Drosselmeyer the Drag Queen? In L.A. There's a Nutcracker for Everyone

A scene from Debbie Allen's Hot Chocolate Nutcracker
A scene from Debbie Allen's Hot Chocolate Nutcracker
Lee Tonks

With productions of the Nutcracker ballet sprouting up throughout December and all over the Southland, there’s a Nutcracker for everyone led by two professional stand outs and some innovative takes on the traditional story. Starting with the professional companies, here’s this year’s roundup of Nutcrackers waiting to entertain.

Los Angeles Ballet’s polished and professional production of the Nutcracker is set in 1912 Los Angeles. For its 10th season, performances expand to six theaters, continuing LAB artistic directors Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary’s committment to bring great ballet to greater Los Angeles as LAB continues to prove itself to be the top-drawer professional resident ballet company that has eluded this city. Info and tickets at 310-998-7782 or losangelesballet.orgAlex Theater, 216 North Brand Blvd., Glendale; Sat., Dec. 5, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 6, 2 p.m., $31-$99. Also at Valley Performing Arts Center, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge; Tues.-Wed., Dec. 8-9, 7:30 p.m. Also at the Dolby Theatre, 6801 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood.; Sat., Dec. 12, and Sun., Dec. 13, 1 & 5 p.m., (323) 308-6300, dolbytheatre.com. Also at McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Dr., Palm Desert; Tue., Dec. 15, 7 p.m.; $27-$87, mccallumtheatre.com. Also at Royce Hall, UCLA, 340 Royce Dr., Westwood.; Fri., Dec. 18, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 19 and Sun., Dec. 201 and 5 p.m. Also at Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd.; Sat., Dec. 26 and Sun., Dec. 27, 1 & 5 p.m.

American Ballet Theatre's Nutcracker boasts highly musical choreography by former Bolshoi artistic director Alexei Ratmansky whose inventions include bees buzzing about the Waltz of the Flowers. ABT arrives in Orange County for 14 performances — casting and more information is at scfta.org. Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa; Thu.-Sat., Dec. 10-12 and Tue.-Sat., Dec. 15-19, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 12 & 19, 2 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 13 & 20, 6:30 p.m., $29-$239. scfta.org.

Moscow Ballet tours the United States with what it calls The Great Russian Nutcracker and stops off for three shows here. The cast of 40 includes international ballet competition winners. The Wiltern, 3790 Wilshire Blvd., Koreatown; Sun., Dec. 20, 3 & 7 p.m.; Mon., Dec. 21, 7 p.m., $78.50 - $139.50. (213) 388-1400,  livenation.com or wiltern.com.

Debbie Allen fans get a chance to see her perform Debbie Allen’s Hot Chocolate Nutcracker. Raven-Symoné and Carlos Imperato also star, backed by dancers from the Debbie Allen Dance Academy. Music Center, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Fri., Dec. 18, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 19, 1 & 7 p.m., $34-$125. (213) 972-8550, http://thehotchocolatenutcracker.com.

L.A. Contemporary Dance Company give the traditional Nutcracker an audacious and hilarious update in Urban Nut. In this version, the mysterious Drosselmeyer is a drag queen and at each show an audience member is drafted (from a list of volunteers) to participate as Clara or Clark. Brockus Project Space, 618B Moulton Ave., Lincoln Heights; Fri., Dec. 11, 8 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 12, 8 & 10 p.m., $12 online, $15 at door. lacdcurbannut.brownpapertickets.com.

And here are plenty other Nutcrackers of note ...

Los Angeles area:
City Ballet of Los Angeles augments Tchaikovsky’s original score with Duke Ellington’s jazzy interpretation for Nutcracker Swings set in World War II L.A. Wilshire Ebell Theatre, 743 South Lucerne Blvd., Hancock Park; Fri.-Sat., Dec 18-19, 8 p.m., $20-$60. (323) 939-0126, brownpapertickets.com/event/2402899.

Westside Ballet is joined by the Santa Monica College Symphony. Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica; Sat., Nov. 28, 1 & 5 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 29, 11 a.m.; Thurs.-Fri., Dec. 3-4, 7 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., Dec. 5-6, 1 & 5 p.m., $40. (800) 595-4849, westsideballet.com.

