Graham Lustig’s A Jazzy Nutcracker premiered on December 14, 2013 at the Monroe Township Performing Arts Center, NJ. Set in the 1960’s, A Jazzy Nutcracker features a Christmas celebration attended by Santa Claus, a space-age battle scene, a winter wonderland skating-rink, plus a magical night spent discovering the secrets of “Drosselmeyer’s” department store. The professional Lustig Dance Theatre company is joined by over 50 local dance students chosen by audition
Based on Tchaikovsky’s original composition and interlaced with other seasonal melodies, A Jazzy Nutcracker’s original score was composed by Rutgers University Professor Paul Undreiner. Funding for the new score was underwritten with a grant from New Music USA’s 2013 Live Music for Dance Program, with generous support from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. A Jazzy Nutcracker is performed with a live jazz band.
Graham Lustig’s The Nutcracker, a more traditional telling of the story, was produced for over ten years in New Jersey, becoming a beloved holiday tradition for many NJ residents, and is currently produced by Oakland Ballet in California where it continues to garner success. After so many years paying respect to the long-held Nutcracker traditions, Lustig was elated to realize his vision of the story: “Growing up in London in the 1960’s was an exciting and energetic era – one full of possibilities and promise. The fashion and music scenes were exploding with invention, jazz was thriving, the prospect of space travel held everyone’s imagination. My choreographic journey for this project begins with a great fondness for this unique decade.”