One of our favorite parts of My First Nutcracker, which opens at Theatre Row on Saturday, November 23rd, is that our creative team has taken a classic holiday show and reimagined it for you! We asked the creative team: What was your inspiration for My First Nutcracker? 

In My First Nutcracker, we focus on Clara-Marie’s adventures – her spirit, curiosity, bravery, and of course: dancing!

– Melissa Riker | Director & Choreographer

The Nutcracker is such a delightful and iconic holiday show, I’ve seen it many times. But since the story is told through dance and gesture, each time I have to read the synopsis to really understand it. I wanted to create a version that kids of all ages would immediately be able to connect with, so I wrote it as a play with music and dance. The main characters and events are all there. I hope it will serve as an introduction to The Nutcracker ballet that will inspire many future visits.

– Barbara Zinn Krieger | NYCCT’s Artistic Director & Founder; Playwright

Examples of watercolors that inspired My First Nutcracker. 

When Melissa, Carolyn, Sheryl, and I first started chatting about broad concepts for My First Nutcracker, we were really drawn to the work of a few abstract watercolor artists and the idea of ombres. The idea of a fictional world in a gradient really spoke to me. We also really wanted to modernize the story of The Nutcracker and show Clara Marie as a more astute and independent woman— to highlight her feminism and the power that she has in that. I think it makes her a much more modernly accessible protagonist.

– Heather McDevitt Barton | Costume Designer

I find inspiration for My First Nutcracker in the memories of the Nutcrackers of my youth: seeing very classic version presented by the San Francisco Ballet, and the irreverent ones like Mark Morris’s The Hard Nut.  Both serve as a reminder that the Nutcracker story is both timeless and malleable, and we can delight in the perspective shift, whether it is reframing the story in a different era or presenting it to a younger audience.

– Carolyn Wong | Lighting Designer

The inspiration for My First Nutcracker scenic design came from a very colorful watercolor painting of Christmas trees. We made the tree into a magical, central piece that goes on the journey with Clara Marie.

– Sheryl Liu | Scenic Design

See their inspiration come to life on stage!

My First Nutcracker plays at Theatre Row from November 23rd – December 22nd!