The Nutcracker Reviews

November 2017


About this production

Julie Gharios – Detroit

Loved the new production! Especially Minnie and the rest of the Poodles.


Elaine Searle – OrionC



MJ – Novi

Well, I don’t think I have ever been disappointed in the Nutcracker and I’ve seen it over 20 times! I took 3 other ladies and we all agreed it was altered so much it took away from the nostalgia factor and then some. 🙁 For example, Clara’s new imaginary dog and the entire dog scene are not tradition. Too much humor was added to something that is not meant to be a satire. The Christmas tree is way too modern and there was a lot of stomping around on stage and a quickness to the movements. The choreography went way overboard from what we felt was an effort to modernize a story that is not modern. The ONLY consistent thing was Tchaikovsky! Very disappointed this year……


NC Lover – Dearborn

The Nutcracker this year at the Michigan Opera House was disappointing. The sets did not seem as elaborate. Also, the character of the dog with Clara did not fit. The Arabic dance with the two women wanting the attention of the male seemed a bit silly. The show should be whimsical and many parts fell flat. Many portions felt silly. The opening sequence set in the kitchen of the home was a nice addition although most of the set design was not as striking as in years past.


Judy – Livonia

This was by far the best and most entertaining rendition of the Nutcracker that my family and I have seen. The costumes, the whimsical set and the dancers were absolutely amazing!!

N – Bloomfield Hills

Not as good as last year.


John Haddad – Ann Arbor

The Nutcracker ballet was tremendous, superb ! Modern flavor blended perfectly with traditional presentation. Great for all ages. We had a great time.


Renata – Windsor

First time at the Detroit Opera House and seeing the Nutcracker. It did NOT disappoint! I was so impressed with every aspect of the performance from start to finish – it was phenomenal! Amazing work to all those that were involved in the production!!


Elizabeth – Sterling Heights

This production appealed to all generations, centennials and millennials alike. It was relevant, the dancing was superb and the decorations and costumes were amazing!
Wish the curtain was timed better.


P. Holsey – Detroit

I took my granddaughter to see this production. We had seen one a couple of years ago in Detroit as well. Although overall I thought the dancing was great and the sets were beautiful, I must say I found it disconcerting to see the “chicken“ number that was included. Having seen the nutcracker and knowing several people who have, no one seems to remember that being a part of the original and I frankly think it was out of place. Otherwise enjoyable and beautiful show.


Anita DeMarco Goor – Troy

Much preferred last year’s production. It was more beautiful, Christmas tree, sets, lighting. Too many cuts, also.


Bill Betz – Clinton Township

In a word, magnificent!


Amber – Highland

This was the first ballet performance that we have attended and it was amazing! The choreography was implemented wonderfully. The dancers did an awesome job. They also did a great job of adding in little parts of humor throughout the show. Through the whole two hours we never lost interest. We would definitely go and see it again.


Brian Walker – Allen Park

Phenomenal!! I admit, I was a little worried when the artistic director came out before the show, and in her introduction stated that this was NOT a ‘traditional’ Nutcracker. However, all of her liberties and additions were quite welcome, and added to the show, while keeping with the essence of a traditional Christmas story/dream. The dancing was fantastic (and I’m not a huge ballet fan), and the music was spot on (emotional and precise). I hope we are able to make this a yearly tradition.


AngRod313 – Indianapolis

Loved the production of The Nutcracker! My 4 children also enjoyed the performance. The scene of the 2 Arabian ladies seeking the attention of the man, was a little over the top, and I’m not sure if it was necessary.
All the dancers were amazing !!!!!
The Detroit Opera House is a Gem ! We walked the downtown area and Campus Martius and the atmosphere was great.


Vicki – Canton

The production this year was ok, I personally loved last years production and enjoyed the narration much more. Also last years dancers were better as well.


Valerie Ringer – Hartland

The ballet dancers were talented and I was mesmerized as I watched, the set was wonderfully detailed and the costumes were unique and colorful. Let’s not forget the orchestra, excellent!


C. – Plymouth

Dancing and music was great as usual, but new sets, poodle, etc. did not fit. Seemed to be more Dr. Seuss, and less Christmas. Please return to the traditional for next year and years to come – the Nutcraker has always been great!


