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The Nutcracker

December 11-13 & 18-20, 2015
DeVos Performance Hall

After a sold out world premiere, The Nutcracker, re-imagined by Polar Express author Chris Van Allsburg, returns for two weekends at DeVos Performance Hall. This magnificent production features choreography by Val Caniparoli and imaginative set design by Eugene Lee. Sugar plum fairies, fighting mice, and toy soldiers make this enchanting story the perfect tradition for the entire family. The Nutcracker will be performed in concert with the Grammy nominated Grand Rapids Symphony.

4 out of 4 stars!

– Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk, MLive

Read the full review here


“A show worth seeing this holiday season!”
– Adrienne Warber, Examiner.com

Read the full review here

Sponsored by:

Plante Moran

The Making of The Nutcracker: Val Caniparoli

The Making of The Nutcracker: The Dancers

Grand Rapids Ballet has made great strides in the dance community over the past 5 years. Our Summer Intensive Program has done a wonderful job of introducing GRBallet to enthusiastic dancers from around the world. This year, we’ve expanded our company to 32 professional dancers, the most in GRB history. This truly is a historic season in more ways than one.

The Making of The Nutcracker: Eugene Lee

Eugene Lee is the Tony Award winner (for set design) of Bernstein’s Candide, Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd and Wicked. Lee is also the Emmy Award winning production designer for NBC’s Saturday Night Live and recently designed the new set for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Eugene will be part of the creative development for a re-imagined version of the beloved holiday classic in company with Chris Van Allsburg, one of America’s most innovative picture book creators.

The Making of The Nutcracker: Introduction

Check out the first segment of our behind the scenes look at, The Making of The Nutcracker: Introduction. In this video, you get a glimpse inside the role of Young Clara and the girls who dance this role. Artistic Director, Patricia Barker, and choreographer, Val Caniparoli, also give insight into this brand new production.

The Making of The Nutcracker: Costumes

Chris Van Allsburg and Patricia Barker have taken a hard look at E.T.A. Hoffmann’s story and uncovered interesting nuances that have been lost over multiple translations. Everything from the story-line to the set design will be presented in a new light for audiences of all ages.

Creative Team

Chris Van Allsburg

Set and Production Design

Chris Van Allsburg is one of America’s most innovative picture book creators. He is perhaps best known for the contemporary classic The Polar Express, which received the Caldecott Medal in 1985, has sold over 10 million copies and was made into a blockbuster movie starring Tom Hanks. He also received the Caldecott Medal for Jumanji, and a Caldecott Honor for his very first book, The Garden of Abdul Gasazi. He has received the Regina Medal for lifetime achievement in children’s literature, a National Book Award nomination, and a Society of Illustrators Lifetime Achievement Award, among other honors. He lives outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Read more… 

Eugene Lee

Set and Production Design

Eugene Lee received BFA degrees from the Art Institute of Chicago and Carnegie Mellon University, an MFA from Yale Drama School and three honorary doctorates. Mr. Lee has won Tony Awards for Bernstein’s Candide, Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, and Wicked, as well as the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Set Design. He has been the production designer for NBC’s Saturday Night Live since 1974, and still is today. His most recent work to date was creating the new set for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Read more… 

Val Caniparoli


Val Caniparoli is one of the most sought after American choreographers contributing to the repertories of more than forty companies. As the resident choreographer of the San Francisco Ballet, he has received numerous grants and awards, choreographed operas, and often collaborates with the San Francisco Symphony. Read more…