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  • Writer's picturePenny Neef

Not Your Mama’s Nutcracker: The Hip Hop Nutcracker Coming to Chrysler Hall for One Night Only

Updated: Dec 20, 2021

UPDATE: Unfortunately, despite their best efforts and robust measures being put in place for the safety of the cast and crew, breakthrough COVID cases have been detected within the company, and The Hip Hop Nutcracker has cancelled their Chrysler Hall performance. More details on Seven Venues cancellations and postponements can be found here. Spotlight News hopes the company members feel better soon!

The company of The Hip Hop Nutcracker.

Words by Penny Neef. Images courtesy of Seven Venues.

I have a confession to make. I do not like the holiday classic, The Nutcracker. Call me Scrooge. It’s possible I was traumatized by the dancing mice or Herr Drosselmeyer as a child. I’m not sure, but I have avoided presentations of this show forever. Even the music gives me the creeps.

I confessed all this to Kurtis Blow on a Zoom call last week. He laughed, because he is a man full of joy, and because The Hip Hop Nutcracker, coming to Chrysler Hall for one night only on Wednesday, December 29 one night only on Wednesday, December 29 is something different from Tchaikovsky’s score and Balachine’s ballet.

Gabriel Emphasis, Dustin Payne.

Why was I confessing to Kurtis Blow, the first rapper to be signed by a major label in 1979, producer and mentor to Fat Boys and Run DMC, public speaker, ordained minister and heart transplant survivor? Kurtis Blow will be at Chrysler Hall as the Special Guest and MC of The Hip Hop Nutcracker.

The Hip Hop Nutcracker was created in 2013 by director/choreographer Jennifer Weber and Mike Fitelson. Fitelson adapted the original 1954 Balachine ballet to the diverse New York City setting of Washington Heights and the B-boys.

Zuce Morales, Dustin Payne, Lily Frias, Jon “gifted” Jimenez.

The show is a mash-up of Tchaikovsky’s score, “re-mixed and re-imagined”, made fresh, contemporary, and with a cast of the best dancers around. Hip Hop violinist Jarvis Benson puts his beat to the music. DJ Boo keeps the music moving, and Kurtis Blow is there to get the party started.

If you are not familiar with Kurtis Blow, born Kurtis Walker, check out this video to see young Kurtis and hear his first big hit, Christmas Rappin’. It will put you in the holiday spirit for sure.

His follow-up, The Breaks, went gold and “solidified rap as a new art form.”

Kurtis has worked with just about everyone in the world of rap – Wyclef Jean, Love Bug Starski, Sweet Gee, Full Force and Russell Simons to name a few.

Kurtis Blow promises “that everyone will leave this show feeling amazing.” The story is basically the same as Tchaikovsky’s 1892 production. Two young people fall in love, there is conflict, love conquers all, but The Hip Hop Nutcracker is “interactive, action-packed, full of funky beats and old school hip hop.”

Jackie “JK-47” Agudo, Randi “Rascal” Freitas, Seth “REAKTION” Hilliard, Anthony “OMEN” Cabrera.

Kurtis is the MC of The Hip Hop Nutcracker. It’s his job to warm up the audience. He’s out there every night with his incredible energy, doing 45 shows in 31 cities this holiday season. How does he do it at age 62 at just the one-year anniversary of a heart transplant? Easy, he says. “I got the heart of a 34-year-old. My heart turned 35 on December 7.” Kurtis has a young heart and is full of joy and gratitude.

Kurtis Blow.

For more information and to purchase tickets to The Hip Hop Nutcracker, go to

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