Win 4 tickets to the House Theatre’s (ballet-free!) ‘Nutcracker’

If The Nutcracker makes you think of slippered children and the type of dances that Sugarplum Fairies like best, then the House Theatre of Chicago’s take on E.T.A. Hoffmann’s tale is the refreshing palate cleanser your holiday season may just require.

Created by Jake Minton, Phillip Klapperich, Kevin O’Donnell and Tommy Rapley, and directed by Chris Mathews, this production has garnered quite a devoted following over the past 8 years.

First off, there’s no ballet. Zero Tchaikovsky. And, while there’s definitely music, it’s immediately recognizable as the kind that has kept the House at the forefront of the honest/relevant/cool theatre scene for 16 seasons.

So, how’s this show different than all of those other Nutcrackers? Well, it starts out the same as usual; a joyous Christmas party, an ecstatic little girl, and an godfather with a penchant for magical gifts. Soon, however, there’s a family tragedy- a big one. And, seemingly in an instant, everything changes.


Subsequent battles with rats and alliances with toys are less about sugared, jingle-belled dreams and more about finding the light that’s always there, even in the darkness.

Vague? Oh, intentionally. Because this production is so full of magic, so full of the joyous essence of the holiday spirit (even in the midst of heartbreak), that to detail it further would rob newcomers of something pretty special.

That said, younger audience members should know that things get pretty sad at first. (I definitely cried. And guess what? You will, too. You will.) If your family has experienced a recent loss, be prepared for that as well. (…I definitely cried.) And some moments later in the play might cause a small amount of alarm, especially if your kids are particularly fond of teddy bears or have a thing about gigantic, demonic rats. (…*raises hand*) But as to the rest? Oh, the House just knows exactly what they’re doing, guys, and this show is a marvel of set pieces and immersiveness and beauty in storytelling.

House Theatre Chicago Nutcracker

Photo credit: Michael Brosilow

Newcomer- and high school junior- Haley Seda is a pitch-perfect Clara, with an earnestness, wit, and killer voice that will secure her place as a Chicago mainstay (and beyond) for years to come. She’s surrounded by an exceptionally talented and versatile cast, all of whom imbue humor into what could be fairly heavy scenes. Don’t be swayed by all the grief talk; these guys are funny as heck.

It runs through December 30th, 2017, at the Chopin Theatre upstairs theatre (1543 W. Division St., Chicago) with performances Thursdays through Sundays.

Want to start your holiday season off with a bang? The House’s stunning- and really, really fun- Nutcracker is just the ticket.

Actually, four of them.

Enter the Rafflecopter below to win a family 4-pack (but hey- you decide what constitutes your “family,” amiright?) and see this sparkly show anytime in the next three weekends. Again, these tix are good between Friday, November 17th and Sunday, December 3rd, depending on availability.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



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