Boston Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” Review and Giveaway

It’s December, which means downtowns are getting decked out with wreaths, lights, and bows. Christmas music becomes unavoidable. Also, it’s the season for The Nutcracker.

[UPDATE: Thank you all so much for reading and entering. I loved your entries and wish I had tickets to give each and every one of you. I randomly selected a winner, Rica, and if she doesn’t respond by noon on Wednesday, I will pick another winner. Wishing you all the best holiday season and New Year!! —OH, and here’s another giveaway for Nutcracker tickets on my friend Gilda’s blog! ]

We brought the boys to see a performance of it last year, put on by their cousin’s dance school. They were enthralled.

This year, we were offered the chance to see the Boston Ballet perform The Nutcracker at the Boston Opera House. In a word: Fantastic.

Photo credit: Boston Ballet

Photo credit: Boston Ballet

First, though, we went to one of the many Story Hours, hosted by Boston Ballet in and around Boston. Our story hour took place at the Boston Ballet School itself.


A young dancer told the children the story of The Nutcracker. She showed us a pancake tutu and explained how it sticks out and stays flat. She explained about pointe shoes (they’re so hard at first that dancers must beat them on the floor, pound them with a hammer, and pour hot water on them to make them malleable enough to wear!). We got to touch tiaras and pointe shoes, and then she got the children up to practice some ballet moves.



For more information about the story hours and where/when to find them, click here.

And then, after lunch, we were off to the Opera House! We opted to walk the mile from the studio to the Opera House, which got us there in the very nick of time. We didn’t get to see the orchestra warming up. Don’t be us. Get there early.


Photo credit: Boston Ballet

Photo credit: Boston Ballet

Here are some fun facts about The Nutcracker that intrigued me before we even got to the show:

Nutcracker Facts:

–        More than 300 dancers will perform in the new production.

–        Each performance has approximately 150 dancers involved.

–        There are 250 children in the performance, making up three or four casts (classical ballet students from the Boston, Newton and North Shore studios)

Sets and Costumes:

–        All of the sets and costumes are new, by award winning designer Robert Perdziola

–        The inspiration for the costumes in the production references the early 19th century Regency style also identified with the “Jane Austen period”.

–        Over 2,000 yards of net and tulle were used for the costumes

–        Over 200,000 jewels were used in the costumes, from 3mm diameter to 18mm long

  • Sugar Plums and Dew Drops have over 3,600 jewels on their tutus and bodices
  • Approximately 1/3 of the jewels are hand sewn

–        The Christmas tree is 42 feet 6 inches tall and there are 766 fiber optic points embedded in the big Christmas tree and there are 600 ornaments.–        The set changes include a series of reveals where scenes appear to iris out of one another.

–        To make three pieces of scenery move at once, the ballet’s technical staff built rigging and tracking systems on monstrous steel cages (in the show these systems are manipulated by one stagehand pulling a rope). [HOW COOL IS THAT??]

–        All of the sets were painted by hand and domestically made.

The sets were unbelievable—so ornate, so beautiful (and moved by one person, pulling a rope—I still can’t get over that part). So were the costumes. And of course, the dancers themselves were perfect, strong and skilled. The boys watched, totally mesmerized. Remember, they are four and six years old and not into ballet. We were all surprised when intermission came and we realized so much time had passed.


Photo credit: Boston Ballet

Photo credit: Boston Ballet

After intermission is less story, more pure dancing. Even if you, like me, are not a big fan of ballet itself, there’s the Arabian dance, Mother Ginger (with all her little polichinelles [which basically means “open secrets”]), and (our favorite) the Russian dance, performed by three very acrobatic men.


Photo credit: Boston Ballet

Photo credit: Boston Ballet

My boys’ favorites were (of course!) the battle scene between the Mouse King and the Nutcracker and his soldiers, though we somehow all missed the flinging of the slipper. I also was transfixed by the lovely snow scene. The boys also greatly liked the Nutcracker Prince’s soloing in the second act, as well as the acrobatic dancers in the Russian dance.

Photo credit: Boston Ballet

Photo credit: Boston Ballet

For a quick video of some of our favorite scenes, click here: Nutcracker Highlights.

This morning my little one wore his paper Nutcracker crown into school and proudly showed all his teachers and friends.

The Boston Opera House is gorgeous.

The Boston Opera House is gorgeous.

And Now, The Giveaway! 

I’m giving away four tickets to The Nutcracker at the Boston Opera House. Tickets are valid for winner’s choice of the following performances:

  • Wed, Dec 10 @ 7:30pm
  • Tue, Dec 16 @ 7:30pm
  • Wed, Dec 17 @ 7:30pm
  • Thu, Dec 18 @ 1pm
  • Thu, Dec  18 @ 7:30pm

To enter, simply leave a comment telling me why you want to see to see The Nutcracker. Make sure I have your email address!! LIMITED TO ONE ENTRY PER PERSON.

Note: This is a quick-turnaround giveaway! Winner will be RANDOMLY selected at noon EST Tuesday, December 9, using Winner will be notified by email. If winner does not respond within 24 hours to claim prize, another winner will be selected. 

