Sat., Dec. 21, 2 p.m., Sun., Dec. 22, 2 p.m. and Tue., Dec. 24, 11 a.m.
Now in its fourth festive year, Graham Lustig’s The Nutcracker is a renewed tradition for the Oakland Ballet. The homegrown company has performed versions of the holiday classic for more than forty years; this one is set in early-20th-century Vienna, and its grown-up party setting is an elegant complement to the Paramount Theatre (2025 Broadway, Oakland). But Lustig emphasizes family-friendly fun throughout, with a cadre of children cast as dancing bonbons and waltzing snowballs, and a vibrant Land of Sweets confected from gingerbread, lollipops, and gumdrops — what could be a more perfect crossroads for the beloved Spanish, Russian, Arabian, and German dances? Michael Morgan directs the Oakland East Bay Symphony in Tchaikovsky’s soaring score, accompanied by Mt. Eden High School Women’s Ensemble and the Oakland Youth Chorus. Children can meet their favorite characters and enjoy refreshments at Sweet Dreams parties after the 2 p.m. shows (with separate $15 ticket). To save 10 percent on performance tickets, purchase at the box office and bring a nonperishable food item for the Alameda County Community Food Bank.