The Nutcracker and Beyond: 2023’s Best Christmas Shows Ever!

Ballet dancer peeking out from behind red curtain. Text: "The Nutcracker & Beyond: The Best Holiday Shows"

From the Nutcracker to A Christmas Carol, we guarantee you’ll find a variety of family-friendly Holiday shows this season. Here’s a look at the best Christmas plays, ballets, musicals and interactive shows coming to the Twin Cities this year.

Find Year-Round Family-Friendly Theater Here.

2023 Christmas Shows

Nov. 7, 2023 – Jan. 7, 2024:  How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Children’s Theatre Company, 2400 3rd Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55404
A Dr. Seuss favorite back at CTC for a new season with all our favorite stars. Be sure to get there early enough to order cookies or other treats for the intermission. Otherwise, the line is long and the break is short. Tickets: $15+.

DiscountsRush Tickets are $15-$25/pp. Lap Passes available for kids 3 and under.

Read Our 2022 Review and Parent’s Guide Here
Cast of How the Grinch Stole Christmas at Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis, Minnesota 2022
How the Grinch Stole Christmas Children’s Theatre Company. Sunday, November 6, 2022
Photographed by Glen Stubbe Photography for Childrens Theatre Company

Nov. 17 – Dec. 27, 2023: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast JR

Stages Theatre, 1111 Mainstreet, Hopkins, MN 55343
Based on the Disney Movie lose yourself in the tale as old as time this Holiday Season. • All Ages. • Tickets: $21-$33/pp.

DiscountsPay What You Can Performance November 19, 2023. (Note that you need to reserve these tickets in advance)

Nov. 20- Dec. 29, 2023: Cinderella: A Musical Fairy Tale for all Ages

Ives Auditorium, 11411 Masonic Home Drive, Bloomington, MN 55437
Sidekick Theatre‘s re-telling of the classic fairytale. December 3rd: Waffle Buffet prior to 1pm show. Tickets: $9-$19/pp.

Find Christmas Concerts & Holiday Sing-A-Longs Here

Nov. 30-Dec. 2, 2023: Nutcracker! Magical Christmas Ballet

Orpheum Theatre, 910 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403
Larger than life puppets, breathtaking acrobatics and dazzling costumes. Tickets $34-$104.

Dec. 1 – Dec. 17, 2023: ELF, the Musical

Howard Conn Fine Arts Center, 1900 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403
Fun with Buddy the Elf in the adventure of his life as he finds his family in New York City. • All Ages. • Tickets: $15.

Dec. 5-31, 2023: Peter Pan

Ordway Center for Performing Arts, 345 Washington Street, Saint Paul, MN 55102
See this time-honored Broadway favorite based on the classic children’s novel by JM Barrie
. Watch for Tickets beginning the summer of 2023.

Green background with shadows of Peter Pan and the Darling children. Peter Pan. The Hit Broadway Musical.
Peter Pan Dec 5-31, 2023. Image courtesy of the Ordway.

Dec. 7-17, 2023: The Christmas Bus

Northern Starz Center, 5300 Alpine Drive NW, Ramsey, MN 55303
A Christmas Comedy for the family. Save by pre-ordering.

2022 Performances We Are Watching for 2023

Keep checking back throughout 2023, and we’ll keep adding shows as they are announced.

The Nutcracker Ballet

Natalia Sheptalova and Erik J. Sanborn - Metropolitan Ballet Nutcracker Ballet 2022, Hopkins, Minnesota
Natalia Sheptalova and Erik J. Sanborn – Image courtesy Metropolitan Ballet

Nov. 29, 2022: Mini-Nutcracker

Lakeville Area Arts Center, 20965 Holyoke Ave, Lakeville, MN 55044
This one-hour abbreviated version of the full-length A Minnesota Nutcracker is a delightful introduction for young children to the classic ballet. 11am & 6pm performances. • All Ages. • Tickets: $13-$16/pp.

Dec 3-11, 2022: Continental Ballet’s The Nutcracker

Bloomington Center for Arts, 1800 W Old Shakopee Rd, Bloomington, MN 55431
Tchaikovsky’s classic tale of Clara’s voyage to the land of the Sugar Plum Fairy with her magical godfather Drosselmeyer. Tickets: $13-$25/pp.

