A production of the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band

All Aboard! Next Stop: Your Living Room

The Dance-Along Nutcracker is going virtual!

Disappointed that they can’t travel to visit their favorite uncle for the holidays this year, Clara and Fritz dream up their own adventures on board The Nutcracker Express! Filled with exotic destinations and surprise guests, this will be a show you won’t want to miss!

Enjoy and dance along at home to favorite themes from The Polar Express, festive holiday tunes, and of course, music from The Nutcracker ballet. This year’s virtual show will bring back memories from previous adventures and add all new performances from the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band and several extra special guests.

Part comedy musical, part dance-it-yourself ballet, and part symphonic concert, The Nutcracker Express features all of the holiday fun and tradition you’ve come to expect from Dance-Along Nutcracker, but this year from the comfort of your home.

Join the Guest List

The 2020 Dance-Along Nutcracker is a free gift to our community, but you need to join the guest list to come aboard! There will be two showings (Saturday, December 12 at 7:00 pm PST and Sunday, December 13 at 11:00 am PST) and there’s no need to pick which one now.

A few days before the show, attendees on the guest list will receive an email with a link to the YouTube livestream to attend either or both shows. The show is approximately 75 minutes long and a replay will not be posted afterwards – the two showings will be your only opportunities to watch.

We suggest, if you’re able, making a $15 per person (or any amount!) donation to help cover production costs. Donations beyond our production costs will be used to commission the composition of a new piece of concert band music from a Black, Indigenous, or Person of Color (BIPOC) composer.

Having trouble with the registration application above? Click here to visit a standalone registration site

Special Thanks to Our Sponsors

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

With individual sponsorship by:

Larry K. Hetrick, M.D.

Moira Wilmes & Denni Harp

Todd Pope and Ramey Littell

Phillip Spencer Huff

Ian Gerrard

Ruth Olga Kyriakis and Sally Canjura-Clayton

Performers & Cast

The San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band is excited to welcome several new organizations who will be joining us in the 2020 Dance-Along Nutcracker: The Nutcracker Express!

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 over 40 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. This year, Artistic Directors Pete Nowlen and Mike Wong have been leading the band in several virtual shelter-in-place recordings.

Learn more about the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band

Cheer SF logo

CHEER San Francisco is an adult, all-volunteer 501(c)(3) charitable organization supporting beneficiaries that assist those living with HIV/AIDS, breast cancer, and other life-challenging conditions. Formed in 1980, CHEER SF has been thrilling crowds locally, nationally, and internationally with their unique brand of high-energy performances. This all-volunteer group is dedicated not only to providing polished professional entertainment but also to the philanthropic mission of the squad, serving as true ambassadors of goodwill to the communities in which they perform.

Learn more about CHEER SF

Gay Freedom Band of Los Angeles logo

The Gay Freedom Band of Los Angeles promotes acceptance and celebrates diversity by bringing together musicians from across Southern California for performance and educational opportunities that embrace equality, inclusion, and the love of music.

Founded in 1978, GFBLA is one of the oldest LGBT concert bands in the world. Originally named the Great American Yankee Freedom Band of Los Angeles, this group was created to promote the visibility of the LGBT community and to provide entertainment at pride celebrations.

The main goals of the band are to create a supportive and artistically challenging environment for its members, to provide top quality live concerts that are free and open to the public, and to serve as a model of acceptance and collaboration.

Learn more about GFBLA

Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco logo

The nation’s oldest out-loud LGBT mixed chorus, the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco (LGCSF) was founded in 1980 as the San Francisco Lesbian and Gay Men’s Community Chorus, and renamed LGCSF in 1984. For over 40 years we have provided a home for our LGBT musical community to develop their talents, build friendships and perform great concerts. We actively promote the work of gay and lesbian composers and take pride in providing positive examples of LGBTQ culture to San Francisco’s diverse communities. Some words from our first concert program capture the spirit that we still honor today: “For the first time in the known history of the world we [can] write our own culture, […] we can love one another proudly. Yes, we can build, and create, and establish. Yes, the world is a better place because we are here.” These words need to be spoken as loudly today as 40 years ago.

Learn more about LGCSF

The San Francisco Bay Times is the oldest LGBTQ newspaper in the Bay Area that is now and always has been fully funded and owned by LGBTQ individuals. Betty’s List makes it easy to find out about important events, services and products for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) community of the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Look forward to staff, family, and friends who will lead a sing-along in this year’s Dance-Along Nutcracker! Led by special guest, Donna Sachet!

