In the News

Welcome to our little corner of fame!  Thank you to the kind members of the press, both locally and nationally that have taken an interest in our show to help us grow over the last 18 years.  We are Boston’s Nutcracker and the original “hip hop nutcracker for the holidays!” Thank you! – Tony

If you are a member of the press and wish to contact us about our show please email our Public Relations Director, Stephanie Janes at

or Dustin Rennells, Operations Manager for logistical information.

The Boston Globe, November 2019

When Anthony Williams’s “Urban Nutcracker” bursts onto the stage of the Boch Center Shubert Theatre Dec. 19-28, the semi-professional production by his City Ballet of Boston will be enlivened by a passel of 75 kids in all shapes and sizes and from varied cultural backgrounds. A contemporary, multicultural version of the holiday dance classic set in the city of Boston, “Urban Nutcracker” embraces not just ballet, but styles ranging from street dance and tap to flamenco, and it’s less about the perfect arabesque than the spirit of inclusion and community.

“I’m trying to reflect the city as we see it today, its true diversity,” says Williams, who created the show 19 years ago. “In most of the downtown theaters, you hardly see that diversity in the audience or onstage. We have diversity of cast, of music — Duke Ellington along with the Tchaikovsky — different dance traditions, and the diversity of the audience.” (Through the Boch Center’s ticket access program with the sponsorship of Adage Capital, the production is providing 3,000 free tickets to underprivileged Boston area children and their families.)

Read More

Metro West Daily News, November 2019

15. The backdrop for Anthony Williams’ “Urban Nutcracker” is modern-day Boston, and the show blends the classic music of Tchaikovsky with that of Duke Ellington. Set to music performed by a small live orchestra, “Urban Nutcracker” is anchored by classical ballet and performed with more than 150 child and professional dancers from the Tony Williams Dance Center in Jamaica Plain as well from a national casting call and guest artists. Combining tap and hip-hop in an urban-inspired mash-up, Williams, a former Boston Ballet dancer, tweaks the story and the characters each year. Dec. 19-28 at the Boch Center Shubert Theater, 265 Tremont St., Boston.

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Avon Wicked Local, November 2019

Seeing a holiday show is as much a part of the holiday season as carols and cookies, and this year’s lineup has some enchanting choices.

The backdrop for Anthony Williams’ “Urban Nutcracker” is modern-day Boston, and the show blends the classic swells of Tchaikovsky with the rat-a-tat-tat of Duke Ellington. Set to music performed by a small live orchestra, “Urban Nutcracker” is anchored by classical ballet and performed with more than 150 child and professional dancers from the Tony Williams Dance Center in Jamaica Plain as well from a national casting call and guest artists. Norwell native Juliet Brown dances the lead role of Ruby, on pointe. Combining tap and hip-hop in an urban-inspired mash-up, Williams, a former Boston Ballet dancer, tweaks the story and the characters each year. Dec. 19-28 at the Boch Center Shubert Theater, Boston;

Read More

Sampan, November 2019

Boston Family Fun Day and Tree Lighting event on Friday, November 29th at Macy’s Downtown Boston.

5:15 pm – TheUrban Nutcracker will perform select acts from their version of The Nutcracker.

Read More

Broadway World, November 2019

Anthony Williams‘ Urban Nutcracker, the modern Boston-centric holiday classic, celebrates its 19th season this December. The performances at the historic Boch Center Shubert Theatre allow theatregoers an opportunity to experience what The Boston Globe has deemed “a holiday arts tradition reflecting the rich multicultural diversity of Boston.”