John – Clarkston

Not bad, but the last few years of BalletMet’s Nutcracker was superior to this new ballet company. The sets reminded me of something you would see at a high school or college ballet. Will not be returning to see this one next year…


AG – Grosse Pointe Park

My daughters and I have been going to see the Nutcracker at MOT for the last 11 years. First, the high points- the sets for the first act were wonderful- the set, costumes and choreography for the Dance of the Snowflakes were truly the highlight of the show. The Rose from the Waltz of the Flowers, and that piece overall, were another high point, as were the costumes.
Overall, we found this year’s production disappointing. The kitchen scene was fun, but the majority of the rest of the first act (the party scene) following this was a jumble and the choreography was difficult to untangle at several points. The role of Herr Drosselmeyer seemed a bit downplayed, somehow less magical. The sets were also very deep this year, which made it difficult to see much of them at all unless you were seated toward the middle of the theatre. None of us have any idea what was up with Minnie the Poodle or any of the other dogs. Hard pass. We also missed the portions of narration in the old production that my girls (15 and 9 years old) said really helped them to tie the story together. Also, the Sugarplum Fairy- while impressive athletically, and generally accurate in her technique, was missing a certain grace and airy quality you typically associate with that role. She had little stage presence, her costume was lackluster and she just didn’t inspire the usual excitement the Sugarplum Fairy does. Most of the soloist cast seemed a little tired, with the exceptions noted above (Rose, Snowflake). Lastly, the Arabic dance without the silks was a huge disappointment, especially since they brought them out and they were then discarded as part of the ‘performance’. Don’t taunt the audience.
We will be back again next year as always, but the Nutcracker is perhaps not the place to push the envelope. Contrasted with the more avant garde productions the rest of the season, a traditional Nutcracker and one full-length performance a year provide a really well-balanced dance season. Don’t mess with a good thing?


paula beauchamp – Dearborn

We loved the Nutcracker.This was our first time to the Opera House and it will not be our last.


SS – Livonia

Very disappointing.


Lisa – Livonia

The Nutcracker always an exciting experience. Act 1 was an impressive change other than Clara’s dancing poodle, the child danced well and acted accordingly however it left one questioning why? and the motorized mice initially it was amusing which quickly was overused. Other than the Mouse King and the Nutcracker having a small battle the interaction between the mice and the soldiers was interesting. Act 2 with the Sugar Plum fairy dancing out of sequence and the Cavalier not really have a solo was disappointing. Mirlapoo’s and the vying for attention of the Arabian girls did not represent the artistry of traveling through the land of sweets. The Gingerbread men aka dads could have been prompted to stand a bit taller. What happened to Mother Ginger the Hen was a big fail. The local children were wonderful. The part’s they played were executed well.


RRY – Belleville

While my wife and I enjoyed the performance we do prefer the more traditional versions. The dig additions were not welcome.


C A James – Westland

Very disappointed in this version of a classic story. My granddaughter even asked why did they change the story. Although the performers were amazing the production was not enjoyed, especially for new audience members.
In addition, serving popcorn in bags that crinkled every time a patron reached in their bag was VERY distracting for a live performance. I did not pay good money to miss the wonderful musicians play this beautiful score.


JCM – Northville

Disappointing: 2nd act was TOO THIN – NO scenery (e.g., no candy)/ Opera needs majestic scenery; Very few dancers for special dances (Spanish only 4; One man w a stick was no dance; too few Russians w limited skills; Silly Arabic dance; etc.) Maybe stage was too big or dance company was too small. (A few children near us asked to leave in boring part of 2nd act.)
Great: All the straight ballet dancers and couples were Fantastic.


Elizabeth – Royal Oak

I have seen the Nutcracked many times as a child and now my mom and I have taken my 2.5 year old son the last two years. Although different than other productions we’ve seen in the past we all really enjoyed this year! The little changes like starting in the kitchen were fun! I think if you’ve seen the Nutcracker once you might enjoy the changes. We loved it!


MT – Northville

The Cincinnati Ballet’s version of The Nutcracker was a bit disappointing. The nutcracker character did not dance enough. The Russian dancers were very disappointing….only three dancers who were given less stage time than those damn dog characters. Clara’s dog friend was silly and unnecessary. The set was not at all elaborate, other than the first kitchen scene. The tree was very very disappointing. However, the music was superb.


