Press Releases Index

December 2, 2003
CONTACT: Faith Jackson
Office of University Relations

A Jazz Nutcracker to Visit Kean University

UNION, N.J. – Clara's Dream: A Jazz Nutcracker, a high-voltage adaptation of Tchaikovsky's fairy-tale ballet masterpiece, will be performed on Saturday, December 13, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, December 14, at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Kean University's Wilkins Theatre, located on the main campus at 1000 Morris Avenue in Union, N.J.

In a uniquely American jazz-tap celebration, Clara's Dream is a classic coming-of-age story in which a young girl named Clara transcends the traditions of her parents to discover her own place in the world through the magic of jazz music and dance. At the show's heart is Clara's dilemma: to swing, or not to swing? In her dreams she dances wildly, but in real life, she is held back by her mother and father. Guided by her wily Auntie Groove (created and danced by tap pioneer Brenda Bufalino) and her clever Uncle Dross, Clara seeks to find her way through a Christmas party and a family nightclub scene featuring a swinging six-piece live band that blows hot jazz originals of the cool classical Nutcracker themes, joined by leaping snowflake-children, an African drummer who also dances, body-percussionists, Lindy hoppers as well as Irish, jazz and tap dancers. Clara watches and waits until she finally joins the enthusiasm in a rousing tap dance finale.

The composer, arranger and music director for the show is Paul Arslanian, co-founder and former musical director of Jazz Tap Ensemble. Completing the creative collaborative are tap classicist Dean Diggins and comedic dancer Bob E. Thomas. From mime to magic, tap dance to classical ballet, Tchaikovsky to Ellington, the dancers bring exhilarating new life to this holiday classic.

Clara's Dream is recommended for ages 5 and up. Tickets are $15 for the public; $11 for seniors; and $9 for students and children. Black-and-white and color photographs are available upon request. For further information, to order tickets, or request a brochure, call the Wilkins Theatre Box Office at 908-737-SHOW (7469).