Join us in 2024 for Huntington’s favorite holiday tradition, a night out on the town to watch The Huntington Nutcracker presented by the students of Huntington Dance Theatre, our ballet company, and members of the Huntington dance community. This is the 44th annual performance of our show!

We welcome you back-in-time to the incredible holiday shopping traditions of the 1950s in downtown Huntington at the Anderson-Newcomb Department store.

Read on to learn more about our unique show!

Opening Night!

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What makes our Nutcracker unique?

Rather than being set in a traditional 1800s Victorian era household, HDT’s Nutcracker offers a twist on the classic holiday story.

The first act is set in historic downtown Huntington in the 1950’s in the Anderson-Newcomb Department Store while the second act transports Clara into the Candy Counter, complete with period-specific candies and treats.

Our sets were custom designed by Marshall University’s School of Theatre and Dance under the direction of Jamez Morris-Smith after much research into the time period. To read more about the creation of the story and the sets, click here.

The Huntington Nutcracker

Christmastime, 1956; downtown Huntington.

Shoppers bustle about searching for the perfect gift on this night before Christmas. Children gaze at the colorful displays framed by the frosty windows. Mr. Anderson, owner of Anderson Newcomb Department Store, has some Christmas mischief planned for the evening as shoppers stream into the store. To begin, life-size dolls come alive and dance through the aisles. Shoppers come to watch the festivities with Mr. Anderson, the families, and the children.

One lucky girl, Clara, and her sister, Frances, receive special gifts from Mr. Anderson. Frances receives a sparkling snow globe and Clara a beautiful Nutcracker! Frances, ungrateful for her gift, begins teasing and chasing Clara and the other children in the department store. Frances steals the Nutcracker, breaking Clara’s lovely gift in two. Heartbroken, Clara begs Mr. Anderson to repair her new toy.  Once he has worked his magic, Clara is grateful and delighted to play with her handsome toy again. Exhausted from the excitement and fun, Clara wanders off to find a comfortable chair. Curled up with her Nutcracker, she falls asleep. Soon, it is time for the store to close. In the excitement of the evening and the exhaustion from eager children, Clara’s parents leave her in the department store, asleep in the chair.

Anderson Newcomb takes on a mysterious, magical glow as the moon floods through the darkened windows. All is transformed as the aisles open and Clara’s chair begins to move.  Suddenly, mice emerge from their hiding places and surround Clara.  Led by the Rat King, the mouse army frightens all the dolls in the store, throwing it into panic and chaos. Out of the moonlight appears the gallant Nutcracker with the bold toy soldiers lining up for battle. As the Rat King advances on the Nutcracker, Clara leaps at the Rat King to throw off the attack and Nutcracker takes down his foe. 

Following the battle, our brave Nutcracker miraculously transforms into the Nutcracker Prince! He takes Clara through a swirling snow storm inside the snowglobe where she dances among the snowflakes and is given a sparkling crown by the Snow Queen herself!

After leaving the Snowglobe, Clara and her prince arrive in the Land of the Sweets within the Candy Counter of Anderson Newcomb. The Sugar Plum Fairy greets her with a parade of Gumdrops and other lovely treats that come alive.  In honor of Clara’s bravery and the Nutcracker’s victory, the Sugar Plum Fairy and her entourage of candies throw a lavish festival to celebrate. Delicacies from each country perform for Clara and her Nutcracker prince:  Chocolate Truffles from Spain, Coffee from Arabia, Trepak dancers from Russia, Mandarin Songbirds from China, Marzipan from Germany, Mother Ginger and her flurry of Gingersnaps, and even Sugared Flowers led by the Dewdrop Fairy. The Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier complete the evening’s festivities with a breathtaking Grand Pas de Deux. 

As the festival ends, the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier bid farewell to Clara, and she journeys back through the Snowglobe to the land of waking. In the meantime, Clara’s parents realize their mistake and race back to find their daughter.  They find Mr. Anderson cleaning and closing up the shop.  They beg him to allow them in to look for Clara. As her parents wake her in the very chair where she fell asleep, Clara discovers her Nutcracker returned to his toy state, yet a sparkling crown is resting atop her head. Was it all a dream? An enchantment? Or could it have been a bit of both created in a childhood’s innocence and wrapped in the magic of the holiday season?