Gindi Auditorium, Bel Air
Presented by: Keshet Chaim
Looking for something different for the holidays that doesn't feature Scrooge, Santa, elves, or a mouse king? The MeshugaNutcracker! is a crazy, fun-filled musical that celebrates the miracle of the oil and the heroes that made it happen. Keshet Chaim presented three performances.
In The MeshugaNutcracker!, the citizens of Chelm (according to Jewish legend, a "town of fools"), gather once a year to perform their Chanukah festival, each telling a tale - in delightfully foolish Chelm style - that celebrates and honors the triumphs of Chanukah heroes from ancient through modern times. All set to the music of Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Ballet."
"For years Jews have joked that the only place to go on Christmas Day is out for Chinese food or to the movies," laughs co-creator Shannon Guggenheim of the National Jewish Theatre Festival. "When we were approached to come up with an alternative entertainment, we were excited to rise to the challenge. Except for a few traditional Channukah songs used in the second act, every single note comes directly from Tchaikovsky's original full ballet. Part of the fun is hearing it played in our Klezmer/Broadway fusion style, with lyrics set to melodies that have been wordless for more than one hundred years."
The MeshugaNutcracker! premiered in December 2003, and, since then, the crazy cast of Chelmniks has toured every holiday season, playing to packed houses, delighting Jews and Gentiles alike. "Loopiness rules in a classic turned nutty," wrote David C. Nichols in the Los AngelesTimes. "By melding Tchaikovsky's immortal melodies with Hanukkah, this lovingly loopy musical creates a treat for the whole family, regardless of their religious beliefs."
Based on stories written and adapted by Eric A. Kimmel (author of "The Jar of Fools") and Peninnah Schram and Steven M. Rosman (authors of "Eight Stories for Eight Nights”),The MeshugaNutcracker! features a book byScott and Shannon Guggenheim, the award-winning and critically-acclaimed producers of San Francisco's "Schoolhouse Rock Live!", with original lyrics by Shannon Guggenheim. It is directed and staged by Scott Evan Guggenheim; choreographed by Shannon Guggenheim; and musical direction is by Stephen Guggenheim.