This celebrated story ballet with choreography by Alexei Ratmansky, sets and costumes by Mark Ryden, and music by Richard Strauss is performed by American Ballet Theatre in 2 acts.
On a beautiful Sunday, a Boy and his friends receive their first communion. To celebrate the special occasion, they are taken to a confectioner’s shop, where they are served their favorite sweets. The Boy, who particularly loves whipped cream, eats so much that he becomes ill and has to be taken away.
With the children gone, the shop comes alive. Marzipan archers, spear-wielding Sugarplums, and swashbuckling Gingerbread Men engage in military exercises. Princess Tea Flower appears and is captivated by Prince Coffee, whom she chooses as her mate. Prince Cocoa and Don Zucchero attempt to win her favor, to no avail.
The Chef appears with his bowl and whisk, whisking cream, and the shop fades away into a world of the Boy’s dreams — a world made entirely of whipped cream.
The Boy, still sick from too much whipped cream, finds himself in a dark and sinister hospital room attended by a Doctor and an army of Nurses. They give him medicine and leave the room. In their absence, a fantastic procession, led by Princess Praline, arrives and helps the Boy escape.
The Doctor is suffering from a headache. He tries to relieve his pain with liquor. Then the liquor bottles come to life. The Nurses return and see that the Boy has disappeared. They find him and lead him back to his bed, but the liquor bottles intervene and intoxicate the Doctor and Nurses, allowing Princess Praline to free the Boy and whisk him away to her kingdom.
In the main square of Princess Praline’s domain, creatures of all kinds are celebrating. The Boy meets Nicolo, the Master of Ceremonies, who welcomes him to this fantasy world that will now become reality.