A sugar plum fairy.
Fantastical sights and sounds.
The story and presentation of “The Nutcracker” adapted from E.T.A. Hoffmann’s original short story has been amazing audiences for decades. A Christmastime tradition for many, the viewing seems to be a right of passage for those who love and appreciate the arts. Its seasonal popularity means adaptations are available to appeal to viewers of all ages. There are several Nutcracker performances in Kansas City. This guide can help you decide which one is right for you and your family.
Kansas City Ballet’s performance of “The Nutcracker”
The quintessential Nutcracker performance, in a beautiful setting, the Kansas City Ballet’s show at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts is a spectacle everyone must experience. It continues to awe audiences year after year. Childhood dreams of glimmer and glitz are presented in a two-hour and 15-minute feast for the eyes, complete with a 20-minute intermission. Guests are encouraged to dress in holiday attire to fit the striking backdrop.
Muriel Kauffman Theatre at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
1601 Broadway Blvd., Kansas City, Missouri 64108
Dec. 1–24, with multiple shows each day.
Tickets start at $34. Most shows sell out, so purchase early.
Fitting for all ages, but the sweet spot is 5 and up. According to one KCMC contributor and mom, the whimsy of the show is magical for the younger ones, as long as they can sit for the two hours! Sensory-friendly performances, matinee showings and group tickets are now offered as a way to appeal to a wide-range of audience members.
Pro tip: Introduce your child to the story of The Nutcracker beforehand with a book. Another suggestion: Check out The Hip Hop Nutcracker, streaming on Disney+, so they can appreciate the different adaptations.
Sugar Plum Fairy Children’s Ball
Also hosted by the Kansas City Ballet is the Sugar Plum Fairy Children’s Ball, a fundraiser for scholarship assistance, helping students within the KC Ballet company.
The event begins with each child receiving a complimentary photo with the Sugar Plum Fairy, and fanciful face painting while parents shop, participate in a silent auction, and enjoy entertainment and activities provided. A three-course luncheon follows for all guests. As they dine, a performance and reading of Clara’s magical journey to the Land of the Sweets will take place. Guests are then shuttled to a matinee of the full Nutcracker performance at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.
The Muehlebach Tower of the Kansas City Marriott Downtown
200 W. 12th St, Kansas City, Missouri 64105
Dec. 2, 2023
Tickets for children range from $85 to $225. The $85 price range includes admission to the ball, but not to the Nutcracker performance afterward.
Younger ballet enthusiasts will love the attention they receive, but make sure they can sit through a meal, reading, and ballet all in one day. Sweet spot is probably ages 8-12.
The Nutcracker Tea
The annual Nutcracker Tea Party is a family-friendly event perfect for the child in all of us. Enjoy a shortened, one-hour version of the holiday classic, performed by Crescendo Conservatory, along with a delightful tea party. Guests will revel in the tea-party fare served, the meeting of costumed dancers, and shoppable boutique.
The event is a fundraiser for Friends of Overland Park Arts, and all proceeds benefit arts education in low-income schools as well as city-sponsored arts and cultural activities and art installations in Overland Park.
Fiorella’s Event Center
9000 W. 137th St., Overland Park, Kansas
Saturday, Dec. 2, at 12 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 3, at 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
Tickets range from $65 to $125 per ticket, with different incentives at each price.
Suited for children ages 3-10, with a sweet spot of about age 4-7. This event is good for guests who are not quite ready to enjoy a two-hour performance of the ballet.
Pro tip: This event sells out every year! If you missed your chance for 2023, make a note in your calendar to purchase in August of 2024!
The Nutcracker, a Kansas Ballet
For a smaller and more low-key outing, head to the Lawrence Arts Center’s production of the famous ballet. Witness the magic and wonder as Drosselmeyer and Clara defeat the Mouse King and liberate the Nutcracker from his enchanted form.
Lawrence Art Center
940 New Hampshire St., Lawrence, Kansas 66044
Thursday, Dec. 8-10. 7:00 p.m. showings each night.
Tickets start at $30 or livestream all shows for $60.
Suitable for all ages.
The Jewish Nutcracker
“The Jewish Nutcracker” returns again and follows Rebecca and the Nutcracker on their magical journey from Bubbe’s house to the Land of Nosh, encountering everything from mice to dancing dreidels!
This year, audiences have two options. The first is a streamlined production known as the “Short & Suite Jewish Nutcracker”, that includes a pre-event tea party on Dec. 3, with two different time slots. This is the perfect length of show for kids of all ages.
Families can also attend two performances of the full-length Jewish Nutcracker on Dec. 10 that will include additional music and performances.
The Lewis & Shirley White Theatre at The J
5801 W 115 St., Overland Park, Kansas 66211
Dec. 3 at 11 a.m. or 4 p.m. (Streamlined production)
Tickets start at $6.
For littlest of ones, purchase the streamlined production. Ages 8 and up can appreciate the full version.
The Nutcracker, All Jazz’d Up
Union Station and the Academy of the Arts are presenting a delightful show incorporating tap, ballet, and jazz and even includes a cameo from Santa! The show is ideal for all ages and runs for approximately one hour and fifteen minutes.
City Stage Theatre in Union Station 30 West Pershing Road, Kansas City, MO 64108
Dec. 15 and 16 at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 17 at 6:30 p.m.
Tickets start at $12.
With the shorter time commitment and lively music, this is a show suitable for all ages.