Live-performance magic of The Brown-Forman Nutcracker returns to the stage this season – and we can’t wait to celebrate with you!

Join us again, or for the very first time, as we make holiday memories with our community favorite, The Brown-Forman Nutcracker. Experience beautiful performances by the artists of Louisville Ballet, featuring live music performed by The Louisville Orchestra and the sweet addition of our children’s cast dancers from throughout our community. Our snow zone “Sweet Seats” have returned, and our lobby will be full of festive cheer as we feature pre-show performances by community arts partners. Be sure to check out Nutcracker Gift Shop items, including nutcrackers, ornaments, t-shirts, tote bags, and more! And our Sugar Plum Parties have returned for pre-show fun on December 18 + 19 at 11:30am before our matinee performances.

Looking for a sensory-friendly performance? We are proud to offer this experience on Sunday, December 12 at 11:00am.

You can purchase your tickets to The Brown-Forman Nutcracker online here, or call our Box Office at (502) 583-2623, M-F between 10am – 5pm.

Attending a performance with friends and family or planning a fun work holiday outing? We offer groups of 10 or more discounts of up to 20% off, waived fees, and more! Find out more here or contact our Box Office at or call (502) 583-2623.

We can’t WAIT to celebrate this Louisville Ballet holiday tradition with you!

Please take a moment to review our COVID-19 Performance Attendance Guidelines here, or visit The Kentucky Center’s website here for the most current information. Thank you!


December 11 – 23, 2021 | The Kentucky Center
Choreography by Val Caniparoli | Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky performed live by The Louisville Orchestra

Our beloved Louisville Ballet holiday classic returns to the stage this Season! Filled with awe-inspiring sets and costumes, incredible artistry, and distinctly Louisville touches, The Brown-Forman Nutcracker brings back Sugar Plum Fairy magic to delight audiences of all ages.

BUY TICKETS HERE | CALL (502) 583-2623 


December 18 + December 19, 2021 at 11:30am
TICKETS: $35 per person*

The Kentucky Center | Todd Hall

Before a matinee performance of The Brown-Forman Nutcracker, join the Sugar Plum Fairy and her friends in the Land of Sweets for snacks, photo opportunities with Nutcracker cast members, fun activities, art projects, and a special Nutcracker Storytime. Sweet holiday magic awaits for the whole family!

*PLEASE NOTE: Tickets to attend The Brown-Forman Nutcracker must be purchased separately. Tickets subject to handling fees. 


Excerpt Courtesy of WDRB



SCENE I: Herr Drosselmeyer’s Workshop
Our story begins on Christmas Eve. Herr Drosselmeyer is putting the finishing touches on special toys that he has lovingly made for his godchildren, Marie and Fritz. He plans to give these toys to them this evening at the annual party held at the home of the Stahlbaum family. As he prepares to close his store, Marie and her Mother make a surprise visit to do some last-minute shopping. Marie immediately becomes infatuated with a toy, the Nutcracker, which is not quite finished. Herr Drosselmeyer tries in vain to distract Marie from this special toy. . .

SCENE II: Marie’s Bedroom
Marie can hardly contain her excitement as she prepares for the party.

SCENE III: The Party
The Stahlbaum home is festive and alive with dancing and holiday celebrations. A magnificent Christmas tree adorns the parlor. Suddenly, Herr Drosselmeyer bursts into the room bearing gifts, including several amazing dancing dolls; he also performs a number of magic tricks. He gives Fritz a gift that resembles a menacing rat, which is later banished from the room because Fritz behaves so mischievously with it.

Drosselmeyer, saving the best for last, presents Marie with the special Nutcracker that she so admired in his workshop earlier that evening. Marie immediately falls in love with her wonderful gift. It seems that the Nutcracker was meant to be Marie’s all along, and she begins to dance with him. Fritz, in a fit of jealousy, grabs the Nutcracker from Marie and accidentally breaks it. Fortunately, Drosselmeyer is able to repair the broken Nutcracker. The festivities draw to an end as Marie and Fritz’s grandparents lead the final dance of the evening. The guests depart into the night and the family retires for the evening to dream of Christmas morning.

