Pacific Symphony logo

Press Release


Jean Oelrich
Director of Communications
(714) 876-2380

Pacific Symphony Brings The Music Of Classic Christmas Tale To Life For Annual "Nutcracker For Kids" Concert

Orange County, CA — November 13, 2018

Come join Pacific Symphony for a special treat this Christmas season, the “Nutcracker for Kids!” Conducted by Music Director of Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra, Roger Kaila, this concert will include an assortment of sweet selections from Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker;” ballerinas from Orange County’s acclaimed ballet company, Festival Ballet Theatre; actor James McHale; a grande finale sing-a-long; and a visit from the jolly man himself—Santa Claus! Performances for “The Nutcracker of Kids” will be on Dec. 8 at 10am or 11:30am at Pacific Symphony’s winter home, Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa.

This concert is a part of the 2018-19 “Family Musical Mornings” series that consists of five, 45- minute concerts, designed for children aged 5-11 presented by Farmers and Merchants Bank. At each concert there is a “musical carnival” that encourages children to “test drive” instruments, interact with members of the Pacific Symphony and Pacific Youth Orchestra Ensembles and participate in themed crafts. Activities start at 9 a.m. for 10 a.m. concertgoers and 12:15 p.m. for 11:30 a.m. concertgoers. The remaining concerts in the series include “The Magic Flute—Opera for Kids” on January 12, “Lunar New Year for Kids” on Feb. 9 and “Intergalactic Adventures” on April 13. Packages for the series range from $48-$147 with a choice of a time and a second option for seating.  Individual tickets for “Nutcracker for Kids” range from $45-$76. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (714) 755-5799 or visit

Actor James McHale has performed with Pacific Symphony on previous family concert, “King Arthur and the Dragon’s Lair” and wrote and directed for Pacific Symphony’s Class Act Youth Concert, “Beethoven: Trials to Triumph.” He graduated from Cal State University, Long Beach with a B.A. in Theater Arts Performance and studied at the Michael Chekhov Association and The Actor’s Center, based in New York City. As a resident artist at the Chance Theatre in Anaheim, McHale has appeared in “In a World” and “Middletown,” in which he won “Outstanding Performance” for a leading role for the 2017 Stage Scene LA Award. He is also known playing the title role in “Hamlet,” “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead,” “Dogfight,” “Samsara,” “Maple and Vine” and “The Laramie Project.” His recent credits include the musical “Once” at the Lamb’s Players Theatre and “Much Ado About Nothing” at The Old Globe in San Diego.

Festival Ballet Theatre is a professional ballet company lead by Salwa Rizkalla. Founded in 1988, the company is comprised of professional and international dancers  that presents both classical and contemporary works including “The Nutcracker, “Coppelia,” “Don Quixote,” “Giselle,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “Swan Lake,” “Secret Garden,” “Alice In Wonderland,” “Midsummer’s Night Dream” and “The Firebird.” Throughout their seasons, the Festival Ballet Theatre puts on free dance performances among an array of venues such as libraries, school and museums in order to diversify and bring dance to everyone. In 2001, Festival Ballet Theatre won the Outstanding Arts Organization of the Year by Arts Orange County and in 2014 presented Rizkalla with the Helena Modjeska Cultural Legacy Award.  


# # #