Read More



Urban Nutcracker Auditions
Sunday, September 9, 2018
Adults: 10:30am to 1:00pm
Youth 12+: 1:30pm to 3:00pm
Youth 8-11: 3:00pm to 4:30pm
Tony Williams Dance Center
*As always, our auditions are open to the ENTIRE CITY OF BOSTON and surrounding areas.
*Our mission is diversity through dance, and our goal is to cast our show with the most talented, and widely diverse dancers our community has to offer.
*All dancers must have previous dance training.
*Great opportunities for students who are proficient en pointe.
*Not all dancers will be cast.
*If your child is turning 8 BEFORE December 20, 2018, they are eligible to audition. If they turn 8 after December 20, they are not eligible to audition this year.
*Adult dancers must be classically ballet trained, and women must be pointe proficient.
*Adults: Some tap and hip hop roles will be cast without pointe work auditions. Please note this on your audition forms.
Tony Williams’ Urban Nutcracker 2018 is produced by City Ballet of Boston, a new professional ballet company. To learn more please visit their or to learn more about the Urban Nutcracker’s 18th season, please
This is your chance to join one of Boston’s largest holiday theatrical experiences, what audiences call, “Boston’s Nutcracker,” and “hip hop holiday fun.”
This year our production is at the Boch Center Shubert Theatre in Boston’s historic theatre district. To that end, our dancers must represent that.
*Show dates are December 20-30, 2018.
*Tech dates are the two weeks prior to that, you will be called most evenings that week.
*Rehearsals for adults are held during the day Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and on weekends on Sunday (and occasional Saturdays).
*Youth Dancers are called Saturdays and/or Sundays depending on which scenes they are cast in.
*Rehearsals begin September 15, 2018.
Audition Fee:
The $25 audition fee (youths only) may be paid by cash (correct change) or credit card at auditions.
Audition Attire:
Girls: Leotard, tights, ballet slippers (pointe shoes for those with training en pointe), hair in a slicked back bun, headband if needed for bangs.
Boys: slim T-shirt, boys tights, ballet slippers (white shoes preferred), hair slicked back or in headband.
Adults: professional leotard, tights, slippers, pointe shoes. Men in slim shirt, tights, ballet slippers.
CBB’s Tony Williams’ Urban Nutcreacker is a professional production and requires a serious commitment on the part of all of our young dancers and their families to attend all rehearsals. Rehearsals run September-December – mostly on weekends – in Jamaica Plain, MA.
You will still need to fill out a full audition form on site, but this will hold your spot for auditions. Youths and Adults must pre-register.
We ask that your arrive to the audition 15 minutes early to review your paperwork and pay your $25 registration fee.
Participation Fees:
No one is charged a participation fee, but your child may be cast in a scene that requires specific costuming such as black sneakers, or nude jazz shoes. Or a nude leotard to wear under costumes, etc. All children will need correct tights and slippers. So there is a small monetary investment in addition to your audition fee, but it is minimal.
What to expect:
Adults: a full class (1.25 hours) fifteen minute break, one hour minimum of choreography. You may be asked to stay or to come back another day, or to leave early. None of this should indicate casting or not being cast.
Youth: You will have a 30-45 minute class followed by up to one hour of choreography/technique.
Additional Questions?
Call 617.524.3066 or email

Urban Nutcracker 2018 Poster

For immediate release

Anthony Williams’ Urban Nutcracker to move to the
Boch Center Shubert Theatre in December 2018

Download Photos

(Boston—May 14, 2018) Anthony Williams’ Urban Nutcracker, the modern Boston-centric holiday
classic, will celebrate its 18th annual season with an exciting venue move to the Boch Center Shubert
Theatre. The move to the historic Shubert Theatre will allow even more Bostonians an opportunity to
experience what The Boston Globe has deemed “a holiday arts tradition reflecting the rich multicultural
diversity of Boston.”

The performances, December 20-30, 2018, will showcase winter scenes set in present-day downtown
Boston, blending the rhythms of Duke Ellington with the classical music of Tchaikovsky. Anchored by
classical ballet, the performances also include a broad range of dance forms such as tap, hip hop,
flamenco, and jazz, accompanied throughout the performance by a small live orchestra, a first for Urban

Over 150 child and professional adult dancers cast from a national open call, from the Tony Williams Dance
Center in Jamaica Plain, and international guest artists will bring the Urban Nutcracker to life. Every
season offers new and exciting updates, and dancers and additional announcements will be made in fall

Tony Williams says, “I am thrilled to bring my Urban Nutcracker to the Boch Center Shubert Theatre for
this year’s performances. Our partnership will allow even more Bostonians to experience our mission,
“diversity through dance.” I can’t think of a better way to expand and enhance the experience of live
dance for our audiences, and the Boch Center is the perfect venue partner to help us achieve our goals.”
President and Chief Executive Officer of the Boch Center, Josiah A. Spaulding, Jr., says, “We are truly
excited to partner with a fellow arts non-profit as we welcome Anthony Williams’ Urban Nutcracker to the
Shubert Theatre this December. This homegrown show has become a holiday classic and we look
forward to introducing new audience members to the magic of the Urban Nutcracker.”

