Nashville Ballet Brings Tennessee Centennial to Life in Nashville's Nutcracker 12/10-19


Nashville Ballet will reprise its beloved local take on the classic Christmas tale when Nashville's Nutcracker returns to TPAC's Jackson Hall December 10-19 with exciting new visual elements and the return of critically acclaimed dancer and actor Eric Harris as Drosselmeyer.

Eric Harris, whose performance has been described as "spellbinding," came out of retirement to play the role of the magical uncle Drosselmeyer.

"The magic and fantasy of our Nutcracker story captivates new audiences every year," Nashville Ballet Artistic Director and CEO Paul Vasterling said. "But this year's performance includes new surprises that will engage loyal fans who make the Nutcracker part of their annual holiday tradition."

Featuring The Nashville Symphony, Nashville Ballet presents a Nashville account of the beloved holiday performance to traditional music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

Set at the 1897 Tennessee Centennial Exposition, Nashville's Nutcracker tells the story of Clara, a young girl who receives a special nutcracker doll as a gift from a beloved uncle, the magician Drosselmeyer. Former Nashville Ballet principal dancer Eric Harris, who retired from the company earlier this year, will return to perform as Drosselmeyer. He performed the role of Drosselmeyer to great acclaim for nine years before his retirement.

After Clara receives the Nutcracker, he comes to life and guides her through a series of magical worlds where she encounters an array of diverse characters she previously saw at the Centennial Exposition. During her adventure, she meets the Snow Queen and King, played on alternating nights by principal company members Sadie Bo Harris and Jon Upleger, Christine Rennie and Eddie Mikrut or Mollie Sansone and Brandon LaPier.

Clara and the Nutcracker also watch a performance by the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier, played by Rennie and Mikrut, Sadie Bo Harris and Upleger or Kimberly Ratcliffe and Christopher Stuart on alternating nights.

The Nutcracker will be played by company members Stuart, Brendon LaPier and Damian Drake.

The lead roles of Clara and her brother Fritz will be played by two casts who alternate performances. Clara will be danced by School of Nashville Ballet students Rachelle di Stacio and Sophie Scott, and Fritz will be danced by Mitchell Reed and William Robinson.

"Nashville's Nutcracker provides an opportunity for our students to practice their art and hone their skills in a professional performance environment," Vasterling said. "Our cast of almost 150 young people from the community and the School of Nashville Ballet learn about the art of dance and stage performance. It is a vital learning experience for these young people, especially if they aspire to join a professional company."

Vasterling's original concept and choreography debuted as Nashville's Nutcracker in 2008. The production celebrates Nashville's rich history and personality, complete with characters inspired by well-known local residents, such as President Andrew Jackson, Vanderbilt University Chancellor James Kirkland and the actress Lucille La Verne, a Nashville Native who provided the voice of the witch in Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Nashville's Nutcracker will perform with The Nashville Symphony at Jackson Hall at TPAC during the following dates and times:

Friday, December 10, 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, December 11, 2:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 12, 2:00 p.m.
Friday, December 17, 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, December 18, 2:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 19, 2:00 p.m.

Single Ticket Information
Nashville Ballet tickets for all performances can be purchased in person at the TPAC box office downtown or by phone at 615-782-4040. Single tickets can also be purchased online at, with prices starting at $23. Groups of ten or more receive a discount. For information on group sales or to purchase group tickets, please call Bianca Lambert at 615-297-2966, ext. 10.

Season Subscription Information
Season subscriptions are also available, and offer access to the best seats before tickets go on sale to the public. Subscription packages range in price from $37 per person up to $234 per person. Options include a two and three-show subscription. Create your own Family Series subscriptions to receive a 50% discount on subscription tickets for children ages 4-17. To order a season subscription, please contact Nashville Ballet at or call 615-297-2966, ext. 10. New subscribers may order online at

Nashville Ballet is funded in part from grants made available through the Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission, the Tennessee Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as the Ingram Charitable Trust. Additional funding is also provided by HCA Tri-Star, The Martin Foundation, Regions Bank, Bridgestone Americas Trust Fund, and the Andrew Woodfin Miller Foundation.

About Nashville Ballet
Nashville Ballet is the largest professional ballet company in Tennessee. As the second largest producing arts organization in the Middle Tennessee area, Nashville Ballet presents a varied repertoire of classical ballet and contemporary works by noted choreographers, including original works by Artistic Director Paul Vasterling. Nashville Ballet and the Second Company NB2 (a pre-professional training company) serve nearly 70,000 adults and children annually through performances and our outreach and community engagement programming. Our curriculum-based outreach program brings dance education to community centers, colleges, public libraries, eight resident schools, and public elementary and middle schools over a 15-county region throughout Middle Tennessee. The School of Nashville Ballet provides world-class instruction in ballet for the dancers of tomorrow.

Related Articles

Nashville THEATER Stories | Shows  Like BWW Nashville  Follow BWW Nashville

From This Author BWW News Desk

Before you go...