SCENE IV: The Battle
With everyone asleep, Marie sneaks downstairs into the darkened parlor to search for her beloved Nutcracker. As the clock strikes midnight, Marie, feeling tired, falls asleep on the daybed and slips into a vivid dream. In her dream, she is startled as two rats steal her Nutcracker. The room appears to transform itself and the Christmas tree also seems to grow and grow before her very eyes.

A fierce battle ensues between the giant rats and the toy soldiers. The Nutcracker escapes the rats’ clutches and challenges the Rat King to a duel. With Marie’s help, the Nutcracker fatally wounds the Rat King. Magically, the Nutcracker is then transformed into a handsome prince who invites Marie to join him on an enchanted journey.

SCENE V: Journey through the Land of Snow
Marie and her Nutcracker Prince begin their magical journey through a swirling snowstorm.



SCENE 1: The Journey to the Land of the Sugar Plum Fairy
Marie and her Nutcracker Prince continue their travels to the Land of the Sugar Plum Fairy under Drosselmeyer’s watchful eye.

SCENE 2: The Palace of the Sugar Plum Fairy
Marie and her Nutcracker Prince arrive at an ornate palace under a starry sky where the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier reside. The palace is decorated with columns that seem to be made of spun sugar.

It is an enchanting land graced by several dancing angels. Marie and her Nutcracker Prince are greeted by Drosselmeyer, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and her Cavalier. Marie is astonished that the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier resemble the very dolls that Drosselmeyer presented at the party. Marie and the Nutcracker Prince are entertained by several dances from distant lands — chocolate, tea, coffee, and caviar representing Spain, China, Arabia, and Russia, respectively. These are followed by the French Pastilles, deliciously danced by four beautifully clad maidens. A comical but fantastic Madame Derby with eight tiny guests then entertain Marie. Next, a beautiful Rose appears, accompanied by her bouquet. Finally, the most wonderful dance of all is danced by the Sugar Plum Fairy and her gallant Cavalier. As Marie and the Nutcracker Prince prepare to leave, everyone returns for one last farewell as, alas, all dreams must come to an end. Or was it a dream?


Scenic Artwork
YWorks: Cape Town’s Scenic Studio (South Africa)
Magic by Marshall Magoon (Los Angeles, CA)
Craig Grigg (New York) – Remote Controlled Props
Ron Riall and the Scenic Construction Crew of Louisville Ballet

Shari Cochran of Actors Theatre of Louisville
Margret Fenske of Actors Theatre of Louisville
Teresa Greer (Indiana)
Charles Heightchew and the Boston Ballet Costume Shop David Heuvel and Cindy Farrimond of Ballet West Patricia Mallet (New Jersey)
Sarah Havens (Rhode Island), milliner
John Hiatt (Salt Lake City, UT), bootmaker
Jim McGough of Virginia Opera, wig and facial hair maker Dan Fedie and the Costume Shop of Louisville Ballet

Character Masks and Bodies
Allison Anderson of StageOne
Donna Bailey (Louisville)
Donna Lawrence-Downs (Louisville)
Headpieces constructed by Alun Jones (Louisville)

We sincerely thank these talented artists for their dedication. This production would not be possible without them.




November 11-14 2021
The Brown Theatre
Choreography by Robert Curran
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchakiovsky

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The Brown-Forman Nutcracker

December 11-23, 2021
Whitney Hall, Kentucky Center
Choreography by Val Caniparoli
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

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January 12-22, 2022
Louisville Ballet Studios

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Spotlight Series: Impressionism to Jazz

March 3-5, 2022
The Brown Theatre
A mixed repertory evening featuring:


Choreography by George Balanchine

Music: "Pelléas et Mélisande" + "Shylock" by Gabriel Fauré

In G Major

Choreography by Jerome Robbins
Music: "Piano Concerto in G Major" by Maurice Ravel

World Premiere Work

Music by Louisville-based Jazz Composer and Musician, Dick Sisto

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Sleeping Beauty

March 31 - April 2, 2022
The Brown Theatre
Choreography by Adam Hougland
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchakiovsky

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