Dec. 9-11, 2022: A Minnesota Nutcracker

Ames Center, 12600 Nicollet Avenue, Burnsville, MN 55337
Twin Cities Ballet of Minnesota performs the holiday classic with a Minnesota twist, including iconic Minnesota characters and landscapes. Offering a sensory-relaxed performance on Thursday, December 8th. Tickets $31.50+.

Dec 16-18, 2022: Minnesota Ballet Theatre presents The Nutcracker

Eden Prairie Performing Arts Center, 17185 Valley View Road, Eden Prairie, MN 55346
Over 70 children perform with professional dancers and special guest artists in this version featuring the original choreography. Tickets $27-$39.

Dec 16-23, 2022: Loyce Houlton’s Nutcracker Fantasy

State Theatre, 805 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55402
More than 150 dancers, a 44-piece orchestra, artists and production professionals create this annual holiday show. Tickets $19-$129.

Dec 17-18, 2022: Metropolitan Ballet’s Nutcracker with Full Symphony Orchestra

Auditorium at Hopkins High, 2400 Lindbergh Drive, Hopkins, MN 55305
Metropolitan Ballet celebrates 16 years of this family friendly holiday tradition! The classic story comes to life with fresh choreography and a cast of talented artists under the direction of Erik J. Sanborn of the Metropolitan Ballet. Tchaikovsky’s brilliant score is masterfully performed live by the Kenwood Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Dr. Yuri Ivan. Starring Russian ballerina, Natalia Sheptalova, as Sugar Plum Fairy. Tickets: $42-$69.

Find Discount Holiday Shows through our affiliate, Goldstar*: Half-Price Tickets

Christmas Plays & Musicals at Local Theaters

If your must-see list of Holiday happenings plays includes Ebenezer Scrooge, you are in luck! This year, we also have The Grinch, Rudolph, the real St. Nick and Madeleine.

All Ages Christmas Plays

Bachman's Santa & Albert Rock Christmas Holiday Play and Sing-Along, Bachman's on Lyndale Garden Center, Minneapolis, Minnsota
Santa & Albert’s Holiday Play – An Annual Tradition. Image courtesy Bachman’s

Nov. 19 – Dec. 18, 2022: Santa & Albert’s Holiday Play: Be Your Best (S)Elf.

Bachman’s on Lyndale, 6010 Lyndale Ave South, Minneapolis, MN 55419
Back live this year, Santa & Albert Plays are FREE to attend, last about 20 minutes and are seated first come, first serve. Shows are offered multiple times on weekend days.

Nov. 26, 2022: Julglädje Family Concert

American Swedish Institute, 2600 Park Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55407
The perfect theater experience for toddler and preschool audiences. Enjoy a performance that includes songs, stories, games and celebration; then explore the museum together. Tickets: $15/adults; $5 kids; 5 and under FREE. 11am-12pm or 1pm-2pm performances.

Nov. 29- Dec. 24, 2022: Black Nativity

Penumbra Theatre, 270 N. Kent Street, St. Paul, MN 55102
Musical created by Poet Langston Hughes with chorus music performed by the Kingdom Life Church Choir. Tickets $29-$45.

Nov 30, 2022: Baby Shark Live! – The Christmas Show

State Theatre, 805 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55402
Splash along with Baby Shark and Pinkfong in this extra-special holiday-themed live show. 6:00 pm.

Baby Shark (Dooooo do, dooooo do, doo-do, doo-do, doo-do, doo-do)
Baby Shark Dooooo do, dooooo do, doo-do, doo-do, doo-do, doo-do) – Photo Credit: Courtesy of Baby Shark Live!

Dec. 1 – Dec. 23, 2022: The Snowy Day and Other Stories by  Steppingstone Theatre

Park Square Theater, 20 W Seventh Place, St. Paul, MN 55102
Zip up your snowsuit and follow Peter through the pages of Ezra Jack Keats books as he grows from a small child exploring a snowy day through his grade school years.

