Milwaukee Ballet
Press Release

Milwaukee Ballet presents 2nd annual sensory-friendly performance of The Nutcracker

Partnership with Autism Speaks and Marcus Center for the Performing Arts gives live theater option for the community

By - Oct 9th, 2017 03:00 pm
Milwaukee Ballet Company. Photo by Mark Frohna.

Milwaukee Ballet Company. Photo by Mark Frohna.

MILWAUKEE – October 9, 2017: Milwaukee Ballet is proud to host a sensory-friendly version of The Nutcracker for children and families on December 20 at 6pm at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.

This is the second year Milwaukee Ballet will offer this adapted performance in partnership with Autism Speaks and with support from Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. Last year, the performance drew hundreds of patrons, many attending the theater for the first time.

“The dancers, staff, and volunteers all found the experience to be rewarding, and the entire organization is eager to welcome these families to the theater again,” said Artistic Director Michael Pink, who choreographed the ballet.

“At its heart, The Nutcracker is a story about the magic and mayhem that happens when families gather for the holidays. We want to ensure as many families as possible can make memories with their loved ones at our performance each year,” he added.

“We are once again working closely with Autism Speaks and our long-time venue, the Marcus Center, to ensure the performance is welcoming and accessible for families,” explained Milwaukee Ballet Executive Director Julia Glawe.

“We believe in ‘ballet without boundaries’ at Milwaukee Ballet and this sensory-friendly performance promotes greater inclusion and accessibility for our community,” said Glawe.

Milwaukee Ballet made adaptations to the holiday classic to make it more comfortable for guests on the autism spectrum or with sensory processing disorders. These changes include using pre-recorded music to control the volume level, leaving the lights on, removing pyrotechnics, and designating “quiet zones.”

General Admission seating is $25. The Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, led by President & CEO Paul Mathews, is donating their box office, facilities, and ushers to support this initiative.

“This was an incredibly successful and moving experience for all of our staff last year, and we can’t wait to repeat it this December,” said Mathews.

The Nutcracker is a gift to Milwaukee from BMO Harris Bank. This is the fifth year BMO Harris Bank has sponsored the production. Milwaukee Ballet’s 2017-18 season is presented by Donna and Donald Baumgartner. Milwaukee Ballet gratefully acknowledges operational support from United Performing Arts Fund.

Ticket Information

Tickets are $25 each and are available through Milwaukee Ballet at 414-902-2103 and the Marcus Center at 414-273-7121 ext. 213. You can also buy online at with group code AUTISMSPEAKS.

About Milwaukee Ballet
Founded in 1970, Milwaukee Ballet celebrates its 48th season as a staple of Wisconsin’s arts and culture community. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Michael Pink, Milwaukee Ballet has become world-renowned for presenting both bold, new interpretations of story ballets, and cutting-edge contemporary works. Milwaukee Ballet is the home to an international company of dancers, and is one of only a few companies in the nation to maintain its own orchestra. Milwaukee Ballet School & Academy is the only professional dance school in the Midwest accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance. Milwaukee Ballet’s award-winning Community Engagement department serves more than 30,000 people in Southeastern Wisconsin through original, interactive programs. Learn more at

About Autism Speaks

Autism Speaks is the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. It is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorder; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Since its inception, Autism Speaks has committed millions of dollars to its mission, the majority in science and medical research. On the global front, Autism Speaks has established partnerships in more than 70 countries on five continents to foster international research, services and awareness. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit org.

About Marcus Center for the Performing Arts
Established in 1969, the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts is the premier performing arts community gathering space in Southeastern Wisconsin. As the Marcus Center moves into its 47th year, it continues to build bridges between diverse members of our community through high-quality arts entertainment in the region and the state. The touring Broadway series, sponsored by Associated Bank, is recognized as bringing the best of Broadway entertainment to Milwaukee for the past 20 years and provides opportunities to educate, entertain and engage audiences. The Marcus Center is also the home to the Milwaukee Symphony, Milwaukee Ballet, Florentine Opera, First Stage plus a variety of other important community and family events throughout the year. For more information about events visit the Marcus Center website at  The Marcus Center is a private non-profit 501(c) 3 corporation and is a dedicated veterans’ memorial in Milwaukee.

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