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Klezmer Nutcracker, NYC, 2 Jan 2009

Book by Ellen Kushner
with Ellen Kushner as "Tante Miriam"
December 6th - January 3rd
Vital Theatre Company
2162 Broadway, 4th Floor, at 76th Street, on the Upper West Side

Tix: Call (212) 579-0528 / get your tickets now!

Friday, Jan 2nd at 1pm

The STORY: This summer New York's Vital Theatre commissioned me to adapt my book THE GOLDEN DREYDL (based on my piece with Shirim Klezmer Orchestra) as a fully-staged show for the holiday season. It's been a thrill working with director Linda Ames Key, choreographer Dax Valdes, and the rest of the professional staff, crew & talent at Vital. And what's more, I'm in the show!

To my delight, they cast me as the mysterious aunt, Tante Miriam, the Drosselmeier figure (and yes, I have a fabulous cape to swirl), who gives little Sara the gift of a Golden Dreydl at the family Chanukah party. The dreydl is, of course, an enchanted girl, who spins Sara off into a world of magic and adventure, riddles and demons . . . .

"Casting the author as Tante Miriam was a stroke of genius as she gives the entire play a spiritual and essentially Jewish quality that sets it apart from the fluff of the original Nutcracker … The music is truly brilliant."—CurtainUp

"The Klezmer Nutcracker is a vibrant show. . . there's plenty in it for grownups to enjoy too, including remarkable sets, a few jokes meant to go over kids' heads, some great choreography and at least one achingly sweet moment of song. For kids there's a surprising amount of plot that definitely won't insult their intelligence, a few obligatory moments of gross-out humor and plenty of magic."—Gather

"Winning characters and enthusiastic cast …. This sort of thing is the true magic of the theater, the reason to take kids out to a show rather than plop them in front of a DVD."—Blogcritics.com

"The family party that you can actually go to."—Jewish Week

"The enterprising Vital Theatre Company’s production … contained a theatrical innocence I love…."—New York Observer


Is it a ballet?
No. But there is lots of fantastic dancing, and we reference the classic "Nutcracker" a lot.

Is the music live?
No. But Vital re-mixed the original tracks Shirim recorded for WGBH, and they sound fantastic! It's all Tchaikovsky—kinda—arranged by Michael McLaughlin & David Harris with a klezmer twist.

Is it just for Jewish audiences?
Come on! I figure, if I can sing "Messiah" and watch "The Nutcracker" every year, it's time to open up the season to a few more traditions for everyone. We have a multi-cultural cast of great splendor; see photos here.

Is this a children's play?
Yes, but it's got enough lissome dancers & grownup in-jokes to delight even you. I strongly recommend it for kids 5–11.

How long is it?
The show runs an hour, with no intermission.

What if I want to avoid an audience full of small children?
Come to one of the 7 p.m. shows. I'm doing a "Conversation with the Author" after the ones on Dec. 18th & 22nd. Check the Vital page for dates & details.

Are there discounts available?
$10 discounts for all 7:00 p.m. shows! Just use code KLEZPM10 in advance or at the door.

Where should I sit?
I recommend the 4 back rows. It's a 9-row theatre, with seats highly raked, so all sightlines are great. If you're too close to the front you can miss some of the staging. If you book online, you can see which seats are still available & pick the ones you want.

Where did you get the idea for this story?
Please see my "Golden Dreydl" FAQ.

What else?
Books & CDs will be on sale in the lobby, and the cast & I will be out there signing programs after each show.

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