Group picture of the band and cast doing a silly pose at Dance-Along Nutcracker 2023

Thank you for making Dance-Along Nutcracker a huge success!

Our spooktacular adventure of “The Nutmare Before Christmas” was a roaring success! See the full photo album from the 2023 show here.

Thank you to our sensational cast, marvelous band members, talented technical team, and our energetic volunteers.

We can’t wait to see you again on December 7 & 8, 2024 for the premiere of an all new Dance-Along Nutcracker adventure!

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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

Eric Bernier & Mike Proctor

Krista Hennig

In memory of Joseph Ilos

Doug Litwin

Joel Shapiro

Mike Wong and Kevin Tam

Media Sponsors

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

Grant Funding From

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

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

2023 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.

Kimberly Krol headshot

Kimberly Krol

as Ms. Stahlbaum

Kimberly is a native of San Francisco and attended SOTA San Francisco and AMDA in New York City. European tour of 42nd Street (Millie), Oliver! (Nancy), Into The Woods Jr. (Witch). She has over 25 years experience in the theater profession as an actress, choreographer, and director. She has recently opened her own educational theater company Center Stage Theater Arts in Pacifica where she enjoys putting on full productions with actors from kindergarten to 8th grade. She thanks John for this opportunity and can’t wait to work with him again.

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 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:

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.

Children dancing and having fun under the mirror ball at Dance-Along Nutcracker
Trumpet section in costume as the Weasley family from Dance-Along Nutcracker 2018
The audience dances during Dance-Along Nutcracker 2014: Frosty's Hawaiian Holiday
Actors playing Clara and Fritz discuss all the exciting things they'll learn at Fogwarts Academy in Dance-Along Nutcracker 2018

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

Music from The Nutcracker Performed Live

Enjoy live music featuring a mix of Tchaikovsky’s holiday classic, pop tunes, movie scores, and Broadway musical favorites!
Theatre masks laughing and crying

An Original Musical Theatre Production

Experience a brand new scripted show each year with an entertaining theme and captivating storyline creatively woven around the beloved characters of the holiday favorite The Nutcracker ballet.
Silhouettes of people dancing holding hands

Step Into the Story and Dance Along

Celebrate the holidays and dance along with us! Get out of your seat, put on your tutu, and pirouette under the mirror ball to the music of The Nutcracker Suite!
A family sits in the front row watching Dance-Along Nutcracker actors perform

For Kids


The ideal family-friendly live-music concert, perfect for energetic children who might find sitting through a traditional Nutcracker ballet performance challenging.

For Adults


The best way to feel like a kid again, as you tug on a tutu and twirl to the “Waltz of the Flowers”, or simply sit back and revel in the show’s witty dialogue and humor while people-watching!

Adults wearing tutus are having fun dancing at Dance-Along Nutcracker
Children and adults of all ages dance to the Nutcracker Suite ballet music

For the Whole Family


Enjoy this light-hearted, humorous and uniquely San Francisco show as a family, and create lasting holiday memories that you’ll cherish for years to come.

Photo Gallery

Group picture of the band doing a silly pose at Dance-Along Nutcracker 2022
Audience participation at the Dance-Along Nutcracker 2022
Band members in costume march in after intermission at Dance-Along Nutcracker 2022
Father carrying child dances at Dance-Along Nutcracker 2022
The show's cast marches down the center aisle at the Dance-Along Nutcracker 2022
SF Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band kicks off Dance-Along Nutcracker show with the opening overture
The ballerina points the way to the buried treasure in Dance-Along Nutcracker 2017: 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 Dance-Along Nutcracker 2018: Clara Potter and the Elder Baton
Happy children dancing at Dance-Along Nutcracker 2018
A young audience member waits patiently in front of the band for Dance-Along Nutcracker show to begin
Actors playing Clara and Fritz discuss all the exciting things they'll learn at Fogwarts Academy in Dance-Along Nutcracker 2018
Dancer spins a hula hoop on one arm while waving a magic wand with the other at Dance-Along Nutcracker 2018: Clara Potter and the Elder Baton
Children with streamers dance to Waltz of the Flowers
The final musical number with the full cast and dancers from Dance-Along Nutcracker 2015: 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
The show's cast dressed as life-size candy, soda, popcorn and a hot dog come out singing and dancing
The band kicks off Dance-Along Nutcracker 2015 with the show overture music
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 Dance-Along Nutcracker 2017: 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 Dance-Along Nutcracker 2018

Show History

Discover the vibrant history of this beloved San Francisco holiday tradition, which began in 1985 as a fundraiser for the LGBTQ+ community. Today, it stands as the signature event of the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band!

Spawned from the imaginative spirit of the “Sing-It Yourself Messiah” and first directed by Band conductor Jay Kast, Dance-Along Nutcracker has garnered national attention, being featured on NPR’s All Things Considered, The Wall Street Journal, and even The Today Show, among others.

Embodying the mission of the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band to promote LGBTQ+ visibility and build bridges through public performances, Dance-Along Nutcracker remains a beacon of inclusive celebration and joy.

Explore our gallery below for a nostalgic journey through Dance-Along Nutcracker program covers, dating back to our inaugural show in 1985! Dive deeper into our history with full PDF programs available in the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band’s Program Archive.