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ABT News

September 20, 2021

American Ballet Theatre's The Nutcracker at Segerstrom Center for the Arts

December 10-19, 2021 in Segerstrom Hall

Tickets On Sale Now at

Casting Announced – Hee Seo and Cory Stearns to Lead Opening Night Cast

American Ballet Theatre is the Official Dance Company of Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Scene from The Nutcracker. Photo: Gene Schiavone.

COSTA MESA, CA – Segerstrom Center for the Arts announces the return of its popular tradition – American Ballet Theatre’s captivating production of The Nutcracker.  Co-presented by the Center and ABT with choreography by ABT Artist in Residence Alexei Ratmansky, The Nutcracker is the beloved holiday story based on The Nutcracker and the King of Mice written by E.T.A. Hoffmann and set to a magical score by Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky.

In its annual holiday engagement, American Ballet Theatre will give 12 performances between December 10 through December 19, 2021 in Segerstrom Hall.  This year marks the 6th time that The Center has presented ABT’s The Nutcracker, Southern California’s grandest production of this beloved holiday tradition. This Nutcracker features ABT’s international all-star cast.

American Ballet Theatre has a long, storied history of producing several critically acclaimed productions of this annual family-friendly classic tale of Clara and the Nutcracker over the years (previous versions were by Mikhail Baryshnikov and ABT Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie). The Nutcracker, with its timeless music by Tchaikovsky and fairytale costumes and exotic dances, is the perfect way to introduce children to dance and even inspire them to study dance and become a little Clara or Nutcracker Prince.

Scenery and costumes for The Nutcracker are by Tony Award® winning designer Richard Hudson (Disney’s The Lion King).  Lighting for the production is by Tony Award® winner Jennifer Tipton.

The Los Angeles Times said, “Choreographer Alexei Ratmansky has made his own Christmas miracle: a joyful “Nutcracker” ballet that is ravishing and clever enough to inspire multiple viewings … in ‘Waltz of the Flowers,’ Busby Berkeley-esque waves of complex human patterns make this waltz one of the most astounding and beautiful you’ll ever see … in all its wondrousness, an unreserved classic.”

The Orange County Register said, “A visual tour de force … a Nutcracker without parallel … Ratmansky is an undisputed master; few choreographers combine his qualities of invention, wit, pacing and theatricality … Ratmansky has created a work that celebrates the wonder and transformative power of live performance.”

The New York Times said, “Mr. Ratmansky here is an enchanting storyteller, but his is among the most original, fascinating for children and adults alike. A production like no other, made with complete theatrical authority from first to last.”

Single tickets for American Ballet Theatre’s The Nutcracker start at $30 and are now available online at, at the Box office at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa, or by calling (714) 556-2787.  For inquiries about group ticket discounts for 10 or more, call the Group Services offices at (714)755-0236.

The ABT Gillespie Ballet School offers unrivaled training, performing opportunities, Master Classes, lectures by visiting artists, and the highest quality of classical ballet training through the American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum. Forty students are featured annually in ABT’s production of The Nutcracker; and have performed alongside ABT dancers in the World Premiere productions of The Sleeping Beauty (2015), Whipped Cream (2017), and the West Coast premiere of ABT’s Harlequinade (2019).


ABT Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie has released principal casting which will include Hee Seo as Clara, the Princess, and Cory Stearns as The Nutcracker Prince on Opening Night, Friday, December 10.  *Indicates first time in role.

Friday, December 10 at 7 p.m. – Hee Seo, Cory Stearns

Saturday, December 11 at 2 p.m. – Skylar Brandt*, Herman Cornejo

Saturday, December 11 at 7 p.m. – Christine Shevchenko, Thomas Forster

Sunday, December 12 at 12:30 p.m. – Devon Teuscher*, Joo Won Ahn

Sunday, December 12 at 5:30 p.m. — Skylar Brandt*, Herman Cornejo


Wednesday, December 15 at 7 p.m.- Isabella Boylston, James Whiteside

Thursday, December 16 at 7 p.m. – Catherine Hurlin*, Aran Bell

Friday, December 17 at 7 p.m. — Christine Shevchenko, Thomas Forster

Saturday, December 18 at 2 p.m. — Hee Seo, Cory Stearns

Saturday, December 18 at 7 p.m. — Devon Teuscher, Joo Won Ahn

Sunday, December 19 at 12:30 p.m. – Isabella Boylston, James Whiteside

Sunday, December 19 at 5:30 p.m. – Catherine Hurlin, Aran Bell


New Partnership between Segerstrom Center for the Arts and American Ballet Theatre

This engagement of The Nutcracker begins a new three-year partnership of the co-presented annual production of Alexei Ratmansky’s The Nutcracker and continues with World and West Coast Premieres and engagements each spring through 2024 combining the resources of America’s National Ballet Company® and one of the nation’s leading presenters of dance.

Since 2015, ABT has wowed Southern California audiences at Segerstrom Center for the Arts with annual holiday engagements of The Nutcracker for over 63 performances.  Segerstrom Center and ABT have a robust long-standing relationship. At the Center, ABT gave the World Premiere of Mikhail Baryshnikov’s Swan Lake in 1988. In 1999, the ABT production of Le Corsaire was taped for broadcast on PBS’s Dance in America, winning an Emmy Award. In 2003, The Dream was also taped at the Center for broadcast on Dance in America. In 2008, ABT co-commissioned Twyla Tharp’s Rabbit and Rogue with Segerstrom Center for the Arts, which received its World Premiere in New York and its West Coast Premiere at the Center.

