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The Nutcracker Suite premiered in 1892, but only after World War II did the Tchaikovsky ballet become a New York family rite. Today, there's an interpretation for any sugarplum -- child or not.


1. George Balanchine's The Nutcracker
The entire New York City Ballet company plus 50 children roll out the gorgeous gold standard, featuring a one-ton tree, a nine-foot-wide Mother Ginger, and a million watts of light.
New York State Theater
Through December 31

2. The Yorkville Nutcracker
For this otherwise traditional staging, Dances Patrelle resets the ballet to Gracie Mansion, 1895. Police Commissioner Teddy Roosevelt is a party guest, and a skating scene takes place in Central Park by the Dakota.
Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College
Starts December 6

3. The Golden Dreydl: A Klezmer Nutcracker
Public radio's Ellen Kushner narrates Shirim Klezmer Orchestra's arrangement of the score. Clara becomes Sara, and meets King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.
Merkin Concert Hall
December 16

4. Nutcracker Swing
Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic mix it up again: The Phil does the Tchaikovsky, and Wynton Marsalis & co. offer jazz variations. Leonard Slatkin conducts.
Avery Fisher Hall
Starts December 13

5. Magic of Dance
If you want to infuse your little ones with culture but fear they'll nod off by Act Two, try this colorful one-hour abridgement (with stilt-walker and juggler) by the New York Theatre Ballet. For kids 3 to 12.
Florence Gould Hall
Starts December 7


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