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BWW Review: HIP-HOP NUTCRACKER at NJPAC-An Exhilarating Dance Show for the Holiday Season

BWW Review: HIP-HOP NUTCRACKER at NJPAC-An Exhilarating Dance Show for the Holiday Season

New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) celebrated the season on Friday evening December 20th and Saturday afternoon, December 21st with Hip Hop Nutcracker. Directed and choreographed by Jennifer Weber and adapted by Mike Fetelson, the exciting production was part of the M & T Bank dance series at the Center. The show is a modern take on The Nutcracker by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

Special guest and rap Star, Kurtis Blow was the Master of Ceremonies who welcomed the audience and got the performance off to an exciting start with some "old school" hip-hop music. Last year, in 2018, NJPAC's production of The Hip Hop Nutcracker completed its fifth national tour, spread out across 28 U.S. cities, earning acclaim from critics and audiences from coast to coast. Now that another year's production has delighted Newark area audiences, we look forward to this annual dance event at the Center.

The Hip Hop Nutcracker is entertaining for audiences of all ages. Set in Uptown USA on New Year's Eve, the contemporary show features Tchaikovsky's score. It is faithful to the beloved holiday story with all of the magic, action, romance and fantasy. But this modern version has an appeal all its own. The company performs their stunning and seemingly impossible dance moves with precision, athleticism, and grace. Each scene proves fascinating and the inventive choreographies showcase the abundant talents of the high-energy troupe.

The hip-hop dancers include Ann-Sylvia Clark as Maria/Clara; Morris Isby as The Nutcracker; Nubian Nene as Mom; Knin Micah Abbrey as Dad; Lisa "LBoogie" Bauford as Drosselmeyer; Randi "Rascal" Freitas as Mouse King/Ensemble; Anthony "Omen" Cabrera as Toy/Ensemble; Lily Frias as Toy/Ensemble; Brandon Ron as Chocolate/Ensemble; Jackie "JK-47" Agudo as Tea/Ensemble; Seth "Reaktion" Hilliard as Russian/Ensemble; and Dustin Payne as Flute/Ensemble. The violinist is Jarvis L. Benson and the Performance DJ is DJ Boo.

The Creative Team has done a great job of bringing the show to the Newark stage. They include lighting design by Burke Wilmore; video design by Moe Sharooz; Stylist, Laurien De Munick; Company Manager, Rebecca Easton; Production Stage Manager, James Steele; Resident Director, Maria Malmstrom; and Associate Director and Choreographer, Randi Freitas.

Like so many of the shows at NJPAC, Hip Hop Nutcracker was a fabulous event. Their holiday shows continue with Holiday Dreams, A Spectacular Holiday Cirque on Saturday, December 28th at 3:00 pm and 7:30 pm. Michael Carbonaro Live will be on stage on Sunday, December 29th at 7:00 pm.

NJPAC is located at 1 Center Street, Newark, NJ 07102. For more information or ticketing, please visit 1.888.go.NJPAC.

For more information on Hip Hop Nutcracker, please visit:

Photo Credit: Courtesy of NJPAC

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