A Guide to 2010’s Cures for the Common Christmas Show

Now that Christmas is so close we can almost taste the red-and-green sugar cookies, we’re starting to sour on your typical seasonal entertainment. It seems like everyone’s all The Christmas Story this, It’s A Wonderful Life that. So, if you’re like us, you may be searching for a new, original, and exciting way to get your holiday cheer on. We’ve got great alternatives for everything from The Nutcracker to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular after the jump.

Instead of The Nutcracker, see The Hard Nut

Over the weekend, we had a chance to check out The Hard Nut, a revival of visionary choreographer Mark Morris’s 1991 take on Tchaikovsky’s classic Nutcracker, which runs through December 19th at Brooklyn Academy of Music and closes out the organization’s annual Next Wave Festival. The ballet updates The Nutcracker to the sparkly, disco ’70s and is faithful enough to satisfy fans of the original. But it’s also full of witty and subversive touches: Fritz is played by a woman, while men dance the roles of both Mrs. Stahlbaum/the queen and the housekeeper. Morris’s Act I-closing snowflakes actually create a beguiling snowstorm onstage. And the enormous, black-and-white sets, based on the work of comic artist Charles Burns, are reminiscent of both graphic novels and German Expressionist film. With The Hard Nut, Morris — who also plays Dr. Stahlbaum and the king in the BAM production — playfully juxtaposes minimalism (his cast numbers 35; a traditional production might include 130 dancers) with excess to create a stunning spectacle we’re sure would have won over Tchaikovsky himself.