The Ultimate Nutcracker

Three Twin Cities productions of <em>The Nutcracker</em> are among the more than 50 shows vying to be the best in the nation

Ah, The Nutcracker: the epitome of holiday ballets, the pinnacle of a child ballerina’s career, the dream sequence other dream sequences look to for inspiration. (Also, one helluva trippy idea for a ballet: a Nutcracker prince battling a seven-headed mouse king? That’s even a notch above Alice in Wonderland.) All that aside, it just wouldn’t feel like Christmastime without multiple Nutcrackers taking over the Twin Cities dance scene, and this year three of those productions are competing to win the coveted “Nutty”: the fifth annual Goldstar National Nutcracker Award.

The shows—Continental Ballet Company’s  The Nutcracker at Maplewood Performing Arts Theatre, Ballet Minnesota’s The Classic Nutcracker at The O’Shaughnessy, and Academy of Russian Ballet’s The Nutcracker at Eden Prairie High School Performing Arts Center—are up against more than 50 other interpretations of the classic ballet, including selections from such notable cities as Los Angeles, Chicago, and Boston , all of which have won “Nutty” awards in years past. The award is given to the Nutcracker with the best member reviews and event ratings (members being people who have purchased tickets and seen the show). Winners also receive a $2,500 cash prize to go toward educational programming. The winner will be announced Wednesday, December 21.

Seeing any of the shows? Go to and submit your review—help the Twin Cities take home a “Nutty”!

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