George Balanchine's The Nutcracker (through January 2) brings the magic of Christmas and the music of Tchaikovsky to the New York City Ballet once again. But if you want to get a different take on this Christmas mainstay, dance on down to Brooklyn to catch the Brighton Ballet Theatre do The Nutcracker (December 18) at the KCC Performing Arts Center at Kingsborough Community College. Created with the little ones in mind, modern Russian choreographer Edouard Kouchnarev's version provides a nice intro to the world of ballet for the kids. For a truly intimate Nutcracker experience, visit New York City Center's Studio 5 for An Afternoon with the Sugar Plum Fairy (December 17), where children get to meet the characters up close and enjoy holiday sweets.
As enjoyable as the ol' holiday favorites are, it's always a pleasure to encounter an original Christmas tale. Thanks to the Manhattan Children's Theatre, we get to enjoy the world premiere of Lula Belle in Search of Santa (through December 26), created by MCT's own Chris Alonzo. Containing both kid-friendly physical comedy and adult-friendly satire, Lula Belle tells the story of a girl who launches a hunt for St. Nick after he's gone missing.
Irish Rep brings back its production of A Child's Christmas in Wales (December 8-January 2), Dylan Thomas' famed piece that tells of a snowy Christmas Day in Wales. Both traditional and contemporary Christmas music will be interwoven into the story. The Axis Company presents its annual winter tale, Seven in One Blow, or the Brave Little Kid (December 3-21) at the Axis Theatre. Created by Randy Sharp and Axis Company, this Grimm Brothers update is about a city kid who prides himself on his feat of killing seven flies with a single swat. As he travels about, the kid comes across an odd assortment of characters, including an ogre, a pea, the Scarlet Pimpernell, a witch, and December itself.
There's more Grimm news from The Wild Project, where you can catch the "Grimms-N-Giggles" production Little Red (December 4-11), a take on the legendary tale that features a dancing heroine and vegetarian wolves. And for more fairy tale fun, there is the Galli Theater's Snow White (December 4-26), a dynamic, funny, and music-filled adaptation of the beloved classic.
The Tel Aviv-based troupe Mayumana brings Momentum (December 3 - January 2) to the New Victory Theater. An international cast of 10 performers creates a Stomp-like theatrical experience, full of thrilling rhythms and dances that will get your blood pumping while the show also tickles your brain with its exploration of space and time. Momentum also boasts striking visuals, live music, and audience participation, resulting in a unique performance that is never quite the same as the one before it.
Finally, Dear Edwina, the delightful family musical from Zina Goldrich and Marcy Heisler, returns to the DR2 Theatre, December 17-February 25. The show focuses on a girl who is an advice-giver extraordinaire and the tuner's catchy songs impart her wisdom on everything from setting the table to making new friends.