A Drive-in ‘Nutcracker al Fresco' Is Twirling Outdoors

The Pasadena Civic Ballet has taken the annual treat to an under-the-sky space. A new twist? Fans of the magical tale will watch from their cars.

Pasadena Civic Ballet

What to Know

  • Dec. 5-13, 2020
  • Outside the San Gabriel Mission Playhouse
  • $45 per car passenger (audience members will remain in their cars for the hour-long performance)

You don't have to search and study for too long to find the bountiful presence of nature folded within "The Nutcracker," the story by E.T.A. Hoffmann that later transformed into the enduringly beloved Tchaikovsky ballet.

There's the regal Christmas tree at the center of the early action, of course, and animals aplenty, including the majestic Mouse King, and that spectacular scene set in a pine forest.

And yet?

"The Nutcracker," as we know it, is almost always staged indoors, well away from the outer world it so charmingly depicts.

We said "almost always," for the Pasadena Civic Ballet is taking an hour-long bon bon of a balletic blast to a space beneath the sky, all so fans can watch from the comfort of their cars.

"Nutcracker al Fresco, a Drive-In Suite" will summon Sugarplum Fairies, sweet songs, and the sights of the season outside the San Gabriel Mission Playhouse from Dec. 5 through 13, 2020.

The "suite" part of its fetching "al fresco" name helps to tell the story of this particular production's length: This will be an hour-long take on the timeless tale, but you can count on seeing Clara, The Nutcracker, and the ethereal elements you remember and adore.

Adding to the enchanting atmosphere of this unusual spin on the on-stage story? Audience members will receive a treat-nice Sugar Plum Tea box created by San Marino Cafe when they enter the historic property.

The box is included in the $45-per-person ticket price.

And there's another first, or at least something that's rarely seen at traditional stagings of the Christmastime classic: Eating and drinking while you watch it.

No one will shush you in your car, or cast a side eye, for they, too, will be enjoying their snacks.

The ballet has more on its commitment to safety, and the precautions it is taking, on its site.

You can also book your tickets and a space for your car there, too.

Will this be the one and only chance you'll ever have to see the world-famous ballet, which boasts so many nature-oriented elements, actually leaping and twirling in the open air?

Leap and twirl by the Pasadena Civic Ballet site for more information on this sweet and spacious suite.

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