Nutcracker Rouge @ the Minetta Lane Theatre

Nutcracker RougeNo Virginia, this is not your mommy’s Nutcracker.

Company XIV and The Saint At Large are ‘unfolding’ their N.Y.C. premiere of Nutcracker Rouge down at the Minetta Lane Theatre and I dare say you’d be hard pressed to find a better night of theatre this season.

Conceived, directed and choreographed by Austin McCormick, this two-act, one hour and forty five minute production is sure to leave you rethinking this classic holiday show and maybe even prompt you to take a cold shower after it. There’s music, lots of dance, a bit of opera and even circus performers in what the production terms a “Baroque-Burlesque confection of theatre.”

There’s lots going on at any one given time, with big fun (and more often than not) sultry dance numbers (one must be over 16 to attend) moving the narrative along. You’ll hear snippets of the music you are familiar with re’thunk’ and pulsating for these scenes that see Laura Careless’ “Marie-Claire” making her way through her ultimate transformation. The cast also includes: Jeff Takacs as “Monsieur Drosselmeyer,” Shelly Watson as amazingly operatic and bawdy “Madame Drosselmeyer,” circus artists Rose Bonjo, Courtney Giannone, Nicolas Maffey and Benn Mendoza and the truly gorgeous (their bodies as well as in their moves) dancers Marisol Cabrera, Katrina Cunningham, Molly Griffin, Jakob Karr, Nicholas Katen, Kana Kimura, Tyler Philips, Davon Rainey and Alison Ulrich.

I’d be remiss not to mention the crew in a production this lush and imaginative: Zane Pihlstrom is the set and costume designer, Jeanette Yew lighting designer, Austin McCormick also handles sound, John Starmer and Michael Givey are the technical directors with Nataliya Vasilyeva the productions stage manager.

Really, I’d be hard pressed to think there is anything as outright completely entertaining as well as out and out HOT happening at any theatre this holiday season in our city.

Nutcracker Rouge is running now until January 5, 2014 in a limited 6-week engagement.  Get tickets here and info here.

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