Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s The Nutcracker Returns to the Benedum Center from December 8th to 28th

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s (PBT’s) current production of The Nutcracker features hundreds of colorful characters in an unforgettable adventure through the Land of Enchantment, which includes:

  • Five stunning scenes
  • 150 spectacular costumes
  • 1,500 costume accessories 
  • More than 100 artists from the professional company and PBT School
  • A Christmas tree that grows to 15 times its size
  • Sparkling falling snow
  • Over 30 sleight-of-hand tricks created by a professional magician

The Nutcracker is a magical experience for families every year,” said PBT executive director Nicholas Dragga. “The stunning costumes, beloved characters and Pittsburgh touches make this performance a beloved holiday tradition.”

PBT has performed various versions of The Nutcracker annually since its inception in 1970. Based on the choreography and concept by former PBT artistic director Terrence S. Orr, the Pittsburgh-based version has been staged at PBT for more than 20 years. The annual production also features Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s classic score with costume and set designs by Emmy-winning designer Zack Brown. Within the next few years, Pittsburgh audiences can expect to see a new version of The Nutcracker directed by PBT’s new artistic director, Adam W. McKinney. 

About Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker is one of the most well-known ballets of all time, based on German author E.T.A. Hoffman’s 1816 tale The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. The first ballet adaptation premiered in 1892 at the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia. PBT has performed versions of The Nutcracker since the 1970s and has presented Orr’s Pittsburgh-inspired interpretation since 2002.

PBT’s version opens with a Christmas Eve party in the early 20th-century Shadyside neighborhood, where a gift from mysterious “Uncle Drosselmeyer” sparks an adventure for young “Marie Stahlbaum.”

The story unfolds with classical ballet performances, ranging from the ethereal “Waltz of the Snowflakes” to the virtuosic dances of the Land of Enchantment. The choreography culminates with a Grand Pas de deux for the “Sugar Plum Fairy” and her “Cavalier” before the story returns to the Stahlbaum home, leaving “Marie” to wonder, “Was it all a dream?” 

The three-week run includes a family-inclusive and sensory-friendly performance for audiences with autism spectrum disorder, sensory sensitivities, or other individualized needs on Sunday, December 17 at 4:30 p.m.

TICKETS, DETAILS, and Community Engagement Programs

Between December 8th and 28th, PBT will offer 20 performances of The Nutcracker. The complete schedule can be found here

The three-week run includes a family-inclusive and sensory-friendly performance for audiences with autism spectrum disorder, sensory sensitivities, or other individualized needs on Sunday, December 17 at 4:30 p.m.

Ticket Information

Single tickets are available at pbt.org or 412-456-6666. More information is available at pbt.org or by calling 412-454-9107.

Groups purchasing eight or more tickets save up to 50%. More information is available at pbt.org/groups

Student Matinee

Teachers are encouraged to bring their classrooms to a student matinee performance at 11 a.m. on Friday, December 8. Tickets are available at a discounted price, and bus funding is available with professional development workshop attendance. For more information about student matinees, contact Jamie Adams at groupsales@pittsburghballet.org

Engagement Programs

Family Workshop  | Saturday, December 9 | 12:45 p.m.

It’s always easier for kids to appreciate and understand ballet with a bit of preparation! Join us for storytime, discovery, and fun! For this program, guests enter through the Benedum Center’s Stage Door, located at the back of the building at 719 Liberty Ave. Space is limited; please register.

Artist Q&A | Saturday, December 9 | after the 7 p.m. performance

Chat with PBT’s talented artists about their roles in The Nutcracker. For this program, guests are seated at the front of the Orchestra section near the stage.

Ballet Workshops for Scouts | Sunday, December 10 

Bring your troop to a performance of The Nutcracker and kick it off with a pre-show ballet class at the Benedum Center. No dance experience is required for this 45-minute beginners’ workshop. Warm up, learn basic ballet steps, and try modified choreography from The Nutcracker. Appropriate for all scouts! Troops must purchase a minimum of eight tickets. Click here for more information.

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