Learn more about The San Francisco Bay Times and Betty’s List

Alix Feinsod is playing the role of Meme Girl

Alix Feinsod

as Clara

Alix Feinsod has been performing in musicals around the Bay Area all her life with Stagedoor, YMTC, The Marsh, and The Thrillpeddlers. She also writes plays for her students to perform and has designed costumes for the Magic Theater and other companies. Alix is excited to be in her second Dance-Along Nutcracker – and her favorite theater memory is singing “Popular” in a school play as a kid!

Headshot of Nick Setnik playing Fritz

Nick Setnik

as Fritz

Nick Setnik is excited to get back on the stage after many years. Previously he has played ensemble parts in college level theatre productions and performed in the pit band for a handful of stage productions. Nick is looking forward to giving some holiday cheer in this virtual Dance-Along Nutcracker!

Headshot of Flynn De Marco playing Uncle Drosselmeyer

Flynn De Marco

as Uncle Drosselmeyer & Train Conductor

Flynn De Marco has been working in theater since elementary school. He is an accomplished cake decorator and ukulele player as well as an award winning LEGO builder, costumer, teacher, director, singer, and actor. You might call him a Renaissance Man, although he would call himself a Jack of All Trades. He has performed numerous times in the Dance-Along Nutcracker in addition to directing.

Mimi Osa

as Mimi Osa

Originally from the chilly state of Alaska, Mimi Osa found her way to the eternal summer of San Francisco.
She started her drag career as a way to give back to the incredible LGBTQ+ community that made her feel so welcome in her new hometown. From becoming Miss Golden Gate in 2016, to winning the Miss GAPA title in 2017, to being publicly-elected to become the Reigning Empress in 2020, Mimi has helped raise tens of thousands of dollars to support local non-profit organizations.
Follow the remainder of the reign here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/icmgg.

Candace Monroe-Speed

as Mom

Candace Monroe-Speed has been on stage since the age of two as a dancer, actress, and spoken word artist. Before moving to the Bay Area and focusing on family and her career, Candace’s last role was Lady Purple in Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf, produced by Black Poet Ventures. It has been an honor for Candace to get back on stage with the 2020 Dance Along Nutcracker: The Nutcracker Express! She currently is a middle school special education teacher in Martinez, CA.

Stephanie Richardson wearing a SF Lesbian/Gay Freedom Marching Band shako Marching Band

Stephanie Richardson

Producer and Mom

Stephanie Richardson is a trombonist with the Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band and serves as the band’s Staff Production Manager. Previously, she acted and sang in 2018 Dance-Along Nutcracker: Clara Potter and the Elder Baton, produced Nutcrackers in Space (2019), and is excited to produce The Nutcracker Expressthis year! By day, she’s a TK-8 district music teacher in Brisbane, CA where she manages the district’s choral and wind band programs and recently started a string program. She also produces and directs the school district’s annual musicals. Stephanie is an avid singer and dancer whose favorite hobby is dragging friends to karaoke.

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.

Due to COVID-19, the 2020 Dance-Along Nutcracker will be a livestreamed virtual show! We can’t wait to bring new music recordings and a new Dance-Along Nutcracker story to your home on December 12 – 13, 2020! The rest of the site below describes our annual in-person show.

What is Dance-Along Nutcracker?

Dance-Along Nutcracker is a holiday experience unlike anything else!

Each year, the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band blends Tchaikovsky’s classic The Nutcracker ballet with an entertaining theme. The result is a fun-filled original musical production brimming with wit, artistry and ingenuity. The talented cast sings and dances their way through a parody version of the Nutcracker. And when the “Dance Along!” sign flashes, the audience is invited to put on their tutus and sashay along with the cast. Even audience members who don’t want to dance have a blast!

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


Don’t just take our word for it, see what others are saying about the show!

Inspired foolishness, tomfoolery on a grand and witty scale!

C.W. NeviusSan Francisco Chronicle

One of the city’s most delightfully idiosyncratic events.

Wall Street Journal

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

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

Beautifully unexpected and witty!

Dance-Along Nutcracker Attendee

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

Dance-Along Nutcracker® Attendee

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

Traci VaughnMilk + Fog

New to Dance-Along Nutcracker?

Here’s What to Expect…

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
Adults wearing tutus are having fun at the Dance-Along Nutcracker

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!

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!

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.