Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Not Your Mama's Nutcracker

Fourth annual Byrlesque at the Byrd features surreal retelling of holiday classic.

Posted By on Wed, Dec 2, 2015 at 12:30 PM

click to enlarge Local burlesque vet Deanna Danger gets in the holiday spirit.
  • Local burlesque vet Deanna Danger gets in the holiday spirit.

For those tired of the traditional Nutcracker tale, the fourth annual Byrlesque at the Byrd might just be the remedy. As part of her tour of historic state theaters, local burlesque starlet Deanna Danger and her ladies are presenting "KnucklesCracker: A Roarding, Ragtime, Retelling of the Nutcracker" this Sunday, Dec. 6 at the Byrd.

For the first time, this year's show at the Byrd will feature an all live musical score from Harrisonburg-based modern/vintage Americana band, the Judy Chops.

"I'm really excited with the way the dance and movement elements have developed. There's been lots of room for creative liberties and each character has really let their own unique personality shine through," says Danger. "The result is a very vintage Vaudeville slapstick, almost Charlie Chaplin-esque tableau. Perfect for the setting of the Byrd Theatre!"

She also stressed how fantastic it was working with the Judy Chops.

"It's quite a feat to work an entire soundtrack...adapting the classic Tchaikovsky tunes into the Judy's style is no simple task. Every time I'd get a musical update from them, I'd actually squeal out loud in delight! Their take on the Arabian piece gave me goosebumps! You've probably never heard the Nutcracker played with slide guitar...well you're going to on Sunday and are likely to get the same haunting, chilling goosebumps I did, but even more so."

Here's more from the press release, with ticket information following:

T’was the night before Byrlesque at the Byrd and Great Auntie Drosselmeyer's "Sugartown Speakeasy," vaudeville cabaret of snowflakes, sugarplums and showgirls is all set for their biggest night of the year. But "Knuckles Ratson" and his gang prove to be a little more than the club can handle, when Knuckles' desire for Auntie's leading starlet, “Clara” gets out of control. "KnucklesCracker" is a roaring, ragtime re-imagining of the holiday classic, set amidst Prohibition era America, and is just as much HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” and Hunter S. Thompson novel as it is the classic ballet. This lighthearted and whimsical romp through the political and social climates of this bygone era, parallels more our world of today, rather than a night at the ballet, leaving you with visions of tassels twirling and girls whirling, with a visit to the sugarplum absinthe fairy along the way.

In this 4th annual production from Richmond-based burlesque starlet and purveyor of “good times,” Deanna Danger, Byrlesque at the Byrd will for the 1st time have an all live musical score from Harrisonburg, VA based modern, vintage Americana band, The Judy Chops! The marriage of juxtapositions between old and new in KnucklesCracker, along with an ensemble-cast production, classic vaudeville set design (from Deepa de Jour, VMFA Burlesque curator and VCU Arts graduate, portraying leading burlesque starlet Clara), absurd and elaborate costuming, innuendos of lascivious behavior, classism, patriarchy, punking the system any chance the underdogs get, and so much more, creates a surrealist burlesque play for this historic 20s era grand movie palace, rather than the typical variety show. KnucklesCracker seeks to challenge KnucklesCracker…if nothing else, the audiences minds (along with awakening other “regions” of the human body), harkening back to burlesque root’s in nineteenth century European theatres, as an art and commentary of “everyman’s theater” for “parody, mockery and ridicule” to society.

If a swingin’, magical, sexy, blood pumpin’ and foot stompin’ night of good old fashioned burlesque and vaudeville is what your heart and holiday spirit needs, KnucklesCracker, will be lighting up The Byrd Theatre Sunday, December 6th! Tickets and info at Pre-sale tickets also available at Bygones Vintage Clothing in Carytown. KnucklesCracker will also be showing at the State Theatre on 12/11 in Falls Church, VA, and the Jefferson Theater on 12/13 in Charlottesville!

Date: Sunday, December 6th, doors 7:30pm, show 8:00pm Address: 2908 W. Cary St., Richmond, VA 23221 Tickets: $50 “Gold” VIP, $20 “Frankincense” Preferred Seating, $15 “Myrrh” General Admission; Pre-sale tickets available online at:, “Frankincense & Myrrh” level tickets also available at Bygones Vintage Clothing in Carytown. Website here. Also Touring: 12/11 at the State Theatre in Falls Church, VA, 12/13 at the Jefferson Theater in Charlottesville Producer: Deanna Danger



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