Think Monty Python meets Alice in Wonderland. “One Tough Nut,” an original full-length dance piece that’s a comically twisted take on the traditional Nutcracker, has its world premiere Saturday and Sunday, December 16 and 17, at the Villa Victoria Academy Theater in Ewing.
“One Tough Nut” is choreographed by New York’s Geoffrey Doig-Marx, named “one of nine dancemakers making history,” by Dance Spirit Magazine. Doig-Marx commutes twice a week from the city to teach at Professional Center for the Arts in Hamilton. The cast of “One Tough Nut” features 55 students from the school between the ages of 8 and 51.
Also featured in the cast are several working professionals from the area including Mark Melodia, a Princeton University graduate, Class of 1985, a Pennington resident,and a lawyer with Reed Smith in Princeton Forrestal Village, in the role of Drosselmeyer. Also in the cast are Michael Thornton of Hamilton Square, a team leader at Wegman’s, in the roles of rich party guest and Father Klumpf, and Margaret Doyle of Plainsboro, a part-time consulting actuary for Windsor Strategy Partners in Princeton Junction, who plays several roles including Claudia Klumpf and Lola Sirena.
Doig-Marx, known for his signature jazz and theater dance style, keeps the Tchaikovsky score for Act I but adds songs and music of different styles and eras into Act II. Further, he has taken the story out of Victorian England and the Land of the Sweets and placed it, well, in Bulgaria.
“One Tough Nut” is the story of young Clara Darling, whose parents vanish while on a smelting trip to the Amazon jungle. Clara is placed in Frauline Edna and Arlene Schnizelhoff’s Home for Wayward Girls. Her classmates make her life miserable until a strange visitor enters the school. The Queen of the Snow Fairies gives Clara a map and sends her on a journey through a small hidden door into the most beautiful world that she has ever seen — with Sugar Plum Industries, the Wrong Side of the Tracks, and other hilarious goings-on. And yes, one character melts at the end.
“One Tough Nut,” Professional Center for the Arts, Saturday, December 16, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, December 17, at 3 p.m., Villa Victoria Academy Theater, 376 West Upper Ferry Road, Ewing. Original full-length, decidedly comic twist on “The Nutcracker.” $13. Tickets available at the door. 609-586-3008. www.professionalcenterforthearts.com.