The world premiere production of The McOnie Company’s Nutcracker is coming to London this Autumn 2023.
Directed and choreographed by Olivier Award winner Drew McOnie, Tchaikovsky’s world-famous score is set to be reimagined for an on stage jazz band by multi-award winning jazz artist Cassie Kinoshi.
Nutcracker will be co-composed by Cassie Kinoshi and Rio Kai, with venue and set design by Soutra Gilmour, costume design by Ryan Dawson Laight, music supervision by Benjamin Kwasi Burrell, lighting design by Joshie Hariette, sound design by Simon Baker, and casting by Will Burton CDG.
The cast for Nutcracker includes Amonik Melaco (Action Man), Sam Salter (Clive) and Patricia Zhou (Sugarplum) with Chanelle Anthony, Christie Crosson, Tim Hodges, Lukas Hunt and Rachel Muldoon.
The show will open new London venue the Tuff Nutt Jazz Club, housed in the Southbank Centre, where Nutcracker will run from 28 October 2023 to 6 January 2024.
Director and Choreographer Drew McOnie, who is Artistic Director of The McOnie Company, said in a statement: “Creating a Jazz adaptation of the Nutcracker for my own company is exactly the sort of wild impossible thing I would daydream about constantly as a young boy. I spent hours devising colourful worlds in my head where great theatre dancers and great musicians would tell stories that made me feel like I belonged somewhere. It’s my desire to fill this Nutcracker with heaps of that childlike wonder but with the added free spirited mischief we all crave at Christmas time. To be creating this production with such an exceptional group of artists is truly thrilling and I cannot wait to introduce this Nutcracker to you… an old friend you are about to meet for the first time”.
Charlie Wood, Co-Director of Underbelly, said: “We’re so excited to be working with The McOnie Company on this radical reinterpretation of a classic title, and we couldn’t be producing it anywhere better than at the Southbank Centre, whose support for the idea and the concept has been crucial to it happening. We hope that the Tuff Nutt Jazz Club along with Drew’s and Cassie’s reimagining of Nutcracker with its wonderful Jazz score will make an exciting new destination for London winter nights out”.
Mark Ball, Artistic Director of Southbank Centre, said: “I am thrilled that we’re creating a brand new venue at the Southbank Centre – the Tuff Nutt Jazz Club – where audiences will experience a magical reimagining of Nutcracker from a brilliantly talented creative team. This is a Nutcracker that transports us to a world of self-discovery and adventure via a vision that brings together a jazz-infused take on Tchaikovsky‘s classic score by Cassie Kinoshi with adventurous choreography and storytelling from Drew McOnie. It signals our own commitment to investing in collaboratively created new performance work that gives audiences unique experiences of theatre and dance. We can’t wait to open the doors and welcome everyone into the world of the Tuff Nutt Jazz Club.”
Following performances of Nutcracker on Thursday to Sunday, audiences are invited to continue their evening at the Tuff Nutt Jazz Club which will host live sessions from leading music artists into the night. Further details to be announced.
Nutcracker is a McOnie Company production produced by Underbelly, Francesca Moody Productions and Southbank Centre with Rachel Edwards and Winkler Smalberg.
Other new Drew McOnie projects coming to London include Cake: The Marie Antoinette Playlist, which is coming to the Lyric Theatre in London from 20 – 24 September 2023; and also his new stage adaptation of Oscar winning movie The Artist is opening in Plymouth in May 2024, with a possible West End transfer planned.