscher as Clara, the Princess, and Joo Won Ahn as The Nutcracker Prince.




Other notable cast members include Isabella Boylston, James Whiteside, Catherine Hurlin, Aran Bell, Cassandra Trenary, Calvin Royal III, Christine Shevchenko, Thomas Forster, Hee Seo, Cory Stearns, Skyler Brandt, Herman Cornejo.


A limited number of exclusive Sweet Seats are available for the weekend performances of “The Nutcracker.” Along with prime Orchestra seating, these ticket also come with a Segerstrom Center keepsake ornament, “The Nutcracker”

collectible poster, and a delicious holiday cookie.



Co-presented by the Center and ABT with choreography by ABT Artist in Residence Alexei Ratmansky, The Nutcracker is the beloved holiday story based on The Nutcracker and the King of Mice written by E.T.A. Hoffmann and set to a magical score by Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky that will be performed live by Pacific Symphony.


In its annual holiday engagement, American Ballet Theatre will give 12 performances between December 9 through December 18, 2022, in Segerstrom Hall. This year marks the seventh time that The Center has presented ABT’s The Nutcracker, Southern California’s grandest production of this beloved holiday tradition, featuring ABT’s international all-star cast.



This engagement will also pay tribute to ABT’s last performances with Kevin McKenzie as Artistic Director, who is retiring after three decades at the helm. McKenzie was a leading dancer with both The Joffrey Ballet and the National Ballet of Washington before joining American Ballet Theatre as a Soloist in March 1979. McKenzie, 68, was appointed ABT’s Artistic Director in October 1992.


American Ballet Theatre has a long, storied history of producing several critically acclaimed productions of this annual family-friendly classic tale of Clara and the Nutcracker over the years. The Nutcracker, with its timeless music by Tchaikovsky and splendid costumes and scenery, is the perfect way to introduce children to ballet and even inspire them to study dance and become a little Clara or Nutcracker Prince. This production, with choreography by Alexei Ratmansky, scenery and costumes by Tony Award®-winner Richard Hudson (Disney’s The Lion King), and lighting by Tony Award®-winner Jennifer Tipton, received its World Premiere in 2010.



Other ABT productions at the Center have included the West Coast Premiere of Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie’s production of The Sleeping Beauty in 2007, the World Premiere of a new production of Firebird by ABT Artist in Residence Alexei Ratmansky in 2012, and three additional ballets by Ratmansky including the West Coast premiere of The Nutcracker in 2015, the World Premiere of Whipped Cream in 2017, the West Coast Premiere of Harlequinade in 2019, and the World Premiere and co-commissioned production Of Love and Rage in 2020.


The Los Angeles Times said, “In ‘Waltz of the Flowers,’ Busby Berkeley-esque waves of complex human patterns make this waltz one of the most astounding and beautiful you’ll ever see … in all its wondrousness, an unreserved classic.”


The Orange County Register said, “A visual tour de force … a Nutcracker without parallel … Ratmansky is an undisputed master; few choreographers combine his qualities of invention, wit, pacing, and theatricality …”


The New York Times said, “A production like no other, made with complete theatrical authority from first to last.”


Single tickets for American Ballet Theatre’s The Nutcracker start at $29 and are now available online at SCFTA.org, at the Box office at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa, or by calling (714) 556-2787. For inquiries about group ticket discounts for 10 or more, call the Group Services offices at (714)755-0236.



Chris Daniels

Arts & Entertainment Reviewer

The Show Report

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