A Selective Guide to the Arts in Los Angeles

LA Youth Ballet's "Nutcracker" / Photo by Iker Gutierrez

Internationally renowned ballet stars and prominent role models Ashley Murphy and Brooklyn Mack guest star in Los Angeles Youth Ballet’s critically acclaimed production of The Nutcracker by award-winning choreographer Andrea Paris-Gutierrez, which caps the holiday season with four performances Dec. 21 to 23 at Glendale’s Alex Theatre.

Enhancing the rich compendium of this much beloved classic, Paris-Gutierrez’s youth-inspired version of the two-act ballet featuring Tchaikovsky’s quintessential score and more than 80 dancers was premiered last season to critical acclaim. (See our review.)

Murphy (Sugar Plum Fairy), a “fearless technician” (Washington Post) heralded for her “charm and fire” (New York Times) who has “made it her mission to inspire young people of color” (Pointe), is a principal dancer with The Washington Ballet and previously danced for 13 years with the Dance Theatre of Harlem.

Kirov-trained, Mack (Sugar Plum Fairy’sCavalier), formerly a principal dancer with The Washington Ballet and in demand as a guest principal dancer worldwide, is celebrated for his “explosive leaps, incredible precision…and onstage charisma” and is “the first African-American man to win gold at the International Ballet Competition in Varna, Bulgaria” (NPR).

The Nutcracker is performed by Darrion Sellman, a 14-year-old virtuoso who moved from Virginia to Los Angeles specifically to train with Paris-Gutierrez and LA Youth Ballet. Sofia Monroy, 15, and Ellie Wein, 14, alternate as Clara; and Malcolm McLaurin Takumi, 11, and Marcel Ramirez, 12, alternate as Clara’s brother Fritz.


Friday, Dec. 21, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 22, 2 and 7 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 23, 2 p.m


Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale 91203

Tickets start at $25.

(818) 243-2539