MLP – Macomb

My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed this production of the Nutcracker! It was more whimsical than the others we’ve seen at the Detroit Opera House, but that made it fun. While my wife has seen numerous ballets, I am relatively new to this art form. And compared to the several other interpretations of the Nutcracker that I’ve seen, I felt like this was truly a ballet.


Robin Jones – Macomb

Loved, loved, loved it!!!


Adam – Harper Woods

Our granddaughters thought it was a great production. They were spellbound by all the action on the stage. We were concerned about their attention for 2 hours but it wasn’t a problem. They were totally into the story. The adults, parents and grand parents, enjoyed the set design, dancers – young and old – and the charming modern touches to a beloved classic. Bravo Cincinnati Ballet. Thank you MOT for bringing this wonderful production to Detroit.


ADH – Dearborn

I totally agree with the previous revewer MJ-Novi. I was so dissappointed with the changes. Why do artistic directors think things need to change and disreguard tradition.? The poodle business was silly and distracting. Bring back the traditionalists. I will not attend another Nutcracker with this company which is part of my Christmas traditions The soldier scene was good as well well as the Snow Queen and Sugar Plum. The Detroit audience needs instruction regarding not talking during the performance and rattleing bags of snacks. No excuse for bad behavior of adults as well as children, especially when prices are high and effort is made to attend the performance.


Michelle – Livonia

This was one of the best productions of The Nutcracker I have ever seen! I have probably been to 15-20 performances in my life and I enjoyed this one – way more than the Moscow Ballet. It was more whimsical and entertaining then past interpretations. I can see how Nutcracker traditionalists wouldn’t like the changes, but I thought it was fantastic!!


Katie – Lexington MI

Absolutely amazing! 1st time seeing the nutcracker! Beautiful!


CB – Commerce Township

Although we have seen The Nutcracker many times it had been a few years, so we really looked forward t this. The dancing was beautiful, especially the principles. We were, however disappointed overall. I missed the lavish red and golds of the first act, the Russian look, and the Christmas tree was a cartoon. I found some elements very distracting, example, the poodle took away from Clara who danced so beautifully; the Arabian trio was inappropriate. Much of the humor missed the mark. Snow scene was lovely. There was a lack of energy from one point to the next. Sorry to say I wouldn’t return next year.


DK – Fenton

This was our 6th consecutive year of seeing the Nutcracker at the Opera House. It was very refreshing to see a new take on the production. We loved it!!


CRO – Utica

We were extremely disappointed. We also have been to multiple performances, and this one was the worst! I agree with the other reviewers about the addition of the “dogs” and the unusual style of humor. Next time I will double check reviews before purchasing tickets for an event like this. What a waste of time and money!


Jen – Ann Arbor

The music and dancing were beautiful, but my friend and I both disliked the part with the dogs.


Sylvia – Rochester

I was very disappointed in the new production. I did not like the poodles and their moves. I didn’t like the chicken. I didn’t like the rat costumes. I loved the pas de deux though. What were they thinking?


Curtis Leszczynski – Rochester Hills

Excellent performance. One of the best Nutcrackers I have seen. Well done.


Annette – Shelby Township

Well so much for a long standing family tradition. Tschaikovsky was rolling in his grave with this staging and costuming. The Arabic dance with the two female dancers and one male dancer vying for affection was inappropriate especially with young children in attendance. The rooster laying eggs was biologically ridiculous as was it’s random addition to the ballet. No introductory narration for those attending for the first time would have most scratching their head as to what was actually going on. The dogs, again ridiculous to attract laughter. The mice which are usually the animal most remembered for a humorous portion were partially reduced to mounted stuffed mice on a Roomba …..
Not going next year………..


Terese – Detroit

Dear Detroit Opera House,
Why don’t you start selling Cinnamon Coated Almonds again? Maybe it would have made this completely miserable interpretation of this beautiful ballet halfway bearable. I had to settle for horrible stale chocolate covered popcorn during a high tech and visually unappealing disaster. Cincinnati Ballet, you have officially ruined my holiday season by starting it off on the wrong foot. I come in from DC every year for this, and would have MUCH rather settled for The Nutcracker performance in the District with canned music instead of this royal disaster. You all should be ashamed of this production. In reality, I would have put some of my feelings aside if I could have at least had nuts at The Nutcracker.


