The famed story of Clara and her special Christmas present is reincarnated across NYC in both classical and eccentric retellings. Here are some of our top picks:
The old-New York show
"The Yorkville Nutcracker" Dec. 5-8 The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College 695 Park Ave. $45-$85, 212-772-4448 www.dancespatrelle.org The 18th annual production, featuring choreography by Francis Patrelle, transports audiences to New York City at the turn of the 20th century. Watch as dancers ages 5-65 attend a holiday party at Gracie Mansion, dance in the New York Botanical Garden’s Crystal Palace and ice skate in Central Park, all in lush costumes.
The modern twist
"The Knickerbocker Suite" Dec. 13-15, Dec. 20-22 Manhattan Movement & Arts Center 248 W. 60th St. $20-$25, 212-787-1178 www.manhattanyouthballet.org/performances.html The Manhattan Youth Ballet’s modern retelling takes well-known scenes from the classic tale and gives them an NYC twist. One scene finds dancers scurrying in and out of department stores, and in another, immigrants do a jubilant dance as they arrive from Ellis Island. New York sports teams and the angels in Rockefeller Center also make guest appearances.
The kid-friendly play
Keith Michael’s "The Nutcracker" Dec. 14-15, Dec. 22-23 Florence Gould Hall 55 E. 59th St. $40 for adults, $35 for children, 212-355-6160 www.nytb.org The New York Theatre Ballet’s production is geared toward wee ones, with pre-schoolers and toddlers sure to be captivated. Expect an owl that flies above the crowd, polka-dotted mice and gigantic chopsticks in the Art Nouveau style performance.
The racy production
Nov. 29-Jan. 5 18 Minetta Ln. $39-$79, 800-745-3000 www.nutcrackerrouge.com A burlesque “Nutcracker”? Yup. Expect a very sexy version from the Neo-Baroque group Company XIV, incorporating theater, dance, circus arts and (wait for it) nudity. No one under 16 will be admitted.
The pros in training
The Joffrey Ballet School’s “The Nutcracker” Dec. 13-Dec. 15 NYU Skirball Center 566 LaGuardia Pl. $25-$50, 212-998-4941 www.joffreyballetschool.com/performances.html Here’s your chance to see the Joffrey on the cheap: Students from the dance school program will perform alongside guest artists from the Joffrey concert group.
The outerborough experience
American Ballet Theatre’s “The Nutcracker” Dec. 13-Dec. 22 BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, Peter Jay Sharp Building 30 Lafayette Ave., Brooklyn $25-$135, 718-636-4100 www.bam.org/nutcracker Performed with a live orchestra, we hear this Brooklyn telling is just as good as the Lincoln Center show.
New York City Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” Nov. 29-Jan. 4 David Koch Theater 20 Lincoln Center Plaza $29-$154, 212-496-0600 www.nycballet.com
Other holiday shows
Radio City Music Hall "Christmas Spectacular" Through Dec. 30 Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Avenue of the Americas $46-$115, 866-858-0007 www.radiocitychristmas.com See the Rockettes kick up their heels in this family favorite that features the magic of Christmas, Santa Claus and a full nativity scene with Baby Jesus.
"A Charlie Brown Christmas" Dec. 21, 2 p.m. Carnegie Hall 881 Seventh Ave. $75 (for children 3 and under)-$500 (for a family four-pack), 212-903-9734 www.carnegiehall.org The “Peanuts” animated classic comes to the stage in this live family concert with the New York Pops and the New York Theatre Ballet.
'It's a Wonderful Life, the 1946 Live Radio Play' Dec. 4-29 Irish Repertory Theatre 132 W. 22nd St. $45, 212-727-2737 www.irishrep.org Now that the sequel has been scrapped, bask in the classic, performed by the Irish Repertory Theatre.