Loyce Houlton's Nutcracker Fantasy

Opening: Minnesota Dance Theatre pulls out all the stops to bring the magic alive in Minnesota's longest-running "Nutcracker," first performed in 1964. Esteemed conductor Philip Brunelle returns for his 14th year with the production, along with his 44-piece Nutcracker Orchestra. Meanwhile, guest dancers Kaitlyn Gilliland, Dario Mejia, General Hambrick, Stephen Schroeder, and Matt Jenson join the MDT company and student dancers with MDT apprentice Carlie Clemmerson and guest artist Zachary Manske reprising their roles as Marie and Nutcracker. (7 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 2 p.m. Sat., 3 p.m. Sun., 7 p.m. Tue., State Theatre, 805 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls. $20-$75. 1-800-928-2787, ticketmaster.com)

Sheila Regan