Eab – Grosse Pointe

The poodles were not exciting . Arabian dance was disappointing, but perhaps the old one was too steamy for a family production. This was Not the magical show of the past. The little chicks were cute, though.


Karen – Birmingham

Absolutely loved it. Did not disappoint. The costumes and sets were beautifully done….very whimsical in every way. Watching the little girls two rows in front of me engage in this production was priceless. This was the best I’ve seen. Thank you Victoria Morgan for “dazzling” up this traditional production.


GB – Detroit

We did not love the changes to the original Nutcracker. The dogs smelling the other dog, the arab dancers fighting over the man, the clapping and the goofiness. I understand you did it for the children to like it better, but it is a dumbed down production.
We are going to see the Russian Ballet Nutcracker next since we were dissapointed.


JT – Oxford

Seeing the Nutcracker has been a family tradition for years. This is the first year we have been disappointed. The dancing was magnificent however the addition of the dogs and chicken felt out place. My daughter was confused by the 2 woman fighting over the man in the Arabic dance and the changes overall.


Larry Freedman – Bingham Farms

Cinncinnati Ballet Co.’s Nutcracker production was beautiful costumes and sets; with good to Great dancers. But where was The Nutcracker???
The Nutcracker is a Christmas story geared for CHILDREN. Cinncinnati presented a version for ADULTS.
Where was Clara? Where was Clara’s dreaming all the toys, and her Magic Nutcracker, coming to life?
Cinncinnati forgot what the name of this ballet was; and that it should be for all the children who were in attendance.
I enjoyed the production, but my three grandchildren were lost.


Meredith – St Clair Shores

I was so looking forward to seeing The Nutcracker with my 6 year old daughter. I’ve seen this show every year for the last 20+ years as a Christmas tradition with my mom. She has since passed away so I started the same tradition with my daughter. This was the fourth year attending with her and she was so very excited. But I have to say that I left this performance disappointed and missing my Christmas favorite. It didn’t feel like The Nutcracker. Obviously the story was followed but the change in characters and the set made it strange. The colors of the costumes and props didn’t feel right and it didn’t feel like Christmas. My daughter who LOVES this ballet left asking me why it was different. So I am not happy with this particular production and I’m going to get tickets to The Nutcracker at The Fox Theatre next month.


Kristin – Bruce Township

I’m still not sure what I think. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the performance that I saw. I felt it was too modern for a nostalgic traditional story line. Too much whimsy. It was almost like the story setting was Whoville. Seeking Christmas tradition for next year.


Melissa – Novi

One of the worst performances of the Nutcracker I’ve seen. We’ve been going to the Opera House for this production for the last 10 years. It would have been nice to know, prior to purchasing our tickets, that they switched the production company. A classic such as the this needs to be kept to its traditional script and not tried to be remade from another perception. Won’t considering attending next year unless MOT changes it performance back to the classic version.


Tracy – Birmingham

We loved it. Something for everyone in the family. My daughter laughed and laughed when the Mouse King was hit with the giant spoon. She also loved the poodles and the Sugar Plum Fairy.


Papa D – Clarkston

Loved it. Beautiful use of color and costumes. My favorite production of this work. I enjoyed the superb acting and energy of the children in Act I. The professional dancers were stellar throughout, as well. Hope to see it again next year.


E.W. – Grosse Pointe Farms

I was also disappointed with the production. The traditional ballet dancers were a joy to watch, but they were few and far between. My teen daughters thought it was more akin to a high school performance. There was too much nonsense, such as the dogs, and the chicken and chicks. I would like a traditional performance with more ballet, lots and lots more! Considering the ticket price, I was underwhelmed.


MEG – Bloomfield Hills

I’ve taken my granddaughters to see the Nutcracker for the last three years, starting when they were 4 and 5. We agreed the first production we saw two years ago was the best.
The ballet scenes were well done, but too long. We prefer the traditional Nutcracker.