UPDATE: Thank you all so much for reading and entering. I loved your entries and wished I had tickets to give each and every one of you. I randomly selected a winner, Rica, and if she doesn’t respond by noon on Wednesday, I will pick another winner. Wishing you all the best holiday season and New Year!! 

More Information about Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker:

         About Boston Ballet’s Nutcracker:

–        Runs November 28 –December 31, 2014

–        All performances are at the Boston Opera House

–        Tickets start at $29

–        Tickets can be purchased online at or over the phone at 617.695.6955

–        There are 44 performances

–        Show times: Tuesday-Saturday at 7:30pm, Sunday at 5:30pm, all matinees are at 1:00pm

[Disclosure: I was provided with complimentary tickets and lunch. All opinions are my own.]

72 thoughts on “Boston Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” Review and Giveaway

  1. djdig

    I’ve lived in MA my whole life & I’ve never seen The Nutcracker. I’d love to change that since it’s such a huge part of the holidays in Boston.

  2. Sharon

    When I was little, we weren’t exactly traditionalists. Holidays celebrations, locations, & the cast of characters changed every year. The one consistent tradition we had was going to The Nutcracker every year. I remember thinking it was magical. I’d love to start that tradition with my own family now.

  3. Cat

    Although I’ve seen the Nutcracker twice, I’ve never seen it at the Opera house. My mom, who is 70, has never seen it performed at all. If we win, we’d do a three generation girls night/afternoon to the Nutcracker.

  4. Judy

    I’d love to see a performance of the Nutcracker because I have never seen it live and my hubby and I could use a date night!!

  5. Maite Attenelle

    My 7 years old little girl is dancing for the last 3 years and that makes her so happy. I would love to see her eyes full of joy and happiness. Every year we watch the Nutcracker on tv, that would be amazing to see it on a stage with her.

  6. Charise

    I would love to win because I just read The Nutcracker with my four year old son for the first time recently, and he thought it was so magical. I promised I would take him to see it one day.

  7. Christina

    Thanks for doing this! I want to bring my family to the Nutcracker this year because my 4 year old is really into ballet. My husband brought her last year when I couldn’t take her at the last minute. With your 4 tickets, we’d all be able to go!

  8. Heather

    I’d love to win! I’d use it for a date night with my grandmother… or my husband.. I’m not sure. I used to go every year with my grandmother but my husband has been working 70 hour weeks and I work full time so a (free!) night off together would be amazing!

  9. Heather

    I would like to go because my mom took me every year when I was a kid in San Diego. We have seen the ballet together in several cities around the country but we haven’t seen this new version from the Boston Ballet. It would be fun to continue the tradition this year with her and our family.

  10. Anonymous

    Would love to see the Nutcracker because it would impress my wife that her manly hubby would even be remotely interested in seeing a ballet performance. Also, with a 19 month old toddler and a second on the way, we desperately need a date night 🙂

  11. Angela

    My daughter sleeps with her nutcracker around Christmas time! She pretends to be in the play for hours on end and watches the orginal ballet on video!! She would love to see it live!!

  12. Sutton Rockwood

    My 6 yr old daughter LOVES the Nutcracker – the music, the costumes, the dancing. Seeing the Boston Ballet’s performance would be magical!

  13. Jennifer M. Campbell

    Because mu daughters are finally old enough to sit through it and I love the music but have never seen it!

  14. April Egbert

    I have never seen the Nutcracker and would love to bring my girls. They absolutely love ballet and pretending to be ballerinas. 🙂

  15. Ann

    We are such big fans and enjoy the music and books about the Nutcracker every year. It would be a thrill to see the ballet.

  16. Dina

    The Nutcracker is one of my favorites during Christmas time. I would love to introduce my daughter to this magical performance.

  17. Keryn

    I would love to take my 4 year old son to see The Nutcracker and watch him sit entranced by the sights, sounds, and movement of the show. I think he would be fascinated and I’d love to make it a tradition in the future!

  18. Jessica

    I have two ballerinas myself. We have never been to the Nutcracker in Boston. I myself went every year as a child until the age of 8. It is one of my fondest memories. I would love to share it with my children

  19. Lori Chesloff

    My daughter just danced in a local performance of the Nutcracker and has spent every day of the past month listening to the music and dancing in her room. She and her younger sister would both be over the moon to see the Boston Ballet perform The Nutcracker at The Opera House!

  20. Janine DiTore

    I’d like to be able to take my daughters aged 10 & 8. They have never been and I’m sure they’d love it

  21. erinalmond

    I’d love to take my daughter (age 8) and son (age 6)! It would give us a great excuse to do something with just them. (We also have a 17 month old and they’re great with their baby sis, but sometimes the big sibs need a break.)

  22. rica

    I want to see the Nutcracker because I have never been to a ballet. I have been fascinated by it for years but never had the means or opportunity to go. Crossing my fingers i can go this year.

  23. Anonymous

    I would love to see the Nutcracker because after 5 Christmas’ in a row of having a tough time with the holidays, I am finally learning to enjoy them again, now that my husband and I have started our own little family! I am trying to get out and do more holiday activities!

