A production of the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band logo in black

Dance-Along Nutcracker takes a spooky turn!

Clara and Fritz have only ever known Christmas Town, but one Christmas Eve, when their Uncle visits from Halloween Town, they decide to sneak away and investigate Halloween Town for themselves. Join them to meet several spooky denizens and of course learn some important life lessons along the way!

You’ll waltz! You’ll march! You’ll pirouette! You’ll sing along! Through it all, you’ll enjoy music from The Nutcracker ballet, performed live by the 75-piece San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band, the Official Band of San Francisco!

Part comedy musical, part dance-it-yourself ballet, and part symphonic concert, the Dance-Along Nutcracker features the holiday fun and tradition you’ve come to expect from this San Francisco favorite.

Learn about health & safety at the show

Visitors to Yerba Buena Center for the Arts must comply with the health and safety requirements which are summarized below, but could change depending on local health conditions.

Masks are strongly recommended but not required while indoors. Proof of vaccination or a negative test are not required to enter, but in conjunction with SFDPH, YBCA encourages everyone to get vaccinated and boosted for their own health and for the well-being of the community.

The San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band takes Covid-19 seriously. For more information, see the band’s full Health & Safety Plan.

Get Tickets

Reserve your spot on the guest list by purchasing tickets below! There are four identical showings at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Forum (701 Mission St, SF): Saturday, December 16 at 3pm & 7pm, Sunday, December 17 at 11am & 3pm.

If you have a promo/coupon code, you can enter it later during checkout.

Having trouble with the ticketing application above? Visit the standalone ticketing site.

Interested in becoming a sponsor? Download our Sponsorship Packet for more information.

Special Thanks to Our 2023 Sponsors

Event Sponsors

Michael L. Mehr

Morgan Lewis logo

Phillip & Karen Moss

Karen Kyi

Jerry & Ken Patterson

Moira Wilmes & Denni Harp

Sally Canjura-Clayton

Ian & Zanne Gerrard

Krista Hennig

In memory of Joseph Ilos

Doug Litwin

Joel Shapiro

Mike Wong and Kevin Tam

Media Sponsors

San Francisco Bay Times logo in gray
San Francisco Bay Times logo in color
San Francisco Bay Times logo in color
Betty's List logo in gray
Betty's List logo in color
Betty's List logo in color

Grant Funding From

Grants for the Arts logo in gray
Grants for the Arts logo in color
Grants for the Arts logo in color
Horizons Foundation logo in gray
Horizons Foundation logo in color
Horizons Foundation logo in color

Interested in becoming a sponsor? Download our Sponsorship Packet for more information.

Performers & Cast

SF Lesbian/Gay Freedom Marching Band at SF Pride Parade 2019

San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band

Founded in 1978 by Jon Sims at the height of Anita Bryant’s anti-gay crusade and credited as the first openly-gay music organization in the world, the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band has inspired the formation of many LGBTQ+ choruses and performing troupes world-wide. Named the “Official Band of San Francisco” in 2018, the band has promoted visibility and built understanding between gay and non-gay communities through public musical performances for 45 years.

Each year, the band presents its award-winning Community Concert Series, its beloved fun-filled holiday production, Dance-Along Nutcracker, and performs at numerous parades and civic events throughout the Bay Area, with Artistic Directors Pete Nowlen and Mike Wong.

Learn more about the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band

Alix Feinsod headshot

Alix Feinsod

as Clara

Alix is a performer and teacher based in Oakland. Alix has been performing in musicals around the Bay Area all her life with Stagedoor, YMTC, The Marsh, and The Thrillpeddlers. She has also written and directed plays with her students. In past years, Alix designed costumes for the Magic Theater and other companies.

She is so excited to be in her fourth Dance-Along Nutcracker!

Evan Kaminsky headshot

Evan Kaminsky

as Drosselmeyer

When Evan Kaminsky was in the closet, he found some fabulous things that he refused to leave without. Among these trinkets were an eye for all things beauty, meticulous skills, art, design, an ability to put people at ease and a talent to sing, act and entertain. With his gifts, some charisma, and great comic timing, Evan has been acting on stage and screen for the past 30 years. By day Evan is San Francisco’s Beauty and Grooming Guru and owner of Oui, Three Queens Productions where he provides expert Makeup Artistry, Skin Care, Waxing, Grooming and Wedding services to Every Gender, Every Body and Everybody!

This is Evan’s fourth Dance-Along Nutcracker and he’s excited to to be back this season working with friends and family!

