Scene I - Christmas Eve at the Stahlbaum House
Clara, Fritz and their parents are decorating the Christmas Tree together when Uncle Drosselmeyer arrives with the children’s Christmas present. He places it beside the tree and unwraps it, revealing a large dollhouse.
Upstairs in the children´s bedroom, Uncle Drosselmeyer reads them a story about a brave Nutcracker, a beautiful Ballerina and an evil Rat.
The Nutcracker and Ballerina were in love and ruled peacefully over their Kingdom as royalty. One day, an evil Rat hoping to be king, stole the crown from The Nutcracker and froze the Ballerina. The Nutcracker was forced from his throne and exiled. According to the prophecy, he will remain in exile until the day he can defeat the Rat King in a great battle and save his Ballerina love.
While the family sleeps, Fritz sneaks downstairs to play with the dollhouse but is interrupted when two mice appear and drag him inside. Realising that her favourite doll Clärchen is still downstairs, Clara goes downstairs to find her.
The door to the dollhouse mysteriously opens, and Clara is drawn inside.
Scene II - Inside the Dollhouse
Clara’s favourite doll Clärchen and her family are celebrating Christmas together with a Christmas feast. Their celebration is interrupted when Clara suddenly appears inside the dollhouse.
On their arrival in the dollhouse, Clara immediately recognises Clärchen. Clärchen’s family begins reenacting Uncle Drosselmeyer’s bedtime story and presents Clara with a very special Christmas gift–the Ballerina’s shoes. Clärchen’s grandmother explains that the shoes will help Clara fulfil the prophecy to reunite The Nutcracker with the Ballerina. The dolls get carried away, forgetting about their guest until they find her asleep in an armchair. Retiring to bed, they leave Clara sleeping in the living room.
At the stroke of midnight, the Rat King and his loyal mice enter the Dollhouse. When Clara wakes up, she finds Clärchen’s Grandmother forcing the Ballerina's shoes into her hands and ushering her to safety outside. Clara flees into the night avoiding capture.
Scene III - The Great Battle, Underneath the Christmas Tree
As Clara runs through the darkness, she thinks she sees Fritz in the distance and runs towards him. Meanwhile, as soldiers prepare to battle the mice, they find Clara and bring her to The Nutcracker, whom she recognizes from the stories. The Nutcracker urges her to stay behind where she will be safe, but to avoid capture by the mice, she ignores his advice and follows behind them.
The Great Battle begins as the Rat King and The Nutcracker begin to fight. Clara sees that mice are holding Fritz hostage and calls out to him. The Nutcracker is momentarily distracted, allowing the Rat King to freeze him. Terrified, Clara hits the Rat King on the head with the ballerina shoes, as Fritz picks up The Nutcracker’s sword in defence. A dazed Rat King stumbles forward onto the sword and collapses.
With the battle over, Clara cradles the frozen body of The Nutcracker. Seeing her brother in shock, Clara leaves The Nutcracker’s side and rushes to him. Realising that Clara is upset too, Fritz pulls her away from The Nutcracker to comfort her.
No longer under the control of the Rat King, the remaining mice give Fritz the Rat King’s stolen crown as a peace offering. Fritz returns the crown to its rightful owner, The Nutcracker.
A flurry of snowflakes appear as Clärchen’s family tentatively begin to come outside the dollhouse. Clara and Fritz realise that they must reunite the Ballerina at the top of the Christmas Tree together with her beloved Nutcracker.
Clara, Fritz, Clärchen and the soldiers carrying The Nutcracker embark on the long journey to the top.
Scene I - The Journey Up the Christmas Tree
As they climb higher and higher, the frozen dolls on the Christmas Tree begin to come to life.
Scene II - The Top of the Christmas Tree
Arriving at the top, the travellers look around to see that they are surrounded by the dolls they passed on their way up the tree. The dolls from the Christmas tree reunite The Nutcracker with his Ballerina love and fulfill the prophecy. As The Nutcracker and the Ballerina look into each other’s eyes, the Rat King’s curse is lifted and they begin to return to normal. Their reunion is interrupted when a heavily wounded Rat King appears out of nowhere. Seeing his curse now broken, the Rat King realises the dolls of the kingdom no longer fear him and tries to steal the crown one last time before collapsing on the ground.
With peace in the kingdom finally assured, the Ballerina begins the celebration of the dolls’ freedom. The dolls from the kingdom take turns dancing for Clara, Fritz and Clärchen. As the revelry continues, the snowflakes magically blossom into flowers. With their kingdom in full bloom, The Nutcracker and Ballerina return to their place on the top of the tree together.
Scene III - Christmas Morning at the Stahlbaum House
Clara and Frits wake up beside their new dollhouse. At the top of the tree, the Ballerina and The Nutcracker now stand together, where they will regin over their kingdom forever.