Irvine Barclay Theatre & Cheng Hall
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The Nutcracker Synopsis
Family Entertainment, Dance
Presented by Festival Ballet Theatre


ACT I
A wintry night is full of excitement as guests gather at the home of Dr. and Mrs. Stahlbaum for their annual Christmas party. The guests are graciously greeted by the hosts and their children, Fritz and Clara.

Scene I: The Party
The guests exchange gifts and dance together. Clara’s godfather, the mysterious Dr. Drosselmeyer, arrives with festive, awe-inspiring boxes containing a life-sized Porcelain Doll, Harlequinette and Toy Soldier. The magic dolls come to life and dance—and the children can hardly believe their eyes. After an argument arises between Fritz and Clara, Dr. Drosselmeyer comforts his goddaughter with the gift of a wooden Nutcracker Soldier. The new toy enchants Clarabut, fueled by jealousy, Fritz grabs the Nutcracker and breaks it. Clara is heartbroken, but her godfather comes to the rescue once again and mends the Nutcracker. Clara’s friends join her in a lullaby dance with their new dolls, protecting them from Fritz and his fellow mischief-makers. As the party winds down and the guests begin to leave, the Stahlbaums retire for the evening. Clara wants to take her injured Nutcracker to her room, but her mother has her place the toy under the tree with the other gifts.

Scene II: The Battle
During the night, Clara gets worried and checks on her beloved Nutcracker. While in the parlor, she is frightened by large mice and their gruesome leader, the Mouse King. Dr. Drosselmeyer appears, and, using his magical powers, commands the Christmas tree to grow, bringing the Nutcracker to life. Now a life-size soldier, the Nutcracker leads an army of toy soldiers in a battle against the ferocious Mouse King and his minions. When the Mouse King wounds the Nutcracker, Clara runs to his rescue and distracts the evil beast. The Nutcracker protects Clara by slaying the Mouse King; and is then transformed into a handsome Prince. As a show of gratitude, he takes Clara on a magical journey.

Scene III: The Land of Snow
The Nutcracker Prince and Clara travel through the Land of Snow, presided over by the graceful Snow Queen. The delicate Snowflakes whirl to the delight of Clara and her Nutcracker Prince, and, with the help of their gracious Snow Queen, send them off to the Kingdom of Sweets.

ACT II
Clara and the Nutcracker Prince arrive in the Kingdom of Sweets and are welcomed by the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier. In the Palace of the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Nutcracker Prince reenacts the fearsome battle with the Mouse King and credits Clara’s courage for saving his life. An immediate celebration in honor of our heroine is proclaimed. One after another, Spanish dancers, Chinese dancers, Arabian dancers, Russian dancers, Merlitons, Mother Ginger and her Gingersnaps, as well as the elegant Dew Drop and her delicate flowers, dance in honor of Clara. As a final tribute to Clara and her Prince, the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier perform a special pas de deux. At the close of the ballet, Clara is left wondering if this incredible journey was real, or was it just an exciting and wonderful dream.