Which Kansas City Nutcracker Performance is Right for Your Family?

Image of a nutcracker standing in front of a blurred lighted Christmas tree background

A sugar plum fairy.

Sparkling snowflakes.

Exquisite costumes.

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.

Where:

Muriel Kauffman Theatre at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
1601 Broadway Blvd., Kansas City, Missouri 64108

When:

Dec. 7–24, with multiple shows each day.

Price:

Tickets start at $34. Most shows sell out, so purchase early.

Age recommendation:

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!

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+ beginning Nov. 25, so they can appreciate the different adaptations.

Three little ones ready for the magic that awaits them.

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.

Where:

The Muehlebach Tower of the Kansas City Marriott Downtown
200 W. 12th St, Kansas City, Missouri 64105

When:

Dec. 10, 2022

Price:

Tickets start at $225.

Age recommendation:

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 Immersive Nutcracker: A Winter Miracle

If your little ballerina needs room to run and roam, The Immersive Nutcracker: A Winter Miracle might be the perfect choice. From the producers of the Immersive Van Gogh, this  experience is similar in that guests will be awed with a technological wonder. It brings the show to life in a new, interactive and exciting way.

Included with the ticket are a multitude of breathtaking projections and special effects, the chance to meet a life-sized nutcracker, and notable photo ops.

Where:

Lighthouse Artspace Kansas City
Zona Rosa Town Center
8690 N. Dixson Ave, Kansas City, Missouri 64153

When:

Nov. 19–Dec. 31

Price:

Tickets start at $30.

Age recommendation:

Great for any age and the whole family!

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.

Where:

Fiorella’s Event Center
9000 W. 137th St., Overland Park, Kansas

When:

Saturday, Dec. 3, at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 4, at 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Price:

Tickets start at $65.

Enjoying the tea party!

Age recommendation:

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 2022, make sure to purchase tickets in August for 2023.

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.

Where:

Lawrence Art Center
940 New Hampshire St., Lawrence, Kansas 66044

When:

Thursday, Dec. 8-11.

Price:

Tickets start at $30.

Age recommendation:

Suitable for all ages.

The Jewish Nutcracker

“The Jewish Nutcracker” returns for its second year 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” on Dec. 4 at 4 pm. This is the perfect length of show for kids of all ages. Guests are encouraged to enjoy a tea party add-on following the show to meet the characters on our famous sleighdel, create holiday crafts, and enjoy treats.

Families can also attend two performances of the full-length Jewish Nutcracker on Dec. 11 that will include additional music and performances.

Where:

The Lewis & Shirley White Theatre at The J
5801 W 115 St., Overland Park, Kansas 66211

When:

Dec. 4 at 4 p.m. (Streamlined production)
Dec. 11 at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Price:

Tickets start at $4.

Age recommendation:

For littlest of ones, purchase the streamlined production. Ages 8 and up can appreciate the full version.

Kristin is a Lee’s Summit suburb transplant, after living in the Brookside and Plaza areas for over eight years. Raising three young boys with her husband, Jake, has helped her to embrace the messy, wild side of life where love is expressed in bear hugs and body slams. Professionally, she can be found teaching classes as an adjunct professor in the areas of Business, Marketing and PR. She is able to provide her students with applicable, real-life knowledge as she draws from several years working in the corporate sector. “Free time” (ha!, what's that again?) is spent on an occasional date night to favorite local restaurants, reading blogs on everything from home design to politics, riding her sweet beach cruiser bike and thinking of ways to convince her husband to do yet another home improvement project.

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