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Nutcrackers

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.

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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
212-307-4100
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
212-772-4448
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
212-501-3330
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
212-721-6500
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
212-355-6160
Starts December 7


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