Zelda Koznofski headshot

Zelda Koznofski

as Sugar Plum Fairy

Zelda is a singer/composer/actor. Zelda records and releases original music as well as scores for original film and stage productions with band Gelb Rot Blau and performs at SF’s premier nightclub Oasis in drag parodies and musicals. Favorite roles include Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy in Star Trek Live, Giles in Buffy Live: Once More With Feeling, Judy Garland in Tuck’n’ Roll Players’ Club.

Actor Cameron Eng headshot

Cameron Eng

as Mummy

Cameron Eng has been a producer, designer and performer in the Bay Area for 25+ years, known for his work in theater, film and theatrical events with countless local companies from grass roots, drag activism, to screen-to-the-stage adaptations from his company Foul Play, to the racy grand guignol of the Thrillpeddlers, and the musical machinations of Drunk Drag Broadway.

The Dance-Along Nutcracker has a deeply special place in his heart, and thanks the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band for this opportunity to return. He owes everything to his brilliant husband and partner in crime of 25 years, Terrance Alan.

Ryan Vasquez headshot

Ryan Vásquez

as Fritz

Ryan Vásquez is a San Francisco-based singer and actor most recently seen as Ernst in Ray of Light Theatre’s Spring Awakening at the Victoria Theatre. A Central Coast native, Ryan has called San Francisco home for over ten years — a decade spent collaborating with NCTC, Ray of Light, and Brava Theater, and completing a BFA in Acting at AAU. Past shows include Hair (Claude), Silence! the Musical (Lamb), Legally Blonde (Emmett), The Rocky Horror Show (Riff-Raff), Claudio in both Measure for Measure and Much Ado About Nothing, and the title role in Aladdin.

Toni Lynn Guidry headshot

Toni Lynn Guidry

as Mrs. Stahlbaum

No stranger to holiday musicals, favorite roles include Christopher (Christmas with the Crawfords – WA), Denise (Sanders Family Christmas – LA), and multiple young audience tours of The Elves and the Shoemaker with California Theatre Center. She has also stage managed her way around the Bay with 42nd Street Moon, Crowded Fire, Cutting Ball Theater, and is the production manager at New Conservatory Theatre Center, SF. Toni originally hails from South Louisiana.

This is Toni’s first Dance-Along Nutcracker.

Marilyn Fowler headshot

Marilynn Fowler


Marilynn Fowler returns for her seventh season with the Dance-Along Nutcracker. She began dancing simultaneously with Page Hodel’s Box Dance Troupe and Voice Farm’s Oblong Rhonda. Her choreography credits include The Cool Ones, Way Out West, Hillbillies on the Moon, Rocky Horror Superstar, Rocket Girl, License to Kiss, The Untamed Stage, Club Inferno, and Cyberotica. She has worked with the Sick & Twisted Players, the Tuck & Roll Players, Artfull Circle Theatre, Teatro Zinzanni, the Thrillpeddlers, and countless drag luminaries.

Her dance inspirations are James Brown and Ann-Margret.

Allen Sawyer headshot

Allen Sawyer

Cast Director

Allen Sawyer, is a San Francisco-based playwright and director. He began his theatre career at the legendary Valencia Rose and also performed stand up at the Rose’s revolutionary Gay Comedy Open Mic.

Collaborating with John F. Karr, Sawyer created several musicals at Theatre Rhinoceros, notably Talking to the Sun, Dirty Dreams of a Clean Cut Kid, and Some Men Do. With the ArtFul Circle Theatre Sawyer helmed Jungle Red, Those Damn Calla Lilies, Christmas with the Crawfords, Way Out West, and Women’s Prison Christmas. He wrote and directed Gross Indulgences: The Trials of Liberace and Whatever Happened to Sister George. For his troupe the Hot Pants Homo Players, Sawyer penned a trilogy of plays, inspired by pulp paperbacks.

Sawyer has directed shows at Theatre Rhinoceros, The New Conservatory Theatre Center, Feinstein’s at The Nikko, and many other San Francisco venues. This is his third Dance Along Nutcracker.

Artistic director Pete Nowlen wearing a rainbow tie

Pete Nowlen

Artistic Director

Appointed Artistic Director of the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band in August 2013, Pete Nowlen is one of Northern California’s busiest musicians. He is the founder and driving force behind Sacramento’s VITA Academy, dedicated to revitalizing classical music through innovative community and audience engagement and school music programs. Other conducting credits includes the Sacramento, Auburn, Camellia, UCD and CSUS Symphonies and more than a dozen major productions ranging from La bohéme to The Rocky Horror Show.

