Selected Events (12/27) + Nutcracker Ballet Performances

Today’s “FAB 5″/ Selected NYCity Events – SATURDAY, DEC. 27, 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.”

Liz Callaway — Cabaret

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

Kwanzaa Celebration— SpecialEvent/ Holiday Performance

Pinstripe Bowl – Boston College vs Penn State  — Sporting Event

Harlem Globetrotters — Sporting Event

For other useful and curated NYCity event info for Manhattan’s WestSide:
♦ “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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Liz Callaway
Broadway favorite Liz Callaway returns to 54 Below this holiday season in Celebrate! This festive evening will feature songs from her Christmas album Merry and Bright as well as personal favorites by Stephen Sondheim, Richard Rodgers, Ahrens and Flaherty and more. To add to the fun, Liz will be joined by her son Nicholas Callaway Foster.
54 Below, 254 West 54th St.
7PM / $45 – $65, minimum $25
646-476-3551 / 54below.com.

Michael Feinstein,‘Happy Holidays: Swinging with the Big Band’
“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 West 44th St (btw 8th/9th ave)
at 9PM / $150-$250 at the tables, $60 at the bar
(includes a drink and these are not bad seats)
212) 581-3080 / birdlandjazz.com

Kwanzaa Celebration
“This year marks the American Museum of Natural History’s 36th annual celebration of Kwanzaa, the annual week-long festival honoring the heritage of African peoples throughout the world. Check out drummers William Diarra Humes and Jason Simmons, learn about cooperative economics (Ujamaa) with Chiedza McCannon of Afrodesiac Worldwide, marvel at a solo performance from Tony-winning tap dancer Savion Glover, and much more.” (dnainfo.com)
American Museum of Natural History, Milstein Hall of Ocean Life and Kaufman Theater on the first floor, Central Park West and 79th St.
Admission is free with museum admission.

Elsewhere, 2 Primo Sporting Events worth a detour:

Pinstripe Bowl – Boston College vs Penn State @ Yankee Stadium
It’s a fine day for a football bowl game, the best weather for a late December game you could hope for. This match up of two teams from the ACC and the Big Ten looks to be competitive with BC only a 3 point fave. BC’s offense depends on a strong running game and averages 252 yards a game. But the Penn State defense excels against the run, and was best in the country, allowing only 85 yards a game. What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? We’ll find out this afternoon.

One of the players to watch is BC’s freshman linebacker #55 Christian Lezzer from western PA, where he was All-State in HS. His two uncles played ball on scholarship for Joe Paterno’s Nittany Lions, so his extended family may have some mixed feelings watching this game.
Yankee Stadium, 161st St. and River Ave, da Bronx
4:30PM / $75 and up

Harlem Globetrotters
The iconic Harlem Globetrotters feature some of the greatest athletes on the planet. With incredible ball handling wizardry, amazing rim-rattling dunks and trick shots, side-splitting comedy and unequaled on-court fan interaction, this must-see event is guaranteed to entertain the whole family creating memories that will last a lifetime.
The Globetrotters will face a great challenge this year, as the infamous Washington Generals are more determined than ever to beat the Globetrotters.The Generals, the last team to beat the Globetrotters, are now coached by a former member of that 1971 team. They are on a mission and will do whatever it takes to win, with a new strategy that is sure to give the Globetrotters a run for their money.

Join Globetrotter stars after the game where they will stay for an autograph, photograph and high five session for fans (subject to availability).
Barclays Center, 620 Atlantic Avenue, at Flatbush Ave.
subway: #2/3 to barclays center (25-30 min from times square)
1PM / $33 and up
800-745-3000 / barclayscenter.com

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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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