Two unique ways to see ‘The Nutcracker’ in Philadelphia

The Nutcracker Philadelphia, things to do in Philly
Chocolate Ballerina Company.
Julieanne Harris

When the holiday season comes, many have the tradition of seeing a rendition of ‘The Nutcracker’, the 1892 two-act classical ballet by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, set on Christmas Eve at the foot of a Christmas tree in a child’s imagination. 

The show has been a fan favorite in the world of ballet for so many years, and with the fame has also come interpretation…and Philly holds two unique showcases of the famous event. 

Firstly, the One-Man Nutcracker from award-winning actor and writer Chris Davis is making its way to the City of Brotherly Love from Dec. 12 to 23. The show is directed by MK Tuomanen and features choreography by Amy Novinski, with Davis stepping into the role of every single character. 

“I dated a ballet dancer and went to see ‘The Nutcracker’ every year, but in doing so, I fell in love with the story,” noted Davis in a statement. “I was mesmerized by the spectacle, the costumes, and the virtuosic dancing. I started to take adult ballet classes with Amy Novinski and I thought, what if I just did the entire ‘Nutcracker’ myself? ‘One-Man Nutcracker’ is a celebration of the magic that theater can offer an audience as we explore this timeless story about radical change.”

The Nutcracker
One-Man NutcrackerProvided

‘One-Man Nutcracker’ uses both the original E.T.A. Hoffman Nutcracker story and the classic Tchaikovsky ballet as inspiration. And as a release states, Davis also explores some of the darker parts of ‘The Nutcracker’, examining its original story and some of its racist past. All of it comes together for an hour-long evening of comedy, filled with “whimsy and childlike wonder”. 

The show will be playing at The Louis Bluver Theater at The Drake starting next month and tickets ($15-$35) are available online via Eventbrite

Another rendition of the classic tale this winter season comes from the Chocolate Ballerina Company. The all-Black ‘Nutcracker: Dipped in Chocolate’ from the CBC is in its third year, and will play at Drexel University’s Mandell Theatre for one weekend, (Dec. 16-17). Show times are 1:30 and 7 p.m. on both days.

As a release states, founded in 2017 by Chanel Holland-Pierre, Chocolate Ballerina Company engages underserved communities through dance, to inspire and instill a sense of hope, discipline, and confidence through training and through professional development. The company offers free dance classes, outreach programs, pop-up performances, masterclasses, and more, both digitally and in-person.

“We are excited to continue our annual celebration of Black excellence with the revival of ‘Nutcracker: Dipped in Chocolate’,” notes Chocolate Ballerina Company founder and artistic director Chanel Holland-Pierre in a statement.

The Nutcracker
Julieanne Harris

Holland-Pierre continued: “The Chocolate Ballerina community rallied around our 2021 and 2022 productions, both of which sold out in minutes. We are thrilled to ring in the holidays with the return of our signature show, and look forward to more chocolate-dipped ‘Nutcrackers’ in years to come.”

Tickets to ‘The Nutcracker: Dipped in Chocolate’ are available online at and range from $25-$110.