Holiday Humor on Stage - Nutz RE-Mixed!

Cliff Warner

The holidays are full of Nutcracker performances but one doesn’t often think of them as laugh out loud entertainment. Tandy Beal’s “Nutz RE-Mixed!” aims to challenge your assumptions of what a Nutcracker performance is from the moment the characters start interacting with the audience pre-show. Billing itself as the “Nutcracker for the 21st Century,” this show is one that will keep all ages of theater-goers entertained from start to finish.  

“Nutz,” now playing at the recently-remodeled Hammer Theatre in downtown San Jose, begins with Ms. Beal welcoming the audience and instantly you feel like an honored guest. The small size of the Hammer Theatre provides an intimate experience for everyone in the audience.

The stage darkens and a spinning fire performance (by Natasha Kaluza) instantly mesmerized my 7-year old son. The quirky antics of the clown narrator (Iman Lizarazu) had him laughing out loud and clapping with glee.

You can expect to see some of the familiar characters like Clara and her benefactor Uncle D, but much of the remainder of the show does not resemble any “Nutcracker” you have seen before. Ballet, while present, is clearly not the focus but rather it is juggling, hip hop, parasol balancing on feet and hula hooping - with a tiny bit of ballet thrown in. The colorful dancers of the Groupo Folklorico Luna y Sol de San Jose State were a crowd-favorite as was the mesmerizing spinning of Elijah Leone on the roue cyr (or the man inside the giant hula hoop as my son explained). The rag doll scene, performed by dancer/gymnast Saki, had everyone gasping out loud and wondering how her legs could bend in so many directions.

Tying it all together are the powerful voices of the three-man, three-woman vocal group SoVoSo. This a cappella group performs variations of Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker” score using only their voices. They are also cleverly interwoven into the scenes and provide additional comedic dialogue throughout.

An escape from the ordinary, “Nutz RE-Mixed!” is an uplifting celebration that you should add to your holiday plans. The show runs 2 hours, 15 minutes including one intermission and would be the perfect theater introduction for kids. Parking at the nearby garage at 2nd and San Carlos Streets is only $5. After the show, walk over to Christmas in the Park to continue the holiday celebration.

Remaining shows:

Fri., Nov. 25, 2 and 7pm  
Sat., Nov. 26, 2 and 7pm
Sun., Nov 27, 2pm
Fri., Dec. 2, 7pm
Sat., Dec. 3, 2 and 7pm
Sun., Dec. 4, 2pm


Hammer Theatre Center, SJSU
101 Paseo de San Antonio, San Jose

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