Tickets for UNC School of the Arts’ annual production of “The Nutcracker” will go on sale Sept. 28 with a party at the Stevens Center, 405 W. Fourth St.

Dancers and actors in “Nutcracker” costumes will greet ticket-buyers 10 a.m.- noon. There will be refreshments and activities for kids and grownups.

Tchaikovsky’s ballet opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13, presented by the UNCSA schools of Dance, Design and Production, and Music. This year’s calendar includes new options for family scheduling on Saturday, Dec. 14, with performances at noon and 5:30 p.m. More performances are at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 15, and on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 21 and 22; and at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, Dec. 18-21.

Ticket prices vary by seat location, starting at $24 for children 13 and under and $29 for adults. Those who attend the Sept. 28 box office opening will have access to the best seats and will receive $5 off each ticket, up to four tickets.

“If our spectacular ‘Nutcracker’ is on your holiday calendar, you should definitely plan to attend the festive box office opening,” said Claire Machamer, vice chancellor for Strategic Communications. “Not only will you save on tickets, you can get a head start on your holiday cards by taking photos with the Nutcracker himself, the Sugar Plum Fairy, or other beloved characters.”

The Sept. 28 event will include giveaways, face-painting, balloon animals and children’s crafts. The first 25 ticket buyers will receive a special prize, and one lucky purchaser will win a private backstage tour at “The Nutcracker” in December.

“This is a true insider event,” Machamer said. “It is thrilling for children and adults, and it’s exciting for all of us at the School of the Arts as we prepare to showcase some of our finest talents with beautiful music, superb performances and excellent stagecraft.”

Highlighting this year’s “Nutcracker” is celebrated guest conductor Karin Hendrickson, who also conducted last year’s production of Leonard Bernstein’s “Mass” at UNCSA.

“Local audiences were awed by Karin Hendrickson’s vibrant conducting last year in our production of ‘MASS,’ and they will be delighted this year as she leads the Nutcracker Orchestra in performing Tchaikovsky’s iconic score,” said Brian Cole, interim chancellor.

Jared Redick, assistant dean of Ballet, directs “The Nutcracker” with original staging and direction by Ethan Stiefel, former dean of Dance.

Tickets to “The Nutcracker” go on sale to the public on Sept. 30 at the Stevens Center box office, 336-721-1945, or at www.uncsa.edu/performances.

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