Selected Events (12/23) + Nutcracker Performances 2014

Today’s “FAB 5″/ Selected NYCity Events – TUESDAY, DEC. 23, 2014.
“We search the internet everyday looking for the very best of What’s Happening on Manhattan’s WestSide, so that you don’t have to. We make it as easy as 1-2-3.”

Allen Toussaint Trio: A New Orleans Christmas  — R&B

“All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914.” — SmartStuff/ Literary + Music

Michael Feinstein,‘Happy Holidays: Swinging with the Big Band’ — Cabaret

Dick Hyman  — Jazz

HANDEL Messiah — Classical

For other useful and curated NYCity event info for Manhattan’s WestSide check out:
♦ “9 Notable Events-Dec.”, and “Top10 Free” in the header above.
♦  For NYCity trip planning see links in “Resources” and “Smart Stuff” in the header above.
♦ For NYCity Sights, Sounds and Stories visit out our sister site: nyc123blog.wordpress.com

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Allen Toussaint Trio: A New Orleans Christmas
The legendary Allen Toussaint is a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, National Medal of Arts recipient, and world renowned producer, pianist, writer, arranger and singer. This should be a holiday treat.
City Winery, 155 Varick Street, near Spring Street, South Village,
212-608-0555 / citywinery.com
8PM / $40 to $45.

“All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914.”
“A century ago, a unique Christmas celebration took place—between opposing armies on the battlefield during World War I. Weaving together the words of participants and the prayers and carols they recited and sang, the acclaimed male vocal ensemble Cantus recreates that impromptu Christmas Truce of 1914.” (thoughtgallery.org)
Metropolitan Museum of Art,
Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium
6PM / $65

Michael Feinstein,‘Happy Holidays: Swinging with the Big Band’
(through Saturday, Dec 27)
“Mr. Feinstein’s second holiday residency at Birdland (in anticipation of the new venue, he’s opening next year in partnership with the storied jazz landmark) is an endlessly entertaining study in emotional extremes of the season, from the sublimely swinging (like the opening instrumental, Glenn Miller’s “Bugle Call Rag” and the encore, the “White Christmas” favorite, “The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing”) to the suicidally despondent (like Johnny Meyers’s heartbreaker “After the Holidays”).

Such polarized musical manic depression can only mean one thing: that Mr. Feinstein is mentally preparing himself for the Frank Sinatra centennial, as he further indicates with a twist on the classic Neal Hefti-Count Basie chart of “I Won’t Dance” and underscores with an exuberant, ambitious Sinatra medley at the climax.” (WSJ)
Birdland, 315 W. 44th St.
(212) 581-3080

Dick Hyman
Mr. Hyman, 87, has earned a rare stature as a solo pianist, in performance and on releases like “Dick Hyman’s Century of Jazz Piano,” which is about as sprawling and erudite as it sounds. This engagement will feature him alone with a core premise: jazz standards and stride piano, offered with flair.”(Chinen-NYT)
Dizzy’s Club, Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, 60th St. / Broadway
212-721-6500, jalc.org
At 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. / $30 cover, with a $10 minimum

HANDEL Messiah,
Musica Sacra Chorus and Orchestra
’tis the season to hear Handel’s Messiah.
Carnegie Hall, Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
7:30pm / alas, cheap seats are sold out,
but good seats (parquet) are available, $60-$75

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♦ Before making final plans, we suggest you call the venue to confirm ticket availability, dates and times, as schedules are subject to change.
♦ NYCity (pop. 8.4 million) had 54 million visitors last year and quality shows draw crowds. Try to reserve seats in advance, even if just on day of performance.
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For many the Holiday Season means a visit to the NYC Ballet to enjoy their performance of the “Nutcracker” ballet. Thought Gallery, a very fine site with event info on a range of NYCity cultural topics, surprises us with a comprehensive list of more “Nutcracker” performances around town than you ever imagined. Who Knew?

Going Nuts: A Roundup of Nutcracker Ballet Performances in NYC
By Troy Segal

“A FINELY AGED NUT Many a native NY-er has grown up with New York City Ballet founder George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, a holiday tradition since its debut in 1954. Balanchine based his version on the productions he himself danced in as a child in Russia. Act I serves up the spectacle: a rambunctious holiday party and an epic battle between the armies of the Nutcracker Prince and the multi-headed Mouse King. Act II is devoted to displays of dancing virtuosity by waltzing flowers, jumping candy canes and little clowns that emerge from a lady’s hoopskirt. Nov. 28–Jan. 3.

RED HOT If ballet ever merged with burlesque, the result might be something like Nutcracker Rouge. This strictly-for-grownups version—by Company XIV, which loves to mash up music, Baroque dance and texts and acrobatics—has Marie (not so much a little girl as a nubile young thing) embarking on a discovery of the sweet things in life—and we’re not talking candy canes. The classically trained dancers pose, pirouette and gyrate to the Tchaikovsky’s greatest hits, as well as Madonna’s (we said it was a mash-up, didn’t we?). If you like your hot chocolate with a little spice, this is for you. Through Jan. 4.”

Fini-Wait Until Next Year:

OLDE NEW YORK Every troupe gives The Nutcracker its own twist, but The Yorkville Nutcracker imparts an especially Gothamesque stamp to the ballet. Set in 1895, this version uses actual people and settings of the period: The children’s party is held in Gracie Mansion; the heroine is the daughter of Mayor William Strong; and she and her Nutcracker Prince ride a sleigh to Central Park and to the New York Botanical Garden in The Bronx. Yorkville is the brainchild of Francis Patrelle, founding choreographer ofDances Patrelle, a small troupe dedicated to dramatic and narrative dance. Its performers range from ballet students to principals from other companies, including New York City Ballet’s Abi Stafford and Adrian Danchig-Waring as the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier this year. Dec. 4–7.

A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN Returning for the last time to the Brooklyn Academy of Music, choreographer Alexei Ratmansky’s version of The Nutcracker takes a dramatic approach to the often-saccharine classic: “The Waltz of the Snowflakes,” for example, turns into a nearly fatal blizzard for our heroine Clara, and the Sugar Plum Fairy is explicitly a projection of her desire to be all grown up, rather than just the usual showy anonymous ballerina role. Not that there aren’t plenty of sweet moments, too, from the adorable baby mouse to the magically expanding Christmas tree to the dazzling turns by American Ballet Theatre’s artists. Dec. 12–21.

DANCING IN THE STREETS In contrast to the productions above, The Knickerbocker Suite unfolds the familiar story in modern-day NYC. Those swirling snowflakes turn into shoppers, waltzing in and out of Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s; Mother Ginger, traditionally a lady whose skirts house hidden little dancers, becomes the Statue of Liberty leading a host of immigrants. The concepts are as fresh as the cast, all students of Manhattan Youth Ballet. Dec. 12–14 & 19–21.

TINY BUT TASTY The New York Theatre Ballet is a chamber dance company specializing in streamlined stories for the littlest balletomanes. Its version, dubbed Keith Michael’s The Nutcracker (after is its resident choreographer) and set in an Art Nouveau world, runs only an hour, but packs in all the big turns, using its small cast in ingenious ways and with witty fashions (the Metropolitan Opera’s resident costume designer did the garments). Dec. 19–21.

(Troy Segal-ThoughtGallery.org)

 

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