Pacific Symphony Presents The Nutcracker For The Whole Family


Nutcracker for Kids presented by Pacific Symphony Dec. 14

Pacific Symphony will be presenting a condensed version of Tchaikovsky’s treasured ballet entitled, “Nutcracker for Kids,” as part of the symphony’s Family Musical Mornings presented by Farmers and Merchants Bank. This timeless classic transformed for kids takes place Sat, Dec. 14 at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. Attending children are also invited to participate in a merry Musical Carnival at 9 a.m. (for the 10 a.m. concert) and 12:15 p.m. (for the 11:30 a.m. concert).

Led for the first time by Assistant Conductor Alejandro Gutiérrez, the Symphony teams up with the dazzling dancers from the Festival Ballet Theatre to bring the story of Clara and her brave prince to life. Tchaikovsky’s beautiful melodies soar and the colorful dancers enchant throughout the epic battle with the Mouse King, the Land of Sweets, Waltz of the Flowers and the captivating Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

“One of the main wonders of the Nutcracker music and ballet is that it is a story that speaks to children of all ages,” says Maestro Gutierrez. “The dancers perform in front of the orchestra instead of below the stage in a usual production of the ballet. This helps keep the orchestra and Tchaikovsky’s music the main part of the show.”

Although the production is design for children ages 5-11, it is just as enjoyable for parents and grandparents accompanying the young audience. Bree Burgess of No Square Theatre in Laguna Beach will narrate this 45-minute version. The festive tradition also includes a holiday sing-along of “Jingle Bells,” “The Dreidel Song” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” A special guest is set to arrive sporting his famous red suit and fluffy white beard to spread the holiday cheer; yes Santa Claus is scheduled to also appear.

“The music of the Nutcracker itself is so beautiful and full of fantasy that it has captivated audiences for more than 100 years,” says Maestro Gutiérrez. “It is always wonderful to listen to the celesta, an instrument Tchaikovsky discovered in Paris a few years before he composed this music, also the delightful harp solos, the sweetness of the woodwinds, the tenderness and virtuosity of the strings, the subtlety of the percussion instruments and the brightness and power of the brass instruments. I always look forward to seeing families and friends gathered to enjoy the music and fun.”

Tchaikovsky’s well-known ballet was adapted from E.T.A. Hoffmann’s story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” and has become an annual holiday tradition throughout America. Written in 1816, the beloved tale centers around a young girl named Clara and her family’s Christmas Eve party.
The story unfolds when Clara’s mysterious Godfather, a toymaker, arrives and gives her a special doll, the Nutcracker, which makes all the other children green with envy. Clara soon finds herself in an unfamiliar world caught between fighting opponents. It’s the toy soldiers and their brave leader the Nutcracker versus the despicable Mouse King and his army of followers. Good trumps over evil as the Nutcracker saves Clara from the grasps of the Mouse King, and Clara is stunned as the Nutcracker transforms into a prince.

Together they visit the Land of Sweets and are spellbound by dances of Spain (chocolate), Russia (cinnamon), China (tea), and lastly, Dance of the Mirlitons (also called Dance of the Reed Flutes). There, Clara and the prince are greeted by the beautiful Sugar Plum Fairy and are led into a romantic “pas de deux,” dance for two, to conclude the grand festivities.

“Tchaikovsky help present the music into a ballet by providing two suites,” explains Gutiérrez. “The music became famous outside of the ballet by the way each piece is a beautiful story on its own.”

Through the grace and elegance of dance, children are transported into a world of movement andart as they watch the skill and poise of professional ballet dancers. Founded by Salwa Rizkalla in 1988 and named Outstanding Arts Organization of the Year in 2001 by Arts Orange County, Festival Ballet Theatre (FBT) has become one of Southern California’s most vibrant and accomplished regional ballet companies.

“I think what I’m looking forward to the most is the chance to stimulate the imagination of the children with this fantastic ballet,” says Gutiérrez, “but then again, ‘The Nutcracker’ will stimulate the imagination of everyone in the audience—children and adults, and even those of us performing onstage.”

For more information or to purchase tickets priced at $29-$49, call (714) 755-5799 or visit