Albert Sullivan – Grosse Pointe Woods

Hated it. I miss last year’s production


Karen Milligan – Dearborn

As a former dancer and ballet teacher, I have experienced more than 45 years worth of Nutcrackers. I’m sad to say that I found the new production by the Cincinnati Ballet quite disappointing. While I did like some things, I found much of it quite jarring. For example, the costumes and set in Act I were Victorian, but the dances had a definite ‘funky flavor’; some of them conjured up visions of vogueing! The costumes and scenery in Act II were very comic bookish–rather Dr. Seuss-ish.
I did like the Act I Kitchen Scene, and the children in the Party Scene were charming and well-rehearsed. The Snow Scene was visually lovely and well danced, and I enjoyed the Arabian dance (usually my least favorite.)
But…Mother Ginger reincarnated as a chicken was not quite as successful. And why on earth would Clara have a dog who never left her side, played by a dancer holding her hands in a pseudo ‘paw’ position? The absolute worst, however, was the Mirlitons/Marzipan/Shepardess variation, which featured 4 women dressed in pink poodle costumes with one green guy poodle (I foolishly assumed they were sheep until the program set me straight. ) And since when have ballerinas been allowed to wear bangs? Nothing breaks the spell of the Sugar Plum Fairy like heavy bangs covering half of her forehead!
Unfortunately, the Cincinnati Ballet left those of us who were looking for our annual dose of Christmas Nutcracker Magic literally ‘dis-enchanted’


KH – Waterford

I have seen the Nutcracker too many times to recount. I don’t claim to be aficionado and would have never attended the Nutcracker in the first place, if someone I LOVED wasn’t in it. That said, I actually enjoyed this version and it didn’t seem like drudgery to sit through it. This was by far the best version I have seen, it was humorous and moved along nicely. The children’s voices in the Saturday matinee were angelic and I loved the fact that they sang at the beginning of the show and intermission. I’m sure my review will not go over well with the ballet purists but from a layman point of view it was great.


Daniel Otwell – Sterling Heights

I have no choice but to concur with the previous several comments. I was totally disappointed by this production! They took a elegant traditional event and tried to change it into a border line comedy! This is a yearly tradition for me, and I felt I wasted my time, money, by this production. Very very disappointed!


MK – South Lyon

Being our first ballet, we were not sure what to expect. The music was spectacular, and the dancing was also great, especially the soloists. We found the story hard to follow, and many of the scenes were scattered and busy. Since we have not seen any other Nutcracker performance, we cannot comment on how this interpretation compares to the more traditional ones. Not sure if we would attend again.


Janette – New Boston

We go every year so it was refreshing to see the new production. Missed the clock and didn’t care for the Poodles. Both shows are excellent.


Terry S. – Bloomfield Township

So many reviews have already echoed my thoughts. We have attended the Nutcracker annually for about 20 years at MOT, except for last year when we saw the American Ballet Theater production in LA while visiting family. That production also started with the kitchen scene. We were getting a little tired of the Columbus production after several years of the same sets, and were looking forward to something new. Absolutely hated the Mirlipoos scene with the four female dogs and one male. The choreography was strange. We weren’t sure if he fell down by accident or was meant to fall down. Addition of the chicken atop the skirt was odd. Did not care for one of the automaton dolls being a teddy bear instead of the male companion for the girl doll. The ad for the production promised great acrobatics, but did not deliver. Some humor is welcome and keeps the younger kids entertained, but this was a bit much at expense of the dancing and the magical overall feel of the Nutcracker. We saw Sunday’s performance, though, and I thought the Sugar Plum Fairy was quite good . Not sure if an earlier reviewer saw a different dancer.


Latte – Romulus

Usually the Nutcracker is very boring to me. I actually stayed awake this time very humorous and I absolutely loved the Doll with the red hair! 😍 Great Job Cincinnati Ballet! Also, the soldiers wee so uniform and Amazing to watch!


Diane – Clarkston

This was the worst I had ever seen. If you wanted to redo the entire nutcracker and make it for children do it for a matinee (not the evening show) and don’t promote it as the nutcracker. This is one of my most cherished moments to start the holiday season and I left feeling completely empty. Such a waste for $100/seat tickets. If you are going to re-write a classic, then rename it also so people are aware.