This Season’s Nutcracker is More than Meets the Eye

Master Illusionist Drew Thomas
(America’s Got Talent’s Most Popular Magician)
Weaves New Tricks, Special Effects into this Holiday Tale

ATLANTA – October 2012 - Atlanta Ballet will give new meaning to “the magic of the holidays” this season as Artistic Director John McFall ups the ante by adding master illusionist Drew Thomas into the mix for the Company’s 53rd production of Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker, Dec. 7-26, 2012, at the Fabulous Fox Theatre in downtown Atlanta.

The whimsical holiday tale that follows young Marya’s unbelievable adventure with her handsome Nutcracker Prince will now have even more thrills and surprises as Thomas deftly introduces new illusions and special effects.

Since recreating Nutcracker in 1995, McFall has updated the production every year to keep it vibrant and fresh. This year he has completely reimagined Act 1, including the famous “party scene,” with new choreography, new characters and, of course, more magic. McFall has also invited the students from the Atlanta Chinese Dance Company back after a three-year hiatus to perform the “Chinese variation” in Act 2.

“For five decades now, Atlanta Ballet has been presenting Nutcracker, and we’ve become a holiday tradition for many families in Atlanta,” said McFall. “It’s an honor, but also a great responsibility. Each year we want to make sure we preserve the tradition, but also keep the magic and the mystery alive. We are thoughtful about each change we make and confident that it will ultimately make for a more enchanting experience. The decision to add real magic and illusions was an easy one. Drew is an amazing talent and with him we’ve been able to let our imaginations run wild and take Nutcracker to the next level.”

Thomas actually began his professional career with McFall more than 20 years ago. McFall, who was then artistic director at Columbus, Ohio’s Ballet Met, gave Thomas his first gig right out of high school, commissioning him to create the magic for the company’s Nutcracker. Since then, Thomas has offered his expertise to companies such as Six Flags, Sea World, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and the NBA’s Orlando Magic, earning the praise of many industry insiders, including Jim Timon, VP of Entertainment at Universal Studios Orlando, who hailed Thomas as "a rare creative and extraordinary talent." He was most recently a finalist on NBC’s hit reality-TV series “America’s Got Talent,” becoming one of the show’s most popular acts.

Thomas has now reunited with McFall to pull even more tricks and surprises out of Herr Drosselmeyer’s magic bag.

What won’t change in this year’s production is the appearance of more than 250 Atlanta area school children performing alongside the professional company, which will be the first chance for many of them to experience the magic of being on the Fox Theatre stage. The Atlanta Ballet Orchestra and the Georgia Youth Choir will also return for all performances.

Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker runs for 20 performances Dec. 7 – 26 at the Fabulous Fox Theatre. Tickets start as low as $20 and are on sale now.  Tickets can be purchased by phone at 855-ATL-TIXX, in person at the Fox Theatre Box Office and the Atlanta Ballet Box Office, or online at  For groups of ten or more, call Atlanta Ballet Group Sales at 404-873-5811 x 207.

Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker is sponsored by Belk, Inc.


Calendar Listing:
Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker (Presented by Belk)
The season begins with the return of Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker to the Fabulous Fox Theatre, sponsored by Belk, Inc. The whimsical holiday tale takes 20 pounds of snow, eight tons of scenery, lighting, and props, and a 38-foot-tall Christmas tree to make the magic of Marya’s unbelievable story come to life. More than 250 of Atlanta’s young dancers will join the Atlanta Ballet professional company for this extravagant production live with the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra and the Georgia Youth Choir for all performances. After 53 years, Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker continues to be a treasured holiday tradition shared by multiple generations.

Performance Dates: Friday, December 7 – Wednesday, December 26 (20 Performances)
Venue: The Fabulous Fox Theatre - 660 Peachtree Street Northeast Atlanta, 30308
Cost: $20-$120
Contact: (404) 817-8700 or

About Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker
Atlanta Ballet first brought Nutcracker to the stage in 1959, performing George Balanchine’s version of the timeless tale. In that year, Atlanta Ballet was the only company outside of New York City Ballet allowed to perform this signature piece thanks to Atlanta Ballet’s then Associate Artistic Director Robert Barnett who had danced with Balanchine at New York City Ballet. “We gave it as a gift,” says Barnett, “inviting children from all counties to come in and see the performance. It was a gift from Mr. Balanchine, and he never charged us a cent for doing it.” From that day forward, Nutcracker has been an annual event in Atlanta. In 1995, Atlanta Ballet’s third and current artistic director, John McFall, created a brand new Nutcracker for the city of Atlanta. McFall’s vision was to create a Nutcracker that was “traditional yet new, familiar yet different, classic yet contemporary and above all magical.” Every year since then McFall has added a special touch to the production in an effort to keep it vibrant and fresh.

About Atlanta Ballet
Founded in 1929, Atlanta Ballet is one of the premier dance companies in the country and the official state Ballet of Georgia. Atlanta Ballet's eclectic repertoire spans ballet history, highlighted by beloved classics and inventive originals. After 83 years, Atlanta Ballet continues its commitment to share and educate audiences on the empowering joy of dance. In 1996, Atlanta Ballet opened the Centre for Dance Education and is dedicated to nurturing young dancers while providing an outlet for adults to express their creativity. The Centre serves over 150,000 people in metro Atlanta each year. Atlanta Ballet's roots remain firmly grounded in the Atlanta community and continue to play a vital role in the city's cultural growth and revitalization. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter @atlantaballet, and like us on Facebook at