American Ballet Theatre’s THE NUTCRACKER Plays the Segerstrom Center For The Arts

Segerstrom Center for the Arts announces the return of its popular tradition – American Ballet Theatre’s captivating production of The Nutcracker. 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.

In its annual holiday engagement, American Ballet Theatre will give 12 performances between December 10 through December 19, 2021 in Segerstrom Hall. This year marks the 6th time that The Center has presented ABT’s The Nutcracker, Southern California’s grandest production of this beloved holiday tradition. This Nutcracker features ABT’s international all-star cast.

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 (previous versions were by Mikhail Baryshnikov and ABT Artistic Director Kevin Mckenzie). The Nutcracker, with its timeless music by Tchaikovsky and fairytale costumes and exotic dances, is the perfect way to introduce children to dance and even inspire them to study dance and become a little Clara or Nutcracker Prince.

Scenery and costumes for The Nutcracker are by Tony Award winning designer Richard Hudson (Disney’s The Lion King). Lighting for the production is by Tony Award winner Jennifer Tipton.

The Los Angeles Times said, “Choreographer Alexei Ratmansky has made his own Christmas miracle: a joyful “Nutcracker” ballet that is ravishing and clever enough to inspire multiple viewings … 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 … Ratmansky has created a work that celebrates the wonder and transformative power of live performance.”

The New York Times said, “Mr. Ratmansky here is an enchanting storyteller, but his is among the most original, fascinating for children and adults alike. 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 $30 and on sale Wednesday, September 22, 2021 online at, 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.

The ABT Gillespie Ballet School offers unrivaled training, performing opportunities, Master Classes, lectures by visiting artists, and the highest quality of classical ballet training through the American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum. Forty students are featured annually in ABT’s production of The Nutcracker; and have performed alongside ABT dancers in the World Premiere productions of The Sleeping Beauty (2015), Whipped Cream (2017), and the West Coast premiere of ABT’s Harlequinade (2019).

ABT Artistic Director Kevin Mckenzie has released principal casting which will include Hee Seo as Clara, the Princess, and Cory Stearns as The Nutcracker Prince on Opening Night, Friday, December 10. *Indicates first time in role.

Friday, December 10 at 7 p.m. – Hee Seo, Cory Stearns

Saturday, December 11 at 2 p.m. – Skylar Brandt*, Herman Cornejo

Saturday, December 11 at 7 p.m. – Christine Shevchenko, Thomas Forster

Sunday, December 12 at 12:30 p.m. – Devon Teuscher*, Joo Won Ahn

Sunday, December 12 at 5:30 p.m. — Skylar Brandt*, Herman Cornejo

Wednesday, December 15 at 7 p.m.- Isabella Boylston, James Whiteside

Thursday, December 16 at 7 p.m. – Catherine Hurlin*, Aran Bell

Friday, December 17 at 7 p.m. — Christine Shevchenko, Thomas Forster

Saturday, December 18 at 2 p.m. — Hee Seo, Cory Stearns

Saturday, December 18 at 7 p.m. — Devon Teuscher, Joo Won Ahn

Sunday, December 19 at 12:30 p.m. – Isabella Boylston, James Whiteside

Sunday, December 19 at 5:30 p.m. – Catherine Hurlin, Aran Bell

The Nutcracker is presented with special underwriting from Tiffany & Co. The Center’s International Dance Series is made possible by the Audrey Steele Burnand Endowed Fund for International Dance and The Segerstrom Foundation Endowment for Great Performances. Segerstrom Center for the Arts also thanks its Official Airline, United Airlines.

New Partnership between Segerstrom Center for the Arts and American Ballet Theatre

This engagement of The Nutcracker begins a new three-year partnership of the co-presented annual production of Alexei Ratmansky’s The Nutcracker and continues with World and West Coast Premieres and engagements each spring through 2024 combining the resources of America’s National Ballet Company and one of the nation’s leading presenters of dance.

Since 2015, ABT has wowed Southern California audiences at Segerstrom Center for the Arts with annual holiday engagements of The Nutcracker for over 63 performances. Segerstrom Center and ABT have a robust long-standing relationship. At the Center, ABT gave the World Premiere of Mikhail Baryshnikov‘s Swan Lake in 1988. In 1999, the ABT production of Le Corsaire was taped for broadcast on PBS’s Dance in America, winning an Emmy Award. In 2003, The Dream was also taped at the Center for broadcast on Dance in America. In 2008, ABT co-commissioned Twyla Tharp‘s Rabbit and Rogue with Segerstrom Center for the Arts, which received its World Premiere in New York and its West Coast Premiere at the Center.

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, 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.

Most recently, the Center presented Uniting in Movement, in April of 2021, a unique dance project bringing 18 ABT dancers together for safe collaboration and an exhilarating performance of new works by Jessica Lang, Lauren Lovette, and Darrell Grand Moultrie.

The three-year partnership between American Ballet Theatre and Segerstrom Center for the Arts will include three Premiere works. Beginning March 2022, ABT and the Center will present a mixed repertory program to include a World Premiere by Alonzo King and West Coast Premieres of Ratmansky’s Bernstein in a Bubble and Lang’s ZigZag, featuring songs recorded by Tony Bennett.

In March 2023, American Ballet Theatre will give the North American Premiere of Like Water for Chocolate at the Center. From the award-winning team of choreographer Christopher Wheeldon and composer Joby Talbot, with costumes by Bob Crowley, this co-production with the Royal Ballet is inspired by Laura Esquivel’s bestselling novel of the same name.

ABT and the Center’s partnership in 2024 will include a third World Premiere. Details to follow at a later date.