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Constantine Maroulis to Join Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theater's THE NUTCRACKER ROCKS

Constantine Maroulis to Join Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theater's THE NUTCRACKER ROCKS

AXCBT, Monmouth County’s only professional ballet company, will perform in the Vogel Auditorium with The Nutcracker Rocks beginning on December 2.

Tony-nominated actor and singer and Wyckoff native Constantine Maroulis has joined the cast of the Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theater (AXCBT)'s THE NUTCRACKER ROCKS, as Clara's eccentric rocker Uncle Drosselmeyer. Maroulis was a finalist on the fourth season of American Idol and is a double-Tony Award nominee for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical for his role in Rock of Ages and for his work as a producer on the revival of Spring Awakening. He starred in the title role in Jekyll and Hyde on Broadway, for which he received a Drama League Award Nomination for a Distinguished Performance Award.

AXCBT, Monmouth County's only professional ballet company, will perform in the Vogel Auditorium at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center with The Nutcracker Rocks beginning on December 2. The ballet is conceived, choreographed, and directed by AXCBT Artistic Director Gabriel Chajnik, who reinvents this holiday favorite with a high-octane, rock-and-roll Jersey Shore twist.

"The Nutcracker ROCKS is an exciting original collaboration of Jersey Shore talent," explains Chajnik. "Lincoln Center may have 'The Nutcracker,' but the Jersey Shore now has The Nutcracker ROCKS."

For the production, 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 production opens on December 2, at 7:00 p.m. and runs over two weekends with ten total performances ending on Sunday, December 11. Ticket prices range from $32 to 46, with student tickets available for $20

Tickets are available online at axelrodartscenter.com/nutcracker-rocks or by calling 732.531.9106, extension 14. Special rates are available for groups of ten or more.

The Nutcracker ROCKS at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center

Friday, December 2, 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, December 3 at 2:00 p.m.
Saturday, December 3 at 8:00 p.m.

Sunday, December 4 at 1:00 p.m.

Sunday, December 4 at 5:00 p.m.

Friday, December 9, 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, December 10 at 2:00 p.m.
Saturday, December 10 at 8:00 p.m.

Sunday, December 11 at 1:00 p.m.

Sunday, December 11 at 5:00 p.m.

The Nutcracker ROCKS follows a bored, teen Clara, who must endure her family's posh holiday party on

the Upper East Side until her eccentric Uncle Drosselmeyer arrives. Uncle Drosselmeyer shakes things up at the distinguished Manhattan party when he shows up transporting 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.

"I am thrilled to see the return of The Nutcracker ROCKS! Of all of Gabriel's enchanting works, it is one of my favorites because of the magical holiday memories it evokes," said Elise Feldman, president of the Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theater. "Seeing the young dancers' gracing the stage is a testament to the growth of the Axelrod Performing Arts Academy and its mission to 'inspire and strengthen young dancers' minds and bodies.' We are proud to collaborate with local dance studios including Dance for Joy and Gotta Dance, providing these young, gifted dancers an opportunity to perform with AXCBT's professional dancers on a world class stage at APAC."

Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theater (AXCBT) strives to cultivate an environment rooted in diversity, inspiration, encouragement, and equality where all are welcome and heard. Listening and learning is at the heart of our commitments to change policies, attitudes, and habits that do not align with our core values. Gabriel Chajnik has assembled a community of skilled artists, each unique and necessary to the growth of AXCBT and its audience. AXCBT prides itself on its perseverance through the challenges of 2020 and the company's continuation of dance education. Mr. Chajnik and his dancers aim to expand creativity and appreciation for the arts throughout New Jersey, inviting patrons, students, and artists to join them on this gratifying endeavor.

The Axelrod Performing Arts Center produces its own professionally staged musicals and ballets for the Jersey Shore in collaboration with Broadway directors, choreographers, and designers, showcasing professional actors, dancers and singers. The Axelrod Performing Arts Center fosters artistic excellence by showcasing varied and distinct cultural programs which enrich the imaginative, intellectual and creative soul, inspire Jewish journeys, and cultivate an appreciation of our diverse communities through the pursuit of the arts. A 501c3 organization, funding support for the Axelrod PAC comes from individuals, foundations, and grants that enable the arts center to present year-round events and programming. We want to thank our patrons and donors who support the Axelrod Performing Arts Center annually.


AXCBT Artistic Director Gabriel Chajnik received undergraduate dance training at The Julliard School studying under legendary instructor, mentor, and Juilliard faculty emeritus Maestro Héctor Zaraspe. Mr. Chajnik's work has been featured at the Juilliard School, the Manhattan School of Music, the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C., Alice Tully Hall, the Clark Theatre at Lincoln Center, Manhattan Movement and Arts Center, and the Lambs Theatre. As an educator, he has taught various dance technique classes to notable dance schools such as Brooklyn Music School (NY), Princeton Ballet School (NJ), the Academy of Dance Arts (NJ), and Gotta Dance (NJ). Mr. Chajnik merged his two passions of choreography and education by establishing the Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theatre (AXCBT), the first professional dance company in the Monmouth County area, and the Axelrod Performing Arts Academy (APPA), both with the help of Axelrod Performing Arts Center's President Elise Feldman. Mr. Chajnik has been honored by the Jewish Federation of Somerset, Hunterdon, & Warren Counties. In September 2021, Monmouth Arts honored Gabriel for his work in the community during the pandemic.


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