Pete was a member of the French horn section of the Sacramento Symphony for 10 years. He has performed with the San Francisco Symphony, Opera, and Ballet Orchestras, served as co-principal hornist of the International Orchestra of Italy, and has been a prize winner and finalist in international solo competitions.

John Lehrack headshot

John Lehrack

Music Director

John Lehrack is joining the Dance-Along Nutcracker artistic team for the first time in 2023. He has been the Event Production Manager for the Band since 2022. John has been working as a professional music educator, performer, manager, conductor, composer, arranger, and small business owner for over 30 years in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Seattle, Honolulu, Miami, and New York. He currently serves as the Music Director for the Speakeasy SF, Artistic Director for both Coastside Pride Chorus and Na Leo Nahenahe, Director of Music at Coastside Lutheran Church, and keeps an active teaching and performance schedule. His arrangements and compositions can be found on SheetMusicPlus.com and Amazon.

Todd Young headshot

Todd Young

Art Props

Todd Young is a masterful fabricator renowned for his exceptional work in crafting one-of-a-kind props and set pieces for the “Dance-Along Nutcracker,” where he has been an integral part of the production for several years. His artistic prowess extends beyond the dance floor, as Todd is the creative force behind the monthly “Security Gate” installation at 220 Page Street. This ongoing project has amassed an impressive collection of over 100 installations, showcasing Todd’s ability to transform spaces into captivating visual experiences. Recognized for his artistic contributions, Todd holds the esteemed position of number 23 on the list of “23 Extraordinary Things to Do in SF’s Hayes Valley” by Secret San Francisco. To catch a glimpse of his artistic journey and latest creations, enthusiasts can follow him on Instagram under the username @thegateguysf. Todd Young’s imaginative touch continues to leave a lasting impression on the vibrant arts and culture scene in San Francisco.

Raphael Buenaventura headshot

Raphael Buenaventura

Stage Manager

Raphael Buenaventura is honored to rejoin the Production Team in its annual production of Dance-Along Nutcracker after having first stage-managed its return last year. Raphael is a Los-Angeles transplant, having recently relocated to the Bay Area in August 2022. His previous acting work in Los Angeles include La Cage Aux Folles at The Long Beach Playhouse, Ben & George in The Hollywood Fringe Festival, and Kenny in Fil-Am (2022), a short film directed by Tony Marquez, produced by VisionRey. Since moving to the Bay, he resumed involvement in theatre through stage and production management, working with Crescent Moon Theatre Productions, San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band, Sarah Bush Dance Project, Left Coast Theatre Company, Fuse Theatre, and currently with Phoenix Arts. His most recent acting work include a staged-reading with Theatre Rhinoceros and a stage performance with Bindlestiff Studio’s Queer as F*ck. When not juggling with work, Raphael spends his time with his 10-year old puppy, Trixie, who has been a long-time constant in his life. E-mail Raphael for work and collaborations: rsd.buenaventura@gmail.com

What is Dance-Along Nutcracker?

Dance-Along Nutcracker is a magical holiday event that reimagines Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet in an entirely refreshing way!

Each year, the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band brilliantly infuses The Nutcracker ballet with a delightful theme, resulting in a captivating original musical production filled with humor, creativity, and artistic flair. The talented ensemble not only sings and dances through a parody version of the Nutcracker but also encourages the audience to actively participate. When the “Dance Along!” cue appears, attendees are invited to get on their feet, don their tutus and join the cast in a lively sashay. Even those who prefer to watch have an absolute blast!

Experience the joy and excitement of Dance-Along Nutcracker, a one-of-a-kind celebration that combines entertainment and audience participation for an unforgettable holiday experience for the whole family.

Kids dancing and having fun under the disco ball at the Dance-Along Nutcracker
Trumpet section in costume as the Weasley family from 2018’s Dance-Along Nutcracker
Clara and Fritz discuss all the exciting things they'll learn at Fogwarts Academy from 2018’s Dance-Along Nutcracker

See What Others Are Saying About the Show!

Inspired foolishness, tomfoolery on a grand and witty scale!

C.W. NeviusSan Francisco Chronicle

It’s fun, it’s affordable and it’s uniquely San Francisco. This isn’t your grandma’s stuffy old Nutcracker…

Traci VaughnMilk + Fog

One of the city’s most delightfully idiosyncratic events.