More Information:
Urban Nutcracker will play the Boch Center Shubert Theatre for 12 performances from December 20-30,
2018. Tickets go on sale to the general public on Friday, May 11 at 10:00AM and will be available at the
Boch Center Box Office,, or by calling (866) 348-9738. Groups of 10 or more may reserve
discounted tickets now by contacting Boch Center Group Sales at (617) 532-1116 or

Ticket Prices: $28-$118 (inclusive of $3 facility fee)

Praise for Urban Nutcracker:
“When Drosselmeyer’s magic whisks Clarice off to the Boston Common, the Snow Queen and Snow King
usher in a lovely, eye-catching sequence of dancing snowflakes that is well-crafted and skillfully danced.”
-The Boston Globe

“[Urban Nutcracker] continues to defy tradition while solidifying itself as a local holiday icon…You’ll find a
menagerie of bright colors, modern dance, and a swinging score.”
– WGBH, Open Studio with Jared Bowen

“A modern take on the classic 19th century ballet.”
– NBC Boston

“Hip-hop holiday fun… [with] enthusiasm and a sense of inclusive community onstage.”
-The Boston Globe

“The Tony Williams Urban Nutcracker has become a staple in Boston during the holiday season”
– Huffington Post

“The quintessential show of the holiday season.”
– The Patriot Ledger

About Urban Nutcracker and Tony Williams
The Urban Nutcracker celebrates multicultural Boston through a broad range of diverse dance styles.
Produced by the Tony Williams Dance Center, the Urban Nutcracker harnesses the power the arts to
unite diverse communities to be a catalyst for positive social change. Leading sponsor of Urban
Nutcracker is Adage Capital.

Tony Williams is a dance pioneer and retired international ballet star. Williams’ dance philosophy uses the
arts to unite diverse communities in Boston, having had direct experience on how transformative the arts
can be on young lives. As a young man, he gained access to Boston Ballet’s dance program and
progressed to become a principal dancer. From there he danced with the Joffery Ballet, Royal Winnipeg
Ballet, and performed all over the world. When Williams retired, he returned to his hometown of Jamaica
Plain, where it all began, and opened a dance school. Not long after, he created the beloved Urban
Nutcracker which annually enjoys a successful run in downtown Boston. Widely respected as a
progressive dance educator, Williams has won the 2011 Dance Teacher Magazine Award and the 2008
Wheelock Family Theater’s Wheel Award alongside Jacques d’Amboise.

About the Boch Center
The Boch Center is one of the nation’s leading nonprofit performing arts institutions and a guardian of the
historic Wang and Shubert Theatres. As New England’s largest cultural venue, the Boch Center is home
to theater, classical and popular music, dance, comedy, opera, Broadway musicals, family entertainment,
and more.

Located in Boston’s historic Theater District, the Boch Center also offers a diverse mix of educational and
community outreach initiatives, including the City Spotlights Leadership Program and ArtWeek;
collaborates with artists and local nonprofit arts organizations; preserves historic venues; and acts as a
champion for Greater Boston’s arts and cultural community. Learn more at
Instagram @urbannutcracker
Press Contact for Urban Nutcracker: Stephanie Janes, 617-419-0445,
Press Contact for the Boch Center: Michelle Chapman, 617-532-1210,

article 1

The Nutcracker and his crew of toy soldiers are back to fight the ruthless Rat King, but this time around, they are protecting a young city girl named Clarice. It’s not the traditional version of the beloved holiday production, but since its premiere in 2001, “Urban Nutcracker” has become a modern-day classic in Boston. Read More from WBUR 2017

Urban Nutcracker: Anatomy of a Ballet, Teaser Trailer

tap city 2016

The Tony Williams Urban Nutcracker has become a staple in Boston during the holiday season because it provides the opportunity for audience members of all races and ethnicities “to see people who look like them on stage,” Williams says.  “If you go backstage during the performances, it looks like a traffic jam. But all the kids know their roles and their entrances. I don’t know how we get the trains running on time, but we do. How often can you come to a show that’s transformative, not just for the audience but for the performers? That’s what the Urban Nutcracker is all about.”

Read More from Huffington Post, 2017

NBC Feature

Tony Williams, the founder of the performance and owner of the Tony Williams Dance Center, combined ballet, urban tap, hip hop, swing, flamenco, step, and jazz into this original performance.

Williams compared his version of the classic ballet to, “a stew.”

“You’ll see the traditional with the contemporary, sort of like a big stew, it’s sort of all put together…and I’m always experimenting with the spices,”

Read More from NBC News

Open Studios WGBH 2016

Urban Nutcracker on WGBH Open Studios with Jared Bowen 2016

article 2

‘Urban Nutcracker’ brings healing, heart and soul to the holiday season

In its 16th season, Tony Williams’ Boston-centric dance production takes aim at those in need of a postelection distraction. Read More from the Metro 2016

Red Shutters

The Urban Nutcracker has something for everyone (including Fenway Park for New England sports lovers), which is what makes the two-hour show such fun. The mix of music and types of dance knit together an accessible, joyful performance. Joyful really is the word to describe the show; there was an energy that emanated from the cast that cheered the audience and reminded me how important it is for us to find space in our lives for creativity. Read more from the Red Shutters Blog


