The House Theatre of Chicago brings the wholly original, ballet-free The Nutcracker back because it truly has something for everyone. The show is fast-paced, beautifully choreographed, family-friendly, and moving for even those of us that might be on the Grinch's side from time to time. This fantastical, "smart [and] layered" (Chicago Reader, 2016) expansion of the holiday classic that "simultaneously evokes smiles, tears, mirth and cringes" (PerformInk, 2016) centers on young Clara's journey to save Christmas in the face of grief. With the help of a magical nutcracker, the brave girl risks the darkness, fights the Rat King, and saves her family. A modern holiday tradition weaving together riveting dialogue, astonishing puppetry, original song, and spellbinding spectacle to tell a heartwarming, darkly moving story of magic and hope.