A Review of ABT’s The Nutcracker at Segerstrom Center for the Arts


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Segerstrom Center of the Arts will once again be home to one of the most iconic holiday staples of the ages with the triumphant return of Tchaikovsky’s, The Nutcracker. A production as iconic and as beloved as the season itself, The Nutcracker sparks a wondrous sense of joy and cheer, giving audiences the perfect gift this holiday.

This limited engagement will mark the seventh time that the prestigious American Ballet Theatre troupe has brought the iconic story of The Nutcracker to Segerstrom, with this year’s production being one that’s impossible to ignore, breathing a new life into the timeless classic through the brilliant styling and magical musings of Alexei Ratmansky and his incredibly talented and diverse ensemble.


American Ballet Theatre’s rendition of The Nutcracker has an everlasting spirit, leaving the audience with a warm feeling of holiday magic that you will want to experience time and time over, making it so abundantly clear why this version of the holiday tale has become such an Orange County staple.

It all comes to a symphonic peak with an over abundance of sensory delights formed from a mix of Tchaikovsky’s powerful melodies, brilliant new costumes, and a dazzling dance of sets that are just as awe striking as the very dancers that float across the stage beneath them. The use of practical effects and transitions, tied with forced perspective and quick illusions makes the entire experience invigorating, generating a cinematic element that is sure to impress.

The Nutcracker’s technical prowess comes from Tony Award Winning designers in lighting through the talents of Jennifer Tipton, and the colorful and whimsical costume elements of Richard Hudson. It’s a perfect match that sets this production apart from its predecessors.

They are joined with the music of the Pacific Symphony, who deservedly received multiple rounds of roaring applause for their enchanting renditions of The Nutcracker’s classic score, being a core pillar of the production’s charm through every melody. Pacific Symphony really sets the tone, giving every opportunity for ABT’s ensemble to shine bright and clear.


Yet, the highest of praise has to come to the wonderful and spectacular duo of Devon Teuscher and Jon Won Ahn, who bring their all as the dream world counterparts to Clara and the Nutcracker Prince. Their chemistry is unmatched, loving, and joyous to behold, filled with a decadence that rivals that of the sugar plums they frolic through on their adventure through their dreamlike trance.

The Nutcracker will have 12 dedicated performances for guests of all ages between December 9th and December 18th in Segerstrom Hall. Tickets start as low as $29 and can be purchased through Segerstrom’s official site, or at the Segerstrom Box Office. Here’s a look at the full slate of performances below!

Friday, December 9 at 7 p.m. – Devon Teuscher, Joo Won Ahn

Saturday, December 10 at 2 p.m. – Isabella Boylston, James Whiteside

Saturday, December 10 at 7 p.m. – Catherine Hurlin, Aran Bell

Sunday, December 11 at 12:30 p.m. – Cassandra Trenary, Calvin Royal III

Sunday, December 11 at 5:30 p.m. – Christine Shevchenko, Thomas Forster

Wednesday, December 14 at 7 p.m. – Hee Seo, Cory Stearns

Thursday, December 15 at 7 p.m. – Skyler Brandt, Herman Cornejo

Friday, December 16 at 7 p.m. – Cassandra Trenary, Calvin Royal lll

Saturday, December 17 at 2 p.m. – Devon Teuscher, Joo Won Ahn

Saturday, December 17 at 7 p.m. – Skylar Brandt, Herman Cornejo

Sunday, December 18 at 12:30 p.m. – Catherine Hurlin, Aran Bell

Sunday, December 18 at 5:30 p.m. – Hee Seo, Cory Stearns

Segerstrom’s remaining holiday shows and concert schedules are also available; including ‘Tis the Season, Alton Brown Live Beyond the Eats- The Holiday Variant, and the Johnny Mathis Christmas Concert.

Make sure to take a look before the season flutters away!

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