The American Repertory Ballet announces 2019 ‘Nutcracker’ season

The American Repertory Ballet announces 2019 "Nutcracker" seasonSUBMITTED PHOTO
The American Repertory Ballet announces 2019 "Nutcracker" seasonSUBMITTED PHOTO

Ring in the holiday season with American Repertory Ballet’s (ARB) annual production of “Nutcracker.”

With 15 performances throughout New Jersey, including Rahway, Princeton, Asbury Park, New Brunswick and Trenton, this festive family-friendly ballet is guaranteed to make your holiday spirits soar.

The season opens on Saturday, Nov. 23 at Union County PerformingArts Center in Rahway at 7:30 p.m.  On Sunday, Nov. 24, at 1 p.m., ARB will present an abridged, one-hour sensory friendly performances for children and adults with special needs. The performance is made possible by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders as part of the UC Sensory Friendly Theater series.

“ARB’s ‘Nutcracker’ is a timeless family tradition and a wonderful way to celebrate the magic of the season,” says Executive Director Julie Diana Hench. “It’s a great introduction for all ages to professional ballet, and a treat for our dancers, knowing that it brings such joy to audiences year after year.”

For the first time in his new role as ARB’s newly-appointed Ballet Master (and since retiring as a former Principal Dancer with the Pennsylvania Ballet), Ian Hussey, will portray the mysterious and magical Uncle Drosselmeyer. Following a distinguished 15-year professional career, Mr. Hussey retired in May 2019 from the Pennsylvania Ballet.

Back by popular demand, ARB welcomes special guest New York City Ballet Soloist Unity Phelan back to the iconic role of the Sugar Plum Fairy for two performances at Princeton’s McCarter Theatre Center on Friday, Nov. 29, at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Born in Princeton, Ms. Phelan began her dance training at the age of five at the Princeton Ballet School. Ms. Phelan has been called by the New York Times, “The most elegantly and glamorously poetic of the younger generation.”

She will be accompanied by New York City Ballet’s Adrian Danchig-Waring, whose commanding talent has earned him the rank of principal dancer.

For five performances from Dec. 13-15:  ARB’s “Nutcracker” features a live orchestra and the soaring voices of Princeton Girlchoir at State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick.

This holiday season, ARB adds a new venue to its “Nutcracker” tour with two performances at the legendary Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park on Saturday, Dec. 7, at 2 p.m. and 7:30 pm.

ARB wraps up its “Nutcracker” season with a final performance at the Patriots Theatre at the War Memorial in Trenton on Sunday, Dec. 21, at 2 p.m.

With Tchaikovsky’s score, sets, choreography and a cast of more than 100 performers, American Repertory Ballet’s “Nutcracker” has been a holiday tradition for over 50 years.

Joining ARB’s professional company will be students from Princeton Ballet School to tell the story of a young girl named Clara and how a mysterious gift from her Uncle Drosselmeyer brings about enchanted dreams and fantastical scenes.

This joyous classic will leave you with cherished memories for years to come. Audience members will have the opportunity to have a photo taken with characters from the ballet, and visit ARB’s Nutcracker Boutique filled with unique gifts for everyone on your holiday shopping list.

For a complete performance schedule, please visit or call 732-249-1254, ext. 23.

Performance Schedule
Union County Performing Arts Center | Rahway, NJ |
Saturday, Nov. 23, at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday,  Nov. 24, at 1pm Sensory-Friendly performance

McCarter Theatre Center | Princeton NJ |
Friday, Nov. 29, at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. featuring NYCB Soloist Unity Phelan
Saturday, Nov. 30 ,at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 1, at 1 p.m.

Paramount Theatre | Asbury Park, NJ  |
Saturday, Dec. 7, at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

State Theatre New Jersey | New Brunswick, NJ |
The only American Repertory Ballet performances featuring a live orchestra and Princeton Girlchoir
Friday, Dec. 13, at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 14, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 15, at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Patriots Theater at the War Memorial | Trenton, NJ |
Sunday, Dec. 21, at 2 p.m.

About American Repertory Ballet/Princeton Ballet School
American Repertory Ballet’s mission is to bring the joy, beauty, artistry and discipline of classical and contemporary dance to New Jersey and nationwide audiences and to dance students through artistic and educational programs. The organization comprises: the preeminent professional classical and contemporary ballet company in the state; Princeton Ballet School, one of the largest and most respected non-profit dance schools in the nation; and ARB’s Access & Enrichment initiatives, including the long-running and acclaimed DANCE POWER program. The performing company is a classical and contemporary ballet company committed to presenting ballets from the 19th- and 20th-centuries alongside new and existing works by choreographers from today. To learn more, visit