NEW JERSEY: Ring in the holiday season with American Repertory Ballet’s (ARB) annual production of Nutcracker.  With 15 performances throughout New Jersey, including Rahway, Princeton, Asbury Park, New Brunswick, and Trenton, this festive family-friendly ballet is guaranteed to make your holiday spirits soar!  

The season opens on Saturday, November 23 at Union County PerformingArts Center in Rahway at 7: 30 pm.  On Sunday, November 24 at 1:00 pm, ARB will present an abridged, one-hour sensory friendly performances for children and adults with special needs. The performance is made possible by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders as part of the UC Sensory Friendly Theater series. 

This year’s production to feature ARB’s newly-appointed Ballet Master Ian Hussey (former Principal Dancer with Pennsylvania Ballet) in the role of the mysterious Uncle Drosselmeyer 

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New York City Ballet Soloist Unity Phelan and Principal Adrian Danchig-Waring joins ARB  for two performances at  McCarter Theatre Center on Friday, November 29 

“ARB’s Nutcracker is a timeless family tradition and a wonderful way to celebrate the magic of the season,” says Executive Director Julie Diana Hench. “It’s a great introduction for all ages to professional ballet, and a treat for our dancers, knowing that it brings such joy to audiences year after year.”

For the first time in his new role as ARB’s newly-appointed Ballet Master (and since retiring as a former Principal Dancer with the Pennsylvania Ballet), Ian Hussey, will portray the mysterious and magical Uncle Drosselmeyer.  Following a distinguished 15-year professional career, Mr. Hussey retired in May 2019 from the Pennsylvania Ballet.

Back by popular demand, ARB welcomes special guest New York City Ballet Soloist Unity Phelan back to the iconic role of the Sugar Plum Fairy for two performances at Princeton’s McCarter Theatre Center on Friday, November 29 at 2 pm and 7:30 pm.  Born in Princeton, Ms. Phelan began her dance training at the age of five at the Princeton Ballet School. Ms. Phelan has been called by the New York Times, “The most elegantly and glamorously poetic of the younger generation.” She will be accompanied by New York City Ballet’s Adrian Danchig-Waring, whose commanding talent has earned him the rank of principal dancer.

For 5 performances from December 13 through 15:  ARB’s Nutcracker features a live orchestra and the soaring voices of Princeton Girlchoir at State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick. 

This holiday season, ARB adds a new venue to its Nutcracker tour with two performances at the legendary Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park on Saturday, December 7 at 2pm and 7:30 pm. 

ARB wraps up its Nutcracker season with a final performance at the Patriots Theatre at the War Memorial in Trenton on Sunday, December 21 at 2 pm. 

With Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score, stunning sets, thrilling choreography, and a cast of more than 100 performers, American Repertory Ballet’s Nutcracker has been a holiday tradition for over 50 years.  Joining ARB’s professional company will be students from Princeton Ballet School to tell the story of a young girl named Clara and how a mysterious gift from her Uncle Drosselmeyer brings about enchanted dreams and fantastical scenes. 

This joyous classic will leave you with cherished memories for years to come. Audience members will have the opportunity to have a photo taken with characters from the ballet, and visit ARB’s Nutcracker Boutique filled with unique gifts for everyone on your holiday shopping list. 

For a complete performance schedule, please visit or call 732.249.1254, x23. 


Union County Performing Arts Center | Rahway, NJ |

Saturday, November 23 | 7:30pm

Sunday,  November 24 | 1pm Sensory-Friendly performance

McCarter Theatre Center | Princeton NJ |

Friday, November 29 | 2pm and 7:30pm featuring NYCB Soloist Unity Phelan

Saturday, November 30 | 2pm and 7:30pm

Sunday, December 1 | 1pm

  Paramount Theatre | Asbury Park, NJ  |

Saturday, December 7 | 2pm and 7:30pm 

State Theatre New Jersey | New Brunswick, NJ |

The only American Repertory Ballet performances featuring a live orchestra and

Princeton Girlchoir

Friday, December13 | 7:30pm

Saturday, December 14 | 2pm and 7pm

Sunday, December 15| 1pm and 5pm

Patriots Theater at the War Memorial | Trenton, NJ | 

Sunday, December 21 | 2pm 

The American Repertory Ballet’s mission is to bring the joy, beauty, artistry and discipline of classical and contemporary dance to New Jersey and nationwide audiences and to dance students through artistic and educational programs. The organization comprises: the preeminent professional classical and contemporary ballet company in the state; Princeton Ballet School, one of the largest and most respected non-profit dance schools in the nation; and ARB’s Access & Enrichment initiatives, including the long-running and acclaimed DANCE POWER program. The performing company is a classical and contemporary ballet company committed to presenting ballets from the 19th and 20th centuries alongside new and existing works by choreographers from today. To learn more, visit