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American Repertory Ballet Celebrates 60th Anniversary of The Nutcracker With Performances in Princeton, Red Bank, Trenton and New Brunswick

The battle between the Nutcracker and the Rat King

American Repertory Ballet Celebrates 60th Anniversary of The Nutcracker With Performances in Princeton, Red Bank, Trenton and New Brunswick

American Repertory Ballet Celebrates 60th Anniversary of The Nutcracker 
With Performances in Princeton, Red Bank, Trenton and New Brunswick 

American Repertory Ballet (ARB) proudly announces the return of its beloved production of The Nutcracker, celebrating an impressive 60-year milestone of captivating audiences and spreading holiday joy throughout New Jersey. As one of the longest-running productions in the United States, ARB's The Nutcracker has become a cherished tradition.  

The history of The Nutcracker at American Repertory Ballet dates back to 1963 when it premiered at McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton. This tradition began when William Lockwood, McCarter’s Special Programming Director at the time, suggested to the ballet’s founder Audrée Estey that they perform at McCarter every holiday season. The idea quickly became a reality. 

In addition to its performances at McCarter, American Repertory Ballet’s The Nutcracker has graced the stages of State Theatre New Jersey (STNJ) in New Brunswick and the Patriots Theater at the War Memorial in Trenton for over three decades. This December, The Nutcracker will also once again delight audiences at Two River Theater in Red Bank. 

An astonishing 200 students from Princeton Ballet School, the official school of American Repertory Ballet, will be performing alongside ARB’s exceptional roster of professional artists. The five performances at STNJ will also feature a live orchestra led by Kenneth T. Bean, Princeton Symphony Orchestra’s Georg and Joyce Albers-Schonberg Assistant Conductor, with singers from the Princeton Girlchoir. 

 "The Nutcracker is a long-standing tradition in our local community, and around the world, because its endearing charm is unmatched. The festive production and transporting music immerse the audience in the wonder of the holiday season year after year," says Artistic Director Ethan Stiefel. 

The Nutcracker tells the enchanting story of Clara and her Nutcracker Prince as they embark on a magical journey, battling toy soldiers and larger-than-life mice, and traveling through a whirlwind of dancing snowflakes before they reach the Land of the Sweets. Greeted by the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier, Clara enjoys a suite of brilliant and joyful dances before opening her eyes to the familiar sights of her home, wondering if it was all a dream. 

The illustrious history of ARB’s The Nutcracker has been described as “the place where all the work, all the dreams, all the magic, all the efforts come together to give everyone who participated in it great joy and satisfaction,” noted Carol Estey, daughter of the late Audrée Estey. “It all happens through the magical story of a gift given to a young child that comes to life and gives her a glimpse into a magical kingdom where everyone dances so beautifully that one can hardly believe it. It is all about dancing and joy and imagination. The Nutcracker is a gift. The gift is dance.”

Whether it will be your first time experiencing the wonder of American Repertory Ballet’s The Nutcracker, or you have been enjoying it for years…enchantment awaits! To reserve your tickets and become a part of this holiday tradition, please visit 

Performance Dates and Locations: 

McCarter Theatre Center | Princeton, NJ 
Friday, November 24            2:00 PM and 7:00 PM 
Saturday, November 25       1:00 PM and 6:00 PM 
Sunday, November 26          1:00 PM 

Two River Theater | Red Bank, NJ 
Friday, December 1               7:00 PM 
Saturday, December 2          1:00 PM and 6:00 PM 
Sunday, December 3             1:00 PM 

Patriots Theater at the War Memorial | Trenton, NJ 
Saturday, December 9          1:00 PM and 5:00 PM 

State Theatre New Jersey | New Brunswick, NJ 
Friday, December 15            7:30 PM 
Saturday, December 16       2:00 PM and 7:00 PM 
Sunday, December 17          1:00 PM and 5:00 PM 


Led by Artistic Director Ethan Stiefel, and with a distinctive reputation for innovation and individuality, American Repertory Ballet (ARB) is recognized as one of the state’s premier performing arts organizations. Presenting classical repertory alongside new and existing contemporary work, ARB is a founding resident company of the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center while also performing in major venues across New Jersey and beyond for an annual audience of more than 30,000. Founded in 1954 as the Princeton Ballet Society, ARB has been designated a “Major Arts Institution '' by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts consistently for the past two decades and has repeatedly been awarded a Citation of Excellence by the Council. The company has been recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts and other major foundations and leaders in the field as a prominent force in the field of dance. Princeton Ballet School, ARB’s official school, attracts talent from around the world while providing opportunities for local students of all ages, such as through its award winning DANCE POWER program. 

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Additional Info

Media Contact : Dan Bauer

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