Discounts: Pay As You’re Able Performance – December 11, 2022

The Snowy Day at Steppingstone Theatre in Saint Paul, Minnesota 2022
Image courtesy of Steppingstone Theatre

Dec. 2 – 4, 2022: The Snow Queen by Ballet Co.Laboratory

The Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts, 528 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55403
A Follow Gerda as she goes on a quest to save her brother from the evil snow queen (This snow queen is no Elsa). Tickets: $28-$33/pp.

Dec 2 – Dec. 29, 2022: Nicholas

Open Window Theatre, 5300 S. Robert Trail, Inver Grove Heights, MN 55077
The story of St. Nicholas of Myra and how he became a symbol of giving anonymous gifts. Tickets $20-$30/pp.

Discounts: Request up to 4 FREE tickets through the Windows of Hope Program.

Dec. 2 – Dec. 11, 2022: Chaska Valley Family Theatre Presents: “Elf The Musical”

Chanhassen Performing Arts Center, Chanhassen High School, 2200 Lyman Blvd, Chanhassen, MN 55317
​This modern-day holiday classic is sure to make everyone embrace their inner elf. After all, the best way to spread Christmas Cheer is singing loud for all to hear. ​Tickets $15-$20/pp.

Discounts: Save on tickets through our Goldstar Affiliate Link:

Dec. 3 – Dec. 11, 2022: Madeline’s Christmas

Merrill Community Theatre, 380 Rivertown Dr. #200, Woodbury, MN 55125
A musical adaptation of the Ludwig Bemelmans Classic. Tickets $5-$22.
Petite Patisserie Dress Up Party! Special treats (including bundtinis from Nothing Bundt Cakes), activities and photo-ops prior to Saturday Matinees December 3rd & 10th – 12:30pm. $10-$20 in addition to theater ticket.

Holiday Shows with Teens & Tweens

Nov. 12 – Dec. 31, 2022 A Christmas Carol

The Guthrie, 818 S 2nd St, Minneapolis, MN 55415
The Charles Dickens tale of Christmas magic and the redemption of Ebenezer Scrooge and the 3 Christmas ghosts who guided his journey from penny-pinching miser to “as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world”. Tickets: $15+
Note: We usually recommend this event for families with older kids. The Guthrie recommends this play for age 8+ and children 5 and under are not permitted.

Nov. 18 – Dec. 8, 2022: A Christmas Story

Hanifl Performing Arts Center, 4941 Long Ave, White Bear Lake, Minnesota 55110
Ralphie’s memories of Christmas in the 1940s and his pursuit of a Red Ryder BB gun. Pay-What-You-Can Night is the Thursday prior to opening night. • Buy Tickets $23-28/pp.

Dec 23, 2022: Trans-Siberian Orchestra: The Ghosts of Christmas Eve

Xcel Energy Center, 199 West Kellogg Boulevard, Saint Paul, MN 55102
Two shows – 3:00pm and 7:30pm. Tickets start at $49.

Other Christmas Shows for Kids

November 19, 2022: A Sleeping Beauty

Student Union Theater, 2017 Buford Ave, St Paul, MN 55108
A ballet version of the fairy tale by Pas de Deux Dance Studio. Some portions may be intense for younger audience members. Shows at 1:30 & 4pm. Ages 5 & up only, Tickets: $15/advance, $20/door.

Favorite Christmas Plays We Hope To See Each Year

If you know of any Christmas Plays we’ve missed, leave us a comment and we’ll check it out to share.

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Usually someone offers this play, but I’ve not found a production in the Twin Cities yet.  If not, you can watch with an AppleTV+ subscription or wait until December 22 through Christmas when AppleTV will share it with everyone for FREE.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.

Steppingstone Theatre used to perform this classic annually. A few years ago, they decided to put it in the vault for awhile. We are watching for a nearby theater to pick up this classic and run with it.

This article is Family Fun Twin Cities’ independent show guide; it is not currently sponsored by any Christmas plays, venue, production company or show. As affiliates, we do receive compensation for referrals to Goldstar and Maestro Classics and sometimes receive tickets from theaters to facilitate reviews.

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