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Nutcracker Auditions

Please see form below to register for auditions. 

The Cleveland Orchestra will hold auditions for children’s dancing roles at the Idea Center at Playhouse Square (1375 Euclid Avenue) on Saturday, September 24, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. This audition is for boys and girls from any studio or dance school interested in auditioning for The Pennsylvania Ballet’s performances of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®, which is being presented by The Cleveland Orchestra.


Although a role in The Nutcracker requires a significant sacrifice of time and energy from students and parents, the experience can be very rewarding for those who are able to make the commitment. Below is a summary of the audition eligibility and requirements.  


  • AGE: between 8-15 by September 1, 2016
  • HEIGHT: minimum 46 inches/maximum 64 inches 
    Available for entire audition weekend and rehearsals in October and November 2016 
    (Rehearsals will be held primarily on Saturdays and Sundays but may also be scheduled on weekdays.  Students who are selected for the Children’s Cast will receive a detailed rehearsal and performance schedule once they confirm participation)
    Tue, 11/29: Tech Rehearsal (Ballet crew & dancers + local children without orchestra/chorus)
    Wed, 11/30: Dress Rehearsal + Performance #1 7:00 p.m.
    Thu, 12/1: Performance #2 7:00 p.m.
    Fri, 12/2: Performances #3 11:30 a.m. & #4 7:00 p.m.
    Sat, 12/3: Performance #5 2:00 p.m. & #6 7:00 p.m.
    Sun, 12/4: Performance #7 (afternoon) 2:00 p.m.


Registration Form

Frequently Asked Questions about the Nutcracker Audition Process

How early should I arrive with my child for the audition?

The doors to the Idea Center will be open at 9:30AM – you are asked not to arrive any     earlier than that.  

Will I stay with my child or drop them off? What will I do while my child is auditioning?

You will stay with your child at the Idea Center. A waiting area will be provided for          parents. There will be refreshments for sale. There are also local businesses (coffee           shops, restaurants, etc.) which will be open at the time of the audition.

Where should I park?

Playhouse Square has a parking garage located on Chester Avenue (between 13th and15th Street). There are also many surface lots in the area and possibly some street parking. Visit for more information.

What should my child wear to the audition?

Girls should wear pink tights, a solid colored leotard and their ballet slippers. Boys should wear a white t-shirt, black pants or tights and their ballet shoes.

What should we bring with us to the audition?

Something to keep yourself busy while you wait, a snack for your child and something to keep your child busy if they have to wait.

When will my child know whether she/he has a part?

Decisions about Nutcracker roles are made at the audition. Your child will leave the audition knowing whether she/he has a part.  

How long will the audition last?

The audition lasts from 4 to 5 hours, depending on the number of (and behavior of) the children attending.  Children are dismissed from the audition in waves - whenever a child is not the right size or ability for consideration for any of the remaining roles, she/he will be dismissed from the audition. It is highly unlikely that any children will leave the audition before 2:00 p.m.



9:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.:

  • Check-in, receive a number, and proceed to waiting area

10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.: Auditions

  • You will be called into the studio by number.
  • All dancers should be prepared to stay until 5:00 p.m., but some will be let go earlier.

Dancers chosen also must be available for rehearsal on Sunday, September 25 between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Who decides which children receive which roles?

All casting decisions are made by the Pennsylvania Ballet.

If my child receives a part in The Nutcracker, when will I be given his/her performance schedule so that I may buy tickets?

The performance schedule is determined by mid-November. You will still have time to purchase good seats to The Nutcracker. Playhouse Square will make special arrangements for parents to purchase their tickets. A rehearsal schedule and information packet will be mailed or handed out shortly after the audition.

When is the first rehearsal?

For some roles, the first rehearsal will be the same day as the audition. But for most roles, the first rehearsal for all roles will be Sunday, September 25th.

If I have questions about the Nutcracker audition process after my child has completed the audition, with whom should I speak?