Wall Street Journal

Oh my God – it’s the best thing in the world! It’s the best holiday event there is!

Dance-Along Nutcracker Attendee since 1998

I’m gonna tell my friends that I went to the Nutcracker and it’s not embarrassing at all to wear a tutu as a boy!

Dance-Along Nutcracker Attendee7-years old

Beautifully unexpected and witty!

Dance-Along Nutcracker Attendee

Thank you for an amazing afternoon and a new family tradition.

Dance-Along Nutcracker Attendee

What to Expect at Dance-Along Nutcracker?

Music treble clef

Live music from the classic Nutcracker Suite, plus many more fun tunes performed by the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band!

Theatre masks laughing and crying

An original musical theatre show performed by a talented cast of actors and dancers, featuring parody songs from famous musicals!

Silhouettes of people dancing holding hands

A chance to be part of the show when you put on your tutu and pirouette under the mirror ball to Tchaikovsky’s classic The Nutcracker ballet!

A family sits in the front row watching the Dance-Along Nutcracker actors perform

For Families


It’s the perfect first live-music concert, especially for those kids who might not be able to sit still through a traditional Nutcracker ballet performance.

For Adults


It’s the best way to feel like a kid again, as you tug on a tutu and twirl to the ‘Waltz of the Flowers’, or just people-watch!

Adults wearing tutus are having fun at the Dance-Along Nutcracker
Audience members of all ages dancing to the Nutcracker Suite ballet music

For Everyone


It’s a fun and uniquely San Francisco way to ring in the holiday season with friends and family!

Photo Gallery

The band silly pose at the 2022 Dance-Along Nutcracker 2022
Audience participation at the 2022 Dance-Along Nutcracker
The Band marches in at the 2022 Dance-Along Nutcracker
Father dancing with child at the 2022 Dance-Along Nutcracker
The cast marches down the center aisle at the 2022 Dance-Along Nutcracker
San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band kicks off the Dance-Along Nutcracker show with the opening overture
The ballerina points the way to the buried treasure in 2017 Dance-Along Nutcracker: Nutcrackers of the Caribbean
Ballerina teaches a group of children a ballet dance
Evil Voldemouse sings about taking funding away from Fogwarts music program in 2018 Dance-Along Nutcracker: Clara Potter and the Elder Baton
Happy children dancing at the 2018 Dance-Along Nutcracker
A young audience member waits patiently for the Dance-Along Nutcracker show to begin
Clara and Fritz discuss all the exciting things they'll learn at Fogwarts Academy from 2018’s Dance-Along Nutcracker
Dancer spins a hula hoop on one arm while waving a magic wand with the other at 2018 Dance-Along Nutcracker: Clara Potter and the Elder Baton
Children with streamers dance to a Nutcracker Suite song
The final musical number with the full cast and dancers from the 2015 Dance-Along Nutcracker: Nutcrackers of Oz
Boy smiles for the camera while dancing to Nutcracker Suite music
The band poses for a group photo in full costume showing off their Dance-Along Nutcracker spirit
Show's cast dressed as life-size candy, soda, popcorn and a hot dog come out singing and dancing
The band kicks off the 2015 Dance-Along Nutcracker with the show overture
Adults wearing tutus dance to the Nutcracker Suite music being played live by the band
The cast laughs and yells out "Everyone knows there's no treasure on Treasure Island!" at 2017 Dance-Along Nutcracker: Nutcrackers of the Caribbean
A young guest conductor stands on a chair and keeps the band playing perfectly in time
Trumpet section in costume as the Weasley family from 2018’s Dance-Along Nutcracker

Show History

This zany San Francisco holiday tradition started in 1985 as a fundraiser to support the LGBTQ+ community and has evolved into the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band’s signature event!

Concocted in the spirit of the “Sing-It Yourself Messiah” by Wayne Fleisher, director of the SF Tap Troupe, and first directed by the Band’s conductor, Jay Kast, Dance-Along Nutcracker has been featured in national media, including NPR’s All Things Considered, The Wall Street Journal, Good Morning America, The Today Show, and many more!

Dance-Along Nutcracker truly exemplifies the mission of the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band: to promote LGBTQ+ visibility and build bridges among communities through public performance.

Below, you’ll find a photo gallery showcasing Dance-Along Nutcracker program covers spanning all the way back to the first show in 1985! You can find full PDF programs on the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band’s Program Archive page.