The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra's and Rochester City Ballet's "The Nutcracker" carries a significant weight in Rochester holiday traditions. The annual production has been a lot of people's introduction to the orchestra, to ballet, or to Tchaikovsky's Christmas tale about a young girl, her toy turned prince, and the Sugar Plum Fairy. RCB is now marking 30 years of "The Nutcracker" performances, the 18th staged in collaboration with the RPO, and the show has grown into a major community event. While the show has long included a ton of local musicians and children, this year will be the first time the production will feature only RCB company members — past years have included out-of-town dancers in some lead roles.
The RPO (conducted by Michael Butterman) and RCB (led by Artistic Director David Palmer) with Bach Children's Chorus (Karla Krogstad, director) will stage "The Nutcracker" on Wednesday, November 22, through Sunday, November 26, in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, 60 Gibbs Street. Wednesday at 7 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; and Sunday at 2 p.m. $24-$104 (discounts for those 17 and under. 454-2100; rpo.org).
Three other companies will stage the ballet in Rochester this season: New York State Ballet's "The Nutcracker" takes place December 8 through December 10 at the Kodak Center Theater, 200 West Ridge Road ($10-$15; newyorkstateballet.org); The Moscow Ballet will perform a traditional take of the "Great Russian Nutcracker" on December 7 at the Auditorium Theatre, 885 East Main Street ($31-$71; rbtl.org); and "The Hip-Hop Nutcracker" will re-imagine the show on December 20, also at the Auditorium Theatre, with hip-hop dance, a NYC setting, and a DJ and electric violinist interpreting Tchaikovsky in a new way ($30-$68; hiphopnutcracker.com).