George Balanchine's The Nutcracker®

Choreography by: George Balanchine

Music by: Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky

As the clock chimes midnight, a brave young girl turns the tide in a battle between toy soldiers and mischievous mice, and a blizzard of ballerinas reveals a wonderful world of confection.


Print-at-home is not offered as a ticketing option for George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®. Entry requires a New York City Ballet ticket printed by the David H. Koch Theater. E-tickets, print-at-home tickets, and copies of tickets are not valid and will not be accepted.

The only official website for purchasing New York City Ballet performances of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® tickets is Purchasing tickets from any other seller or website runs a risk of receiving fraudulent tickets or paying extremely inflated prices. Tickets purchased from any other source that appear to have been altered, or are deemed fraudulent, will not be accepted and you will not be allowed entry.

Nutcracker orders on, at the Theater Box Office, or through the call center have a 14 ticket limit. If bulk purchasing is detected on the part of individuals, households, bots, patrons, or companies creating duplicate accounts to purchase more than the stated limit, orders may be cancelled without consideration.

Nutcracker priority ticketing access is not available to individuals, households, or accounts with a history of purchasing bulk tickets. If either the purchase of subscription packages or donations are detected on the part of individuals, households, accounts, bots, patrons, or companies creating duplicate accounts to conceal previous bulk ticket purchasing, subscription orders may be cancelled and donations may be refunded without consideration.

All patrons, including small children sitting in laps, must have a ticket to enter the theater. This production is appropriate for ages 5+ as long as guests are not disruptive to other patrons' enjoyment of the performance. Please be aware that anyone causing a disturbance during a performance, regardless of age, will be asked by a theater usher to leave the auditorium.


Look for VIP Sweet Seats

With this special holiday package, each admission includes:
  • Premium Seating
  • Souvenir Book
  • Keepsake Photo
  • Sweet Treat

As a special keepsake, for every two tickets purchased, you’ll receive a voucher good for one complimentary keepsake photo with a character from the George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®. Plus, Sweet Seat ticket holders save 15% when purchasing additional photos at the Nutcracker Photo Opportunity. Seats are limited, so purchase your tickets early.

During the holiday period, the entire Company is immersed in activities surrounding George Balanchine's The Nutcracker®. All 90 dancers, 62 musicians, 40 stagehands and more than 125 children, in two alternating casts, from the School of American Ballet join forces to make each performance as magical as possible. Children of all ages from New York City and the around the world fill the David H. Koch Theater to be captivated by the lure of Tschaikovsky's music, Balanchine's choreography, Karinska's sumptuous costumes, and Rouben Ter-Arutunian's magical sets. George Balanchine's The Nutcracker®, based on the Alexandre Dumas pere version of E.T.A. Hoffmann's tale, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (1816), demands a full-scale production.

The elaborate stage elements and intricate lighting unleash the viewers' imagination by providing visual effects that are extraordinarily grand. The most famous example is the one-ton Christmas tree that grows from a height of 12 feet to 41 feet, evoking audible gasps of disbelief from the audience at each performance. Other notable feats include the comic figure of Mother Ginger — 85 pounds and nine feet wide, the costume requires handling by three people once it is lowered by pulley over the dancer's head — as well as the continuous flutter of the purest, crystal-shaped snowflakes (which are swept up and conserved after each performance for reuse).

While these technical achievements are wonderful fun, it is Balanchine's choreography that sustains the ballet through two acts. Act I introduces the characters — the Stahlbaum children, Marie and Fritz, Herr Drosselmeier and his Nephew — and also begins the transition from reality into fantasy with the concluding Snowflake Waltz. Act II offers the complete transformation. We have entered the "Kingdom of the Sugarplum Fairy" and there is no turning back.

George Balanchine's The Nutcracker® is one of the most complex theatrical, staged ballets in the Company's active repertory. The popularity of the ballet is immense and it provides an unforgettable spark to everyone's holiday season.



Learn More About George Balanchine's The Nutcracker®

Read the Synopsis >
Learn About the History of the The Nutcracker and its Creators >
Discover Fun Facts About the Production >

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The 2019-20 Season performances of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker®
are generously sponsored by The Travelers Companies, Inc.


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The Nutcracker (1892)
February 2, 1954, New York City Ballet, City Center of Music and Drama
Original Cast
Maria Tallchief, Nicholas Magallanes, Tanaquil Le Clercq, Michael Arshansky, Alberta Grant, Susan Kaufman, Paul Nickel

Act I: 49 min. Act II: 41 min.
Costumes by
Karinska. Masks by Lawrence Vlady
Set by
Horace Armistead, Rouben Ter-Arutunian (1964)
Lighting by
Jean Rosenthal