12/02/2011 07:50 am ET

Washington Ballet's 'Nutcracker' Through The Years (PHOTOS)

WASHINGTON -- This year, The Washington Ballet's celebrated "The Nutcracker" production turns half a century old. Its first show of the season was Thursday night at the Warner Theatre.

Although show has been a fixture on the local holiday entertainment circuit for generations, it hasn't been without variation. In 2004, "The Nutcracker" got a major overhaul when current artistic director Septime Webre took over for the company's revered founder, Mary Day.

The current iteration of the decidedly D.C. production is set in Georgetown and stars George Washington as the Nutcracker and King George III as the Rat King. Over the years, it's enlisted the help of guest stars ranging from local media to the Washington Nationals' running presidents. This season, a live orchestra returns after two years of canned music.

How else has the production changed? The Huffington Post asked The Washington Ballet to dig through its archives and find out. Below, click through images from shows going back to 1976.

"The Nutcracker" runs Dec. 1 through 24 at the Warner Theatre. Tickets are priced from $31 to $90. 513 13th St. NW.