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Tis is the Season for Nutcracker Mania!

Updated on December 2, 2011

Every year at this Christmas holiday season, the sudden mania for Nutcracker plays swamp America. There are Nutcracker productions locally at several high schools and colleges to the more slick professional productions like the SF or NY Ballet. In any case, the story is the same. Being European in origin from Germany, there are now more ethnic versions so those of color will also be drawn. There are rock versions of it, like the Nutty Nutcracker Christmas. Some Nutcracker productions also use magic, there is a puppet version and even a burlesque version!

This infamous play began as a humble German story called, Nutcracker and the Mouse, written by E. Hoffman. The first play was in Russia, in 1892, at St. Petersburg, thus the historical Russian connection and Tchaikovsky's music score. Ironically, America's Nutcracker production and mania did not begin until 1944, during WW2, with the San Francisco Ballet debut. New York Ballet debuted it in 1954. It was first on TV in 1957.

The weird thing about the Nutcracker is that in Europe there is NO mania about it during the Christmas season, in fact, the play is usually performed in the summertime! Why is there a Nutcracker mania?

Money! Wherever there is a production of it, it makes money for the organization putting it on.


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