MCB performs new ‘Nutcracker’ in L.A.

Miami City Ballet in an all-new NutcrackerBeginning tonight, The Music Center in Los Angeles will bring a much beloved holiday tradition back to its city. From December 7–10, it will present Miami City Ballet (MCB) in an all-new world premiere production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker. Performances will take place at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and will feature a live orchestra.


Part of the 15th season of Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center, this engagement is a Music Center co-commission that will feature the visionary designs of Cuban-American designers Isabel and Ruben Toledo, who have created all-new sets and costumes for this production. In addition, for the first time, the performances will feature student dancers from both The Colburn School and The Gabriella Foundation’s everybody dance! program, along with live choral music from the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus.


Miami City Ballet in an all-new NutcrackerThis distinctive collaboration will blend both the fashion design sensibilities of Isabel Toledo with the artistic and illustration expertise of Ruben Toledo. The couples’ designs will pay homage to the classic story ballet and add a sense of fantasy by incorporating their aesthetic into the production. The sets and costumes are based on the original designs from the 1954 ballet; they will invoke a sense of nostalgia for the holidays while creating a postcard perfect setting for the ultimate holiday experience.


Isabel Toledo will bring couture to the stage with costume designs that are inspired by fashion from the early 1800s along with playful costumes that capture the whimsy of the characters. Projections by award-winning designer Wendall K. Harrington will expand and enhance the visual world of this new Nutcracker, as well as provide additional insight into the storyline through the eyes of a child. The costumes and the magical stage design will transport audiences to an enchanted kingdom where heroic toy soldiers battle giant mice and a glittering Sugarplum Fairy dwells in a magical Land of Sweets.


“The Music Center is excited to bring back the holiday tradition of enjoying an original Balanchine Nutcracker but in whole new way, one that is unique to Los Angeles,” said Rachel Moore, president and CEO of The Music Center.


Miami City Ballet in an all-new Nutcracker“Given the artistry of the Miami City Ballet, the Toledos’ genius visual interpretation of this beloved classic, and the addition of student performers from right here in Los Angeles, families will be in for a treat. The Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion will be transformed into a winter wonderland that captures the spirit of the season through the magic of a child’s imagination,” she explained.


Continuing The Music Center’s tradition of collaborating with community organizations and providing a platform for local young artists, the performance will feature young dance students from The Colburn School and the Gabriella Foundation’s everybody dance! program, as well as members of the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus. Student dancers participated in a two-week summer workshop at The Colburn School where they learned the history of The Nutcracker along with choreography and long sequences prior to auditioning. The young dancers have rehearsed with MCB this week.


“We wanted to give Los Angeles a Nutcracker beyond proportion, one that audiences will treasure,” said Michael Solomon, vice president of presentations and education for The Music Center. “With its commitment to artistic excellence and collaboration, both with The Music Center and local talent, Miami City Ballet was a critical piece of our plan to bring The Nutcracker back to Los Angeles for many years to come.”


Described by The New York Times as “exceptional,” MCB is one of the few companies in the country to continuously perform George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, which it has done for almost 30 years. The Toledos’ artistic team includes Harrington, who is known as the godmother of modern projection design, and lighting designer James K. Ingalls, known for his work on Broadway and with international and national ballet and opera companies.


The Music Center is offering a Sugar Plum Fairy Brunch and the Waltz of the Flowers Tea for ticket holders who attend the Sunday, December 10 matinee performances for an additional cost. Both the brunch and tea will be held in Stern Grand Hall of The Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and will include live music, craft-making and photo opportunities. 


Information and pricing for George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker and its special events is available at Call 213-972-0711 for specific questions.


Miami City Ballet will also perform the new George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker in Miami from December 15 – 24. Head to to learn more.


Photos: Miami City Ballet dancers being fitted for their costumes for the new George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker. Photos by Iziliaev, courtesy of The Music Center.