See ‘The Nutcracker Rocks’ — NJ twist on the holiday classic
For a lot of people, it isn’t the Christmas season without The Nutcracker.
But the Axelrod theater, one of the preeminent theaters in New Jersey, presents an updated rock version this holiday season with a Jersey twist.
Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theater's (AXCBT,) Monmouth County’s only professional ballet company is presenting a reimagined Nutcracker and people are loving it.
It’s a high-octane, rock-and-roll Jersey Shore version of the Tchaikovsky classic.
“The Nutcracker ROCKS is an exciting original collaboration of Jersey Shore talent,” explains AXCBT director Gabriel Chajnik. “Lincoln Center may have ‘The Nutcracker,’ but the Jersey Shore now has The Nutcracker ROCKS.”
And you’ve never seen such a Jersey-centric production in your life.
Chajnik invited Alex Levine and Alex Rosamilia, two members of the popular New Jersey rock band, The Gaslight Anthem, and their production partner Wes Klienknecht to reimagine Tchaikovsky’s beloved “Nutcracker” score for a new generation of rock and theater lovers.
The original Tchaikovsky score was recorded by the MidAtlantic Symphony orchestra in Ocean Grove’s Great Auditorium, conducted by Maestro Jason Tramm, while the overlying rock element was composed and arranged by X Squared Productions, comprised of Rosamilia, Levine, and Klienknecht.
The book is by Juilliard-trained actor and librettist Reuben Jackson with additions by writer-actor Jason Cohen.
Associate Choreographer includes Dylan Pearce from Point Pleasant, whose credits include assistant choreographer for the “Radio City Christmas Spectacular.”
The Nutcracker ROCKS is about a bored, teen Clara, who has to endure her family’s posh holiday party on the Upper East Side until her eccentric Uncle Drosselmeyer arrives.
When he does, he shakes things up at the soiree when he transports Clara to a magic land—the Jersey Shore —where the traditional Land of Sweets is instead a candy shop in Asbury Park!!
The cast is comprised of AXCBT company members and students (ages 7+) from local dance studios who attended a Nutcracker Rocks Intensive with Chajnik and the dancers of AXCBT.
The production opened on December 2, but there are still several performances coming up.
Ticket prices range from $32 to $46, with student tickets available for $20. Tickets are available online or by calling 732.531.9106, extension 14.
Special rates are available for groups of ten or more.
Who wants to drive into NYC for their nutcracker fix?
There’s no need when The Nutcracker ROCKS still has a few more performances left this weekend on Friday, Dec. 9, at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10 at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11 at 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11 at 5 p.m.
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco only.
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