“The Hip Hop Nutcracker” Is The “Must See” Family Holiday Tradition This Season

No TuTu’s or toe shoes needed for The Hip Hop Nutcracker. On Saturday, December 3 the show returns to the United Palace (4140 Broadway at 175th Street, NY, NY) with two performances, before moving on for a December 17 performance at New Jersey Performing Arts Center (1 Center Street) in Newark, NJ.

Special guest MC Kurtis Blow, one of hip hop’s founding fathers, will open the shows with a short set as well as rapping the introduction to The Hip Hop Nutcracker. Kurtis Blow says, “The show is the epitome of entertainment and not only does it take hip hop to the next level but it’s a good look for hip hop.”

The Hip Hop Nutcracker is a full-length production performed by a supercharged cast of a dozen all-star dancers, a DJ and a violinist and features the music from Tchaikovsky’s classic ‘The Nutcracker.’ The production inserts the vocabulary of hip hop movement to what has traditionally been a classical ballet, broadening the audience for the art form. The variety of styles represented (breaking, popping, locking, etc.) serve as a history lesson of hip hop dance.

While Act I faithfully contemporizes the traditional Nutcracker narrative arc, Act II reimagines what happens when the mysterious Drosselmeyer casts a spell on Maria-Clara and her prince, allowing them to travel back in time to the moment when her parents first met. Digital scenery transforms E.T.A. Hoffmann’s beloved story set to the streets of New York. The dance work celebrates love, community and the magic of New Year’s Eve.

“We remain faithful to the music and let it drive the storytelling,” said director/choreographer Jennifer Weber. “In this production, the audience will see all the iconic elements from the classic ballet as we give it an urban spin where the magic of the holidays brings everyone together.”

“We have created something that can appeal to and touch such a wide range of people,” said Mike Fitelson, executive director of the United Palace of Cultural Arts (UPCA) who adapted the story. “Once seeing the show, people walk away with a deeper appreciation for the art forms and how well they work together.”

“Three years ago, the world premiere of The Hip Hop Nutcracker was a unique holiday event that united hip-hop fans, families, and classical music and dance audiences – so many different people in our community – under one roof. This Nutcracker’s dance crew, along with rap legend Kurtis Blow, simply electrified our theater,” said David Rodriguez, NJPAC’s Executive Vice President and Executive Producer. “We are excited to share this new classic with audiences across the country.”

The Hip Hop Nutcracker tour will include the following cities: Los Angeles, CA, Denver, CO, Saint Paul, MN, Nashville, TN, Durham, NC, Atlanta, GA, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Hartford, CT, Schenectady, NY, Rosemont, IL, Flint, MI, Detroit, MI, Green Bay, WI, Reading, PA, Purchase, NY, North Bethesda, MD, Wichita, KS, Saint Louis, MO, Fayetteville, AR, Richardson, TX and Charlotte, NC.

Tickets for United Palace

Showtimes at 2pm and 7pm

Purchase: https://www.boletosexpress.com/?series=The+Hip+Hop+Nutcracker

Info: https://unitedpalace.org/about-upca/hip-hop-nutcracker-2

United Palace is located at 4140 Broadway at 175th Street in Manhattan, 1 block from the 175 A-train station. For more information, call 212-568-1157.

Tickets for New Jersey Performing Arts Center

Showtime 3pm

Purchase and info: http://www.njpac.org/events/detail/the-hip-hop-nutcracker-2016

NJPAC is located at 1 Center Street, Newark, New Jersey; a short walk from the Newark Penn Station stop for New Jersey Transit, PATH Train and Amtrak trains. For more information, call 1-888-GO-NJPAC.


History of The Hip Hop Nutcracker

The origin of the project is almost as charmed as the narrative it tells. In early 2013, Mike Fitelson, UPCA’s executive director who is also a longtime Washington Heights-based writer and photographer, hoped to bring a traditional Nutcracker production uptown. In July, after those plans fell through, he met choreographer Jennifer Weber, who had blended classical music and hip hop dance in several noteworthy previous productions.


On her first visit to the United Palace she fell in love with the breathtaking 1930’s architecture. About 25 minutes after meeting, while touring the theatre’s grand foyer, Fitelson and Weber decided to create a new version of the holiday classic. After test-driving several scenes during a 20-minute workshop at the United Palace in December 2013, they began assembling the pieces for a full production.