Marat Daukayev School of Ballet  Former Kirov Ballet star Daukayev choreographed, directs and stars as the mysterious Uncle Drosselmeyer. Luckman Fine Arts Complex, 5151 State University Drive, East L.A.; Fri., Dec. 11, 7 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 12, 2 & 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 13, 12:30 p.m. & 4:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 14, 2 p.m., $38-$58. maratdaukayev.com.

South Bay/Long Beach/Orange County
Long Beach Ballet Special effects from three Disney designers and a live orchestra. Terrace Theatre, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach; Sat., Dec. 12 & 19, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec 13 & 20, 2 p.m., $31-$98.  (877) 852-3177, longbeachnutcracker.com.

South Bay Ballet El Camino College, 16007 Crenshaw Blvd., Torrance; Sat.-Sun., Dec. 19-20, 2 p.m.; $22-33. (800) 832-2787, southbayballet.org.

Upcoming Events

San Pedro City Ballet Warner Grand Theatre, 478 W. 6th St., San Pedro; Sat., Dec. 12, 2 & 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 13, 2 p.m., $18-$36. (310) 548-7672, warnergrand.org.

Festival Ballet Theatre Irvine BarclayTheatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine; Sat., Dec. 12 & 19, 7 p.m.; Fri., Dec. 18, 7 p.m.; Sun. Dec. 13 & 20, 1 & 6 p.m.; Tues., Dec. 22, 2 & 7 p.m.; Wed., Dec. 23, 2 p.m.; Thurs., Dec. 24, 11 a.m., $42-45. (949) 854-4646, festivalballet.org.

Anaheim Ballet Company with the Irvine Symphony. City National Grove, 2200 E. Katella Ave., Anaheim; Sat., Dec. 19, 2 & 7 p.m., $22-$45. (714) 712-2700, anaheimballet.org.

Pasadena/San Gabriel and east:
Pasadena Dance Theatre San Gabriel Mission Playhouse, 320 Mission, San Gabriel; Sat.-Sun., Dec 12-13 & 18-20; Tues.-Wed., Dec. 22-23, 2 p.m., $20-$60. (626) 683-3459, pasadenadancetheatre.org

Inland Pacific Ballet at four venues. Arcadia Performing Arts Center, 188 Campus Dr., Arcadia; Sat.-Sun., Nov. 28, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 29, 2:00 p.m., $24-$55. (626) 821-1781, arcadiapaf.org. Also at Bridges Auditorium, Pomona College, 450 North College Way, Claremont; Sat., Dec. 5, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 6, 2 p.m., $19-$55. pomona.edu/administration/bridges-auditorium. Also at Fox Performing Arts Center, 3801 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside; Sat., Dec. 12, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 13, 2 p.m., $38-$55. (951) 779-9800, riversidelive.com.  Also at Lewis Family Playhouse, 12505 Cultural Center Dr., Rancho Cucamonga; Fri.-Sat., Dec. 18-19, 7:30 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., Dec. 19-20, 2 p.m., $24-$55. (909) 477-2775, lewisfamilyplayhouse.com.

San Fernando Valley and north:
Pacific Festival Ballet Kavli Theater, Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks; Sat.-Sun., Dec. 19-20, 2 p.m. & 7 p.m, $20-$40. (805) 449-2100, pacificfestivalballetcompany.com.

Degas Dance Performing Arts Education Center, 4111 Las Virgenes Road, Calabasas; Sat., Dec. 12, 5 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 13, 1 p.m., $18-$42. degasdancestudio.com.

California Dance Academy Performing Arts Education Center, 4111 Las Virgenes Road, Calabasas; Sat., Dec. 19,2 & 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 20, 1:30 & 5 p.m., $22-$27. californiadanceacademy.com.
Conejo Civic Ballet Company Fred Kavli Theater, Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd.; Sun., Dec. 13, 2:30 p.m., $22-$36. (805) 449-2100, civicartsplaza.com.

Moorpark Civic Ballet Janet and Ray Scherr Theater, Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks; Sat., Dec. 19, 1:30 & 6:30 p.m., $25-$30. (805) 449-2100, balletarts.org.

Ventura County Ballet Company with the Ventura College Symphony Orchestra. Ventura College Performing Arts Center, 4700 Loma Vista Rd.; Fri., Dec. 4, 7 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 5, 2 & 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 6, 2 p.m., $25-$35. (805) 648-2080, venturacountyballet.com.


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