FLATBUSH / SPONSORED – A most beautiful, upbeat Christmas breeze is about to “blow” into Brooklyn, just as the holiday season reaches its apex. On December 23rd the historic Kings Theatre will proudly serve as the setting of The Hip Hop Nutcracker, the show that puts a contemporary twist on the Tchaikovsky classic, performed by a dozen all-star dancers and featuring the legendary rap star MC Kurtis Blow. The audience will be treated to the revered Tchaikovsky score, re-imagined to fuel the performers’ dynamic dance moves. Powered by an on-stage DJ and electric violinist, the updated soundtrack proves an organically surprising and exciting take on the holiday staple, with MC Kurtis Blow, the show’s opener, setting the tone with his endearing, quick-paced rhymes.
Celebrating its five-year anniversary, The Hip Hop Nutcracker has been performed across the country, from Seattle to Portland to Chicago to New York and elsewhere; this holiday season, it’s stopping in 28 cities. The director and choreographer of the show, Jennifer Weber—whose work has been seen at The Apollo, The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, London’s Southbank Center, and The Stanislavsky Music Theatre in Moscow—says she’s thrilled to bring the show back to the Kings Theatre for a second consecutive year. “The Kings is one of the most beautiful theaters we get to play, it’s absolutely gorgeous,” Weber says. “They did this huge renovation on it a couple years ago … it’s absolutely amazing.”
If Weber’s enthusiasm for the venue is eclipsed by anything, it’s the people she’s looking forward to seeing inside the Kings Theatre come show time. “The audience in Brooklyn is one of the best audiences,” Weber says. “Brooklyn loves hip-hop, so it’s a good place to be.”
Theatergoers will recognize The Nutcracker storyline, with Maria-Clara and the prince battling mice, visiting the land of sweets, and learning universal lessons of love, peace, and harmony. But in Weber’s unique iteration, innovative digital graffiti and visuals bring the story from 19th Century Germany to New York City, which of course is the birthplace of hip-hop—the musical genre that’s the driving force behind Weber’s new take on Tchaikovsky.
“One of the things I love about hip-hop is that the language of hip-hop is so good for creating characters and telling stories,” Weber says. She points out that hip-hop also fosters many different dance styles, like b-boying, locking, popping, crumping, and more. “When you’re choreographing and working with a diverse group of dancers, you have such a large range of vocabulary to pull from, and so when you’re creating a narrative like The Nutcracker, it’s so fun to mix these different styles.”
So for New Yorkers who love the holidays and hip-hop, it’s time to get crackin’.
Tickets to The Hip Hop Nutcracker are available through Ticketmaster, charge-by-phone at 800-745-300, or the Kings Theatre box office, at 1027 Flatbush Avenue in Prospect Park South, Monday through Saturday between 12 pm and 5:30 pm.