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Long Beach Ballet, The Nutcracker
Photograph: Courtesy Long Beach Ballet

The best Christmas shows and ‘Nutcrackers’ in Los Angeles

From ‘A Christmas Carol’ to a number of ‘Nutcrackers,’ here’s a look at the best Christmas shows in Los Angeles this year

By Stephanie Morino and Time Out contributors

The holidays are a time for family and friends to come together, and what better way to get in the festive spirit than with a Christmas show? Now through DecemberLos Angeles theaters across the city are presenting various productions to celebrate the holiday season. Whether you’re into the more classic theatrical tales like A Christmas Carol or dance-heavy Nutcrackers, there’s a Christmas show for everyone—some may even say they are the best L.A. experience to give as a gift.

RECOMMENDED: Get more information about Christmas in Los Angeles

The best Christmas shows and Nutcrackers in L.A.

ABT's The Nutcracker
Photograph: Courtesy Gene Schiavone

1. American Ballet Theatre’s ‘The Nutcracker’


American Ballet Theatre is returning to Southern California with its production of The Nutcracker. But a highlight of this year’s show is likely to be the return of Southern California’s Misty Copeland as Clara for select performances. As if that wasn’t enough, the show will feature larger-than-life scenery, a Christmas tree and sets and costumes designed by Tony Award-winner Richard Hudson.

A Christmas Carol
Photograph: Courtesy Craig Schwartz

2. ‘A Christmas Carol’


Even the grumpiest of list-makers at yuletide has to include a production of Dickens’s most beloved tale of becoming a better person. Geoff Elliott and Julia Rodriguez-Elliott direct this production, with costumes by the imaginative Angela Balogh Calin, starring Elliott and his fellow resident artists of A Noise Within theater company—all ranking among L.A.’s best classical actors—staged in ANW’s spacious house with perfect sightlines from every seat, even for the kids.

Bob Baker Marionette Theater
Photograph: Michael Juliano

3. Bob Baker’s ‘Nutcracker’

Theater Puppet shows

The beloved Bob Baker Marionette Theater is already settled in its new Highland Park home, but once again this Christmas it’s taking its annual holiday production out on the town. For the second straight year, the charming play and its 100-plus handmade puppets move off-site with this staging at the Pasadena Playhouse.

Long Beach Ballet, The Nutcracker
Photograph: Courtesy Long Beach Ballet

4. ‘The Nutcracker’

Dance Ballet

Long Beach Ballet’s The Nutcracker is one of the only area productions of the holiday classic that includes not only a live full orchestra, but a horse, flying sleigh and pyrotechnics. Sure, the story may be the same, but this production pulls out all the stops to entertain audiences year after year.

Los Angeles Ballet, The Nutcracker
Photograph: Courtesy Los Angeles Ballet/Reed Hutchinson

5. ‘The Nutcracker’

Dance Ballet

Relive your childhood theatergoing experiences this Christmas with Uncle Drosselmeyer, Clara and her beloved Nutcracker at the L.A. Ballet. The timeless show will travel all over L.A., for the holiday season, performing their classic pirouettes and Mouse King battles for all L.A. County to see. You can check it out in Cerritos, Glendale, Westwood and Redondo Beach, plus in Hollywood backed by an orchestra.

Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker
Photograph: Courtesy Moscow Ballet

6. Moscow Ballet’s ‘Great Russian Nutcracker’


This Russian ballet company has been gracing U.S. audiences with its rendition of The Nutcracker since 1993. The annual production of the classic Christmas tale features a growing Christmas tree and falling snow, all set to Tchaikovsky’s iconic score.

Looking for more Christmas events?

Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle
Photograph: Michael Juliano

Christmas events in Los Angeles

Things to do

From meeting Santa to singing Christmas carols and scooping up crafty gifts at holiday markets—here’s our list of the city’s best Christmas events and things to do.


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