By Mike Schuh

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s the time of year for the return of a holiday tradition.

Sugarplum fairies, the mouse king and the nutcracker all unite this weekend in the inaugural performances by the Lyric Opera House’s new resident ballet company.

READ MORE: Spirit Airlines Cancels Thousands Of Flights For Fourth Day In A Row

For some, it may be the only ballet they’ll ever see. It’s so popular, nearly every ballet company produces a version of The Nutcracker around the Christmas holiday, and it’s a hit year after year.

How ironic, then, that when the two-part Russian ballet — about a Christmas Eve party at the home of Herr Stahlbaum, a seemingly magical toy nutcracker given to his daughter Clara, and a Land of Sweets ruled by the Sugar Plum Fairy — was a flop when it was first performed in 1892.

In the mid-1940s, the San Francisco Ballet brought it to the United States, and it’s popularity spread quickly after that.

Alexander Collen and Nichole Kelsch will be the center of attention at this weekend’s shows at The Lyric, leading the Ballet Theatre of Maryland’s company.

READ MORE: WATCH: Mayor Brandon Scott & Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa To Provide COVID-19 Update Thursday

“While [The Nutcracker] is usually the bread and butter of the ballet company, this year it’s a little more of a risk, actually, because we have invested a lot of resources into the new set,” Kelsch says.

That would be the huge new set built just for The Lyric stage that will debut this weekend.

“The couple of times we have gotten the opportunity to perform here, the first everybody does when they get on stage is pull out the cell phone and take photos of the house and the theater,” Collen says. “I mean, it’s a very wonderful space.”

Until Friday, a coupon for $10 off tickets to any of this weekend’s four performances is being offered. Use the code “HOLIDAY” when buying through Ticketmaster.

MORE NEWS: 'It's A Blessing. It Tells Me To Keep Going' College Bound Baltimore City High Graduates Awarded New Laptops

Follow @CBSBaltimore on Twitter and like WJZ-TV | CBS Baltimore on Facebook