    1. Valerie D.

      While we have a tradition of seeing Christmas Revels every year, my nine year old continues to beg to see the Nutcracker also after learning that a section of Disney’s Fantasia is devoted to the music.

  24. kerry SMITH

    I want to see the Nutcracker because it look amazing and beautiful and my daughter, who loves to dance, would so enjoy the beauty.

  25. Arlington Mom

    I have wanted to take my two kids (7 yo girl, dancer; 5 yo boy) to the Boston Ballet Nutcracker since they were little, but unfortunately it’s a bit out of our budget right now.

  26. Sarah

    I love the Nutcracker, and we’ve never seen the Boston Ballet perform it. My girls would love to see it, and the whole experience of going to the theater would be so magical!

  27. Rachel

    I went to the NYCB’s production every year when I was little and wanted to be a dancer – would love to see the BB and take my 4-year old – so cool that your little guy enjoyed it! I think my little guy would too.

  28. Bonnie

    If love a chance to see this Christmas Classic- mostly because I’m a stat-at-home mom of two boys & I could sure use a night out with my hubs! Also, I’m a big fan of ballet!

  29. Kate

    It would mean so much to me, as a way to re-connect with my childhood and the innocent joy of Christmas. Thanks for this wonderful idea!

  30. Margaret

    I took ballet lessons (as well as tap and jazz) for ten years, until I graduated high school, but I never saw a professional dance company during that time. I have now lived in Boston for just about nine years and am expecting my first child in January. I would love to see The Nutcracker for the first time before my son arrives. It would be the perfect holiday present and “babymoon” like event for my husband and me. Not to mention that my soon-to-arrive son moves around so much right now, I think of him as a dancer already!

  31. Kerry

    I have two 8 year olds that want to see the nutcracker so badly. They saw a mini production through a local dance group as a field trip and cannot even believe that the big show in boston is even bigger and better!

  32. Vanessa

    I would love to see the Nutcracker because after 5 Christmas’ in a row of having a tough time with the holidays, I am finally learning to enjoy them again, now that my husband and I have started our own little family! I am trying to get out and do more holiday activities with my family!

  33. Heather

    My four year old would love it. She’s obsessed with ballerinas but has never seen a ballet in person – the Nutcracker would be a wonderful first for her!

  34. Nicole

    Would love to win the tickets and attend with my husband. Something we did and enjoyed in our pre-baby life. With all of our little guy’s health issues since birth, we’ve put ourselves and our relationship second, but our Christmas gift to each other this year is putting us first (when possible) again.

  35. Carol

    What a great offer! I would like to win the tickets to see the nutcracker to take my 4 year old son. I have the music on the cd and we listen to it year round. He especially loves the “cymbal crash song” The Nutcracker Suite: No. 8 Journey Through the Snow. The song captured his attention at the big crescendo but it is also a fitting song for us because of the “Journey through the Snow” reminding me of the blizzard my son was born during on 12/26. Everytime this song comes (for example 2 minute mark here: he gets his arms ready to make the crash!. I would also like to take my son to see boys and men dancing. He has sadly been misguided by some school friends that boys don’t dance.

  36. mohajeryparisa

    Hi, what a beautiful thing you are doing! My young daughter is doing ballet and they are practicing nutcracker in her class. She has been asking to see it and we couldn’t make it happen so far. I read your post on arligton patch and was so excited to know that there might be a slight chance we could make this happen for her before the holidays! My email address is

  37. Vivian

    Somehow I reached a ripe old age without having ever seen The Nutcracker, until last year when we saw a children’s version that a friend’s daughter performed in. It was, of course, a children’s version — but still wonderful in its own way. I would love to see the Boston Ballet’s Nutcracker because it is probably one of the best in the world. I expect it would be an amazing, magical, one-of-a-kind experience! I would love to give my family this gift.

    1. debbie

      Love to go and thanks for doing this contest. I have lived in Boston for over 20 years and have not made it to this version of the Nutcracker. I had wanted to take my 4 year old, to Jose Matoe’s at Sanders this year, but the discount tickets are already gone!

  38. Joselyn

    My daughter would love to see this live! She takes dance class once a week and loves dancing around the house like a ballerina. I have never seen the show so I’d also enjoy the opportunity to see the magic come to life.

  39. Amy

    Thank you, Julia, for the lovely article and your generous holiday spirit.
    It’s our turn for levity. A special Christmas gift my mother gave me in 2007, before cancer took her from us on my birthday 6 months later, was to bring me and my infant son to the Nutcracker. He is now 7 years old and I’d love to open his eyes with the Nutcracker delights once again. I’m ready now too for a return to the Nutcracker in memory of my mom and his Gigi who dances and twinkles out there somewhere. I would invite a friend who’s sister was just diagnosed with Stage 3 lung cancer to bring an evening of joy to her rough journey holiday season.

    May joy and kindness abound for people of all colors each and every day!


  40. Jen

    I did ballet growing up and would love to see the Nutcracker. We went once growing up and the ticket stubs were turned into Christmas ornaments and are still on my tree 25 years later!

  41. Pingback: Review of Boston Ballet's Nutcracker & tips for little kids | Honest Mom

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