The Hard Nut

It’s the Nutcracker, with a twist

By In Dance 1 hour 28 min

Dance Group's beloved retro-modern reimagining of The Nutcracker – based on E.T.A. Hoffmann's original story and the comic book art of Charles Burns – comes home to BAM for the holidays. A cascade of wit and wintry beauty featuring Morris' lyrical modern dance choreography, this lavish, gender-bent love letter to a classic transplants the story from the straight-laced 1890s to the swinging 70s, with raucous parties, dancing G.I. Joes, whimsical costumes, and a Waltz of the Snowflakes like no other. Tchaikovsky's complete original score, performed live by the 53-piece MMDG Music Ensemble drives this colorful retelling, which playfully preserves the warm spirit of an essential holiday tradition.

Based on the book by E.T.A. Hoffman, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. Production based on the work of Charles Burns.

You've never seen a Nutcracker like this” writes the Huffington Post. Set to Tchaikovsky's beloved music (with live orchestra), The Hard Nut lovingly channels the warm spirit of this holiday tradition into the swinging 70's.

It's a fun (and funny) reimagining from the original straightlaced 1890s, from the internationally renowned : you'll see dancing GI Joes, whimsical costumes, and a Waltz of the Snowflakes like no other. Tchaikovsky's complete original score, performed live by the Detroit Opera Orchestra, playfully preserves the warm spirit of an essential holiday tradition.

It's the perfect family holiday experience – that takes everything you love about the Nutcracker and makes it even more fun (and adds one of the world's most talented dance companies).

No other treatment of this famous must so excites its audience

The New York Times

Act I
Dr. and Mrs. Stahlbaum's annual Christmas Eve Party. Their children Fritz, Marie and Louise wait in the den. Party dances: polka, hokey-pokey, hesitation, stroll, bump, waltz. Friend of the family Drosselmeier brings animated toys that he's made. He gives a Nutcracker to the children. Fritz breaks it. The children fight. Dr. Stahlbaum changes the subject. The guests go home. The family goes to bed. The housekeeper cleans up.
Marie can't sleep and comes downstairs to see if the Nutcracker is resting comfortably. At midnight she is frightened by rats. Everything in the room grows to giant size. G.I. Joes led by the Nutcracker battle rats led by the mutant Rat King. Marie kills the Rat King with her slipper. She falls unconscious. The Nutcracker is transformed into a young man. Marie is tucked in. A worried Drosselmeier makes his way through the blizzard.

Act II
Marie is in a fever. Drosselmeier comes to see if Marie is resting comfortably and tells her one of his stories:


Once upon a time a King and a Queen had a beautiful baby girl named Pirlipat. The Queen's old enemy the Rat Queen threatened to ruin little Pirlipat. The nurse and the cat were left to guard the baby at night. While the nurse and cat slept, the Rat Queen destroyed Princess Pirlipat's face. The Royal Family was horrified by the sight of their formerly beautiful daughter. The Rat Queen explained that the Princess would regain her beauty only after a young man cracked the hard nut, Krakatuk, with his teeth and stepped backwards seven times. The King commanded Drosselmeier to find the hard nut or face decapitation. Drosselmeier set off in search of the hard nut. He traveled the world for fifteen years before finding it back at home.
The ugly teenage Pirlipat watched as one young man after another attempted to crack the hard nut. The last one to try was Drosselmeier's own nephew. He succeeded. On his seventh step backward he stepped on the Rat Queen, killing her. Pirlipat became beautiful and rejected the young Drosselmeier as he started to become ugly – like a nutcracker…
At this point Marie interrupts the story and offers her love to young Drosselmeier. Mrs. Stahlbaum acknowledges her daughter's new maturity with a flower dance. Everyone in the world joins Marie and young Drosselmeier in celebrating their love. The two go away together forever.

Louise and Fritz are sent to bed.

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