Nashville’s Nutcracker Returns to TPAC


Presented by Nashville Ballet, Nashville’s Nutcracker returns to TPAC’s Jackson Hall from December 1–23, 2018, and as always it is sure to delight audiences both young and young-at-heart.

Nashville Ballet premiered Nashville’s Nutcracker in 2008 with a unique concept, weaving the city’s glittering past with the awe-inspiring wonder of the classic tale. Now in its 11th season on stage, Nashville’s Nutcracker has cemented itself in the hearts of numerous patrons and young artists as a treasured holiday tradition.

Clara’s enchanted journey begins at the 1897 Centennial Exposition in Nashville. Along with her Uncle Drosselmeyer, Clara meets a colorful cast of characters from faraway lands. When she receives a magical wooden Nutcracker from Drosselmeyer on Christmas Eve, the toy comes to life to lead her on an unforgettable adventure. Clara encounters a captivating collection of fascinating friends including the delightful characters she met at the Exposition. When the curtain closes on Clara asleep on her couch, the audience is left to decide if it was real or not.

The show is technically difficult to pull off. For instance, Jon Upleger, one of the company’s artists, said, "I'm really enjoying doing Drosselmeyer. You have this character that's really fairly integral throughout the whole ballet. Drosselmeyer can be sort of a difficult role because you have to do a lot of magic tricks, and I'm not necessarily the smoothest when it comes to a sleight of hand, so that's taken a lot of practice over the past few years."

Nashville’s Nutcracker was designed to be seen over and over again because you find little details in it each time that make it exciting and fresh,” Nashville Ballet’s Artistic Director Paul Vasterling said. “The story itself is magical as it is, but the addition of Nashville’s iconic characters and landmarks into the production guarantee that you’ll discover something new every year.”



“It really lends itself to the idea of tradition in that sense,” he added, “no matter how many times you've seen it, it always creates this nostalgic sense of wonder that just feels inherent to this time of year."

Vasterling’s original concept and choreography are complemented by an entirely local production. Along with 53 members of Nashville Ballet’s professional company and second company, Nashville’s Nutcracker includes a youth cast of a record-breaking 298 young dancers from School of Nashville Ballet and the community at large, accompanied by 60 musicians from the Nashville Symphony.

"Nashville's Nutcracker is an incredible way to get the whole family in the spirit of the holidays,” said Nashville Ballet’s director of artistic operations, Sharyn Mahoney. “We have almost 300 children in our youth cast, so we really focus on making this an enjoyable experience for cast members, their parents and other relatives. For many families this production has become one of their most beloved holiday traditions, and there's really nothing like watching a child's face light up when they watch Sugar Plum for the first time."

Tickets start at $40 and can be purchased in person at the TPAC box office in downtown Nashville, by phone at (615) 782-4040 or at A complete performance schedule and more information can be found at



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