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Based on E.T.A. Hoffman’s Christmas fantasy and set to music by Tchaikovsky, Marius Petipa’s The Nutcracker was a flop when it premiered in 1882. Since then, the ballet has become a holiday fave—and a cash cow for many ballet companies. Accordingly, the Washington Ballet‘s annual production will feature the dueling mice, onstage snowfall, and mammoth Christmas tree we’ve all come to expect. Stephen Crout directs the Washington Ballet’s Nutcracker Orchestra at 2 & 7 p.m. at the Warner Theater, 1299 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. $19-28.50. (202) 783-4000. (Heather Neefe)