Nutcracker (not so) Suite

Daily from Dec. 2-3
7:30 p.m.
Every Sun. from Dec. 4-18
2 p.m.
Daily from Dec. 8-10
7:30 p.m.
Daily from Dec. 15-17
7:30 p.m.
Dance, Holiday

The James Sewell Ballet’s production of Myron Johnson’s revitalized Nutcracker (not so) Suite returns for a jolting holiday punch, complete with outré cheer. Set in 1950s New York, this grittier version of the fairy tale is closer to E.T.A. Hoffman’s German original. The plot sends Little Marie from her fancy Upper East Side apartment to a Lower East Side stew of drugs and brothels. Luxuriant false-eyelash winks at traditional Nutcracker tropes include a holiday shindig with cocktails and party-hearty guests, and a nasty Rat Queen as the madam of a bordello with her menacing squad of Beatniks. There’s plenty of Myronic Ballet of the Dolls wit here. Johnson himself camps it up as the funny uncle who gives Marie the gift of Barbie and Ken dolls that come to drolly animated life. Saucy characters abound, including Marie’s mom Flo in haute-couture drag, and James Sewell as a magician par excellence. In addition to virtuosic dancing, there’s a musical mash-up of hip-hop, R&B, contemporary tracks, and Christmas carols. Last year everyone onstage appeared to be having as good a time as the audience, which included both savvy kids and adults ready for a holiday suite with plenty of tart. A racier version gets its own five naughty Nutcracker performances while the children are nestled all snug in their beds.