Event: The Hip-Hop Nutcracker
Venue: The Ritz Theatre
Date/Time: Nov 29 at 3 and 7pm
A contemporary work set to Tchaikovsky’s timeless music, The Hip-Hop Nutcracker is a holiday mash-up featuring special guest and rap pioneer MC Kurtis Blow and hip-hop interludes remixed and reimagined by DJ Boo.
Directed and choreographed by Jennifer Weber, artistic director of Brooklyn’s all-female hip-hop crew Decadancetheatre, and adapted by Mike Fitelson, executive director of United Palace of Cultural Arts in New York City, The Hip Hop Nutcracker is staged for two performances at 3pm and 7pm Nov 29 at the Ritz Theatre & Museum (www.ritzjacksonville.com).
The Hip Hop Nutcracker is an evening-length production performed by a cast of all-star dancers, DJ, and an on-stage electric violinist. Through the spells cast by the mysterious Drosselmeyer, Maria-Clara and her prince, Myron, travel back in time to the moment when her parents first meet in a nightclub. Digital scenery transforms E.T.A. Hoffmann’s story of a palace of sugarplums into a romance set in 1980s Brooklyn. The dance work celebrates love, community and the magic of New Year’s Eve.
The international tour follows last year’s sold-out performances of the world premiere at New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) and United Palace of Cultural Arts (UPCA), producer of the original holiday production. The inaugural tour, produced by NJPAC, spans 11 American cities starting in November – Atlanta, GA, Jacksonville, FL, St. Paul, MN. and Charlotte, NC, among them – before concluding with a two-city tour of Russia, including Moscow, in January 2016.
“Last year, the world premiere of Jennifer Weber and Mike Fitelson’s The Hip-Hop Nutcracker was a unique holiday event that attracted hip-hop fans, families, and classical music and dance audiences – so many different people in our community – under one roof. This Nutcracker’s dance crew, along with rap legend Kurtis Blow, simply electrified our building”, says David Rodriguez, NJPAC’s Executive Vice President and Executive Producer. “We can’t wait to bring this new classic to audiences across the country and wrap up the tour in Tchaikovsky’s homeland.”
A hip-hop legend, Kurtis Blow was 20 in 1979 when he became the first rapper to be signed by a major label. Mercury released Christmas Rappin’, selling more than 400,000 records. Its gold follow-up, The Breaks, helped ignite an international Rap Attack. In over 11 years, Blow released 10 albums including his full-length debut, Kurtis Blow, his second, Deuce, a Top 50 Pop album and a big hit across Europe; Party Time featuring a pioneering fusion of rap and gogo and Ego Trip, including the hits ‘8 Million Stories’, ‘AJ’, and ‘Basketball’.
Director and choreographer Jennifer Weber has created authentic hip-hop dance theatre since 2004. In 2012, she was a nominee for Outstanding Emerging Choreographer New York Dance and Performance Award. Based in Brooklyn, Weber is an ambassador of New York City hip-hop culture around the world through performances, workshops, and creative commissions. Decadancetheatre has toured across the US, UK, Japan, and France in venues such as Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, B Supreme Festival of Women in Hip Hop at London’s Southbank Center, LEAP Festival in Liverpool, New York City Center,the San Francisco Hip-Hop Dance Festival, and Bumbershoot in Seattle where the company shared the bill with Wu-Tang Clan, John Legend, and Fergie. She has also choreographed for the NBA’s Miami Heat, L’Oreal Matrix, Reebok, Bloomberg, and the UK TV show, Blue Peter. Recently she choreographed the US Premier of Bryony Lavery’s Stockholm at Stageworks/Hudson, Trouble: A New Rock Musical directed by Michael Alvarez and Otis Sallid’s James Brown – Get On the Good Foot for The Apollo Theater/US Tour.
The Hip-Hop Nutcracker is guaranteed to be a good time with all of the talented people attached to the project. Join the fun on November 29 at the Ritz Theatre. Tickets are available on their website, www.ritzjacksonville.com.