The Nutcracker is set in Europe during the 1800's. In this version, the story opens with an
aging Clara reminiscing about Uncle Drosselmeyer and that special Christmas many years ago.
The Stahlbaum family delights in holding large holiday gatherings for family and friends.
The two children, Clara and Fritz, anxiously await the arrival of guests. The snow evokes a
pleasant festive atmosphere as the guests arrive. Tardy as always, Clara's Uncle
Drosselmeyer arrives with special fanfare. He causes quite a stir and then entertains and
delights all onlookers with his exquisite mechanical dolls.
All the children receive gifts with Fritz getting a King Rat puppet. A bit jealous, Clara
approaches Drosselmeyer for her gift. She receives a beautiful Nutcracker. Delighted, Clara
instantly is enthralled with the gift. Sibling rivalry takes hold and in a tussle to wrest the
Nutcracker away from Clara, Fritz breaks it. But Uncle Drosselmeyer fixes him as good as
Evening overtakes the party and the guests depart. Tired and sleepy, Clara climbs the stairs
to go to bed. She stops at the top of the stairs and looks back to see her mother and father
dancing one last dance.
As midnight approaches the mice scurry out to play. Clara, hearing a noise, comes
downstairs to investigate. Suddenly everything turns to magic. The mice surround Clara
and then mysteriously, out of a cloud of fog, appears the Rat Queen and her Army. The
Nutcracker springs to life and leads an army of toy soldiers into a spectacular battle with
the evil rats. The Rat Queen is slain and her army vanquished; but alas, the Nutcracker is
also mortally wounded. Uncle Drosselmeyer magically heals the Nutcracker and assigns
him to guard the parlor.
Clara and Uncle Drosselmeyer are then transported on the back of a swan through the
enchanted land of the Snow Queen and her Snow Flakes and they arrive at a castle where
Angels greet them. Inside the palace, Uncle Drosselmeyer treats them to a sumptuous
display of dances and pageantry from all of the Fantasy Realm.
As the festivities come to a close and the Castle King and Quintessential Queen perform
their last Pas de Deux, Uncle Drosselmeyer works his magic once again and Clara finds
herself safely back in her parlor.
We return to the aging Clara as she finishes her reminisces and realizes that that Christmas
long ago, she had recieved not only a Nutcracker, but the most wonderful gift of all... the
gift of imagination and wonder that is part of every Christmas.