The Hard Nut

There’s something seriously subversive going on in downtown Brooklyn this holiday season. It’s going to completely upend your cherished memories of elegant sugar plum fairies and dancing flowers. Purists beware — then prepare to be wildly entertained. I am talking about The Hard Nut, of course, and word on the street is that Mark Morris Dance Group and BAM are behind this groovy, irreverent, laugh-out-loud take on Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. Choreographer, Mark Morris, based this wacky version on both the the original story by E.T.A. Hoffmann, and on Charles Burns’ comic book art. The result is a retro, ’70s-inspired take on the classic tale which featured the most amazing Waltz of the Snowflakes I have ever seen. (How did they do that? Trade secret, I am sure!) Costumes by the late Martin Pakledinaz were fabulous colorful creations — no small task to artfully clothe this gender-bending ensemble! Comic-inspired set by Adrianne Lobel was the perfect backdrop. The music was performed live — did you hear that? LIVE! — by the MMDG Music Ensemble, and also featured live vocals by The Hard Nut Singers. As fun as it was to experience the mixture of slapstick performance and traditional ballet last night, there was something captivating about those moments before the curtain rose and the entire audience was intently listening to the beautiful musical prelude. So still. So hushed. Then the curtain came up and WHAM! BAM! POW! Can I just say what a pleasure it is to be truly delighted? Go see it! Now! Better yet, make it a holiday tradition!

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