Other ABT productions at the Center have included the West Coast Premiere of Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie’s production of The Sleeping Beauty in 2007, the World Premiere of a new production of Firebird by ABT Artist in Residence Alexei Ratmansky, and three additional ballets by Ratmansky including the West Coast premiere of The Nutcracker in 2015, the World Premiere of Whipped Cream in 2017, the West Coast Premiere of Harlequinade in 2019, and the World Premiere and co-commissioned production Of Love and Rage in 2020.

Most recently, the Center presented Uniting in Movement, in April of 2021, a unique dance project bringing 18 ABT dancers together for safe collaboration and an exhilarating performance of new works by Jessica Lang, Lauren Lovette, and Darrell Grand Moultrie.

 The three-year partnership between American Ballet Theatre and Segerstrom Center for the Arts will include three Premiere works. Beginning March 2022, ABT and the Center will present a mixed repertory program to include a World Premiere by Alonzo King and West Coast Premieres of Ratmansky’s Bernstein in a Bubble and Lang’s ZigZag, featuring songs recorded by Tony Bennett.

In March 2023, American Ballet Theatre will give the North American Premiere of Like Water for Chocolate at the Center. From the award-winning team of choreographer Christopher Wheeldon and composer Joby Talbot, with costumes by Bob Crowley, this co-production with the Royal Ballet is inspired by Laura Esquivel’s bestselling novel of the same name.

ABT and the Center’s partnership in 2024 will include a third World Premiere. Details to follow at a later date.


AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE is one of the great dance companies in the world. Revered as a national treasure since its founding season in 1940, its mission is to create, present, and extend the great repertoire of classical dancing for the widest possible audience. Headquartered in New York City, ABT is the only cultural institution of its size and stature to extensively tour, engaging and inspiring audiences for eight decades in 50 US states, 45 countries, and over 480 cities worldwide. ABT’s extraordinary dancers hail from 14 countries and 24 US states. ABT’s repertoire includes full-length classics from the nineteenth century, the finest works from the early twentieth century, and diverse and dynamic contemporary work by the leading choreographers of today. In 2006, by an act of Congress, ABT was designated America’s National Ballet Company®.


SEGERSTROM CENTER FOR THE ARTS is an acclaimed arts institution as well as a beautiful multi-disciplinary cultural campus. It is committed to supporting artistic excellence, offering unsurpassed experiences and to engaging the entire community in new and exciting ways through the unique power of live performance as well as a diverse array of inspiring arts-based education and community engagement programs.

Previously called the Orange County Performing Arts Center, Segerstrom Center is Orange County’s largest non-profit arts organization. In addition to its six performance venues, Segerstrom Center is also home to the American Ballet Theatre William J. Gillespie School and Studio D: Arts School for All (previously named School of Dance and Music for Children with Disabilities).

The Center presents a broad range of programming for audiences of all ages, featuring international ballet and dance companies, national tours of top Broadway shows, jazz and cabaret, contemporary artists, classical music performed by renowned chamber orchestras and ensembles, family-friendly programming, and free performances on its plaza, such as outdoor movie screenings, concerts, community, and cultural festivals.

Segerstrom Center is a leader among the nation’s performing arts centers for providing education programs designed to inspire young people through the arts. The Center’s programs reach hundreds of thousands of students each year in five Southern California counties. The CDI supports flagship artistic programming and a wide range of projects that celebrate innovation, nurture creativity, and engage audiences of the future. The Center Without Boundaries develops partnerships with non-cultural organizations to help them in their own efforts to respond to the ever-changing needs of the community.

Segerstrom Center for the Arts is also proud to serve as the artistic home to three of the region’s major performing arts organizations: Pacific Symphony, Philharmonic Society of Orange County and Pacific Chorale. Each contributes greatly to the artistic life of the region with annual seasons performed at the Center.

In addition to Segerstrom Center for the Arts as a presenting and producing institution, it also identifies the beautiful 14-acre campus that embraces the Center’s own facilities as well as two independently acclaimed organizations: Tony Award®-winning South Coast Repertory and the Orange County Museum of Art.


American Ballet Theatre

The Nutcracker

Pacific Symphony

Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Segerstrom Hall


December 10 – 19

Friday, December 10 at 7 p.m.

Saturday, December 11 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Sunday, December 12 at 12:30 p.m., and 5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, December 15 at 7 p.m.

Thursday, December 16 at 7 p.m.

Friday, December 17 at 2 p.m.

Saturday, December 18 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Sunday, December 19 at 12:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.


In person and Phone-

The Box Office

600 Town Center Drive

Costa Mesa, CA 92626

(714) 556-2787


Monday 10am – 2pm

Tuesday through Friday Noon- 5pm

Closed Saturday’s and Sundays


Tickets start at $30

Online –

Group Sales – (714) 755-0236


Audience Advisory: Our updated COVID-19 policy requires ticket holders to provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 to attend all indoor performances and events at Segerstrom Center for the Arts. “Fully vaccinated” means your performance is at least 14 days after your final vaccine dose. To enter the theatre, please bring proof of vaccination, either your physical vaccination card, a picture of your vaccination card, or a digital vaccination record. Most California residents may request a digital vaccination record at

Those who are under age 12 and anyone without proof of being fully vaccinated must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours (3 days) prior to entering the theatre.

Masks are required at all times for all patrons and visitors regardless of vaccination status in all indoor spaces at Segerstrom Center.

Performance ticket holders who do not comply with these policies will not be admitted.

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