Okay, let me get