The LGBT show allows the company to have some fun, drawing inspiration from the Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, the legendary, all-male comic ballet company Williams has worked with in the past and which combines classical ballet with camp. Last year, for instance,  the intimate “Arabian Nights” segment of “Urban Nutcracker” was danced by two male dancers including Rick Vigo who, says, Rennells, “performed a stunning showcase. It was so beautiful; it was my favorite part of the show last year.” Read more on Boston Spirit

Urban Nutcracker Mommy Poppins

 The atmosphere is relaxed, the variety of dance styles keeps young children engaged, and the diverse cast is full of kids who young audience members can connect to. Best of all, the Urban Nutcracker makes going to the ballet fun. Here are the top ten reasons I recommend taking kids to see the Urban Nutcracker, plus a few tips for getting the most out of the experience.

1. One-of-a-kind. From the moment the Doo-wop singers start down the aisles,

Read more on Mommy Poppins


Urban Nutcracker will also honor the iconic story of Make Way For Ducklings, written and illustrated in 1941 by Robert McCloskey. The production will partner with the Boston Police Department to invite an officer to play the role of “Officer Michael” at each performance. Representing a variety of neighborhoods and towns within Greater Boston, “Officer Michael” will lead the ducks, dancers ages 7-10, in their procession across the stage.

Russian ballerina Kseniya Melyukhina will dance the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy, and former Boston Ballet and Dance Theatre of Harlem dancer, Erika Lambe, will play Clarice’s mother. Read more from Sampan


BOSTON – Just as the first notes of the overture to Tchaikovsky’s score for “The Nutcracker” fill John Hancock Hall, a hip-hop dancer climbs over the railing from the orchestra pit. Followed by two buddies, he leads the way onto the stage where the curtain opens on a street scene in Boston. The contrast between the 19th century music and the dudes dressed in street clothes and rocking their limbs and bodies as if they were dancing on a corner in the neighborhood is guaranteed to put a grin on the face of everyone in the audience. Read more from the Boston Herald


An Urban Nutcracker Transcending Race, Gender, Sexuality, Autism, You Name It…

Read more from Huffington Post

“The dancing is superb. ” 

“Tony Williams’s 14th edition of the street smart Urban Nutcracker soars aesthetically and satisfies emotionally.

The eye popping and heart lifting dancing from classical ballet and swing to krump and tap, the sweet mix of Tchaikovsky’s beloved score for ballet with swing orchestration from the great Duke Ellington and his orchestra, the silly jokes and belly- laughs and the solemn parts that tug at the heart and bring a tear or two.”The Edge

“But the moment the curtain rose on Boston dance guru Tony Williams’s 13th season of the “Urban Nutcracker,” I got it. The scene wasn’t some snowy, woodsy setting that could just as easily have been a backdrop for a Lexus December to Remember TV commercial. It was a street corner, with a park bench, a vendor, and apartment buildings in the background. There was a different kind of energy, one not at all driven by the powerful music of an orchestra but by the excitement of the people on that corner.” — Boston Globe

“Williams gets more savvy in providing surprises in “Urban Nutcracker” year after year. In response, his audiences grow in number, appreciating this excellent addition to the holiday stage treats.” — Patriot Ledger

“A Nutcracker with real soul” — Boston Metro

Urban Nutcracker featured on ABC Nightly on 12.23.2011. Urban Nutcracker is featured 6 minutes into the clip and after the advertisement.

Chronicle 2

Urban Nutcracker on Chronicle 2013

MasTv 2012

Urban Nutcracker on Mas TV 2012


Jamaica Plain: Out of the Projects (Dancing out of Danger)

Tony Williams, director of the Urban Nutcracker, talks about his rise from the Bromley-Heath project to an international ballet star on Chronicle, 2014.


Read more from El Mundo


Read more from Edge Media Network


In honor of our LGBT friends and family, this special performance will feature local LGBT groups, performers and supporters. This truly revolutionary performance is an extension of Urban Nutcracker’s dedication to Equality and every member of our diverse community.

Urban Nutcracker Comes OUT! will feature La Cage aux Follesperformers and Massachusetts natives, Matt Anctil and Todd Lattimore! Read More from Bay Windows 


“It’s the only show of its kind,” he said. Williams said the show is a full-scale production that competes with the big-time producers in the Boston. Not only does his ballet show have diversity, so to does Williams’ life. Read more from JP Gazette

Holidays in JP: ‘Urban Nutcracker’ brings diversity to holiday

Williams said he was a lost 13-year-old kid who was in a youth street gang, getting into trouble and fights. He began taking the trolley from Centre Street downtown to the Boston Young Men’s Christian Union, similar to a YMCA, where he lifted weights and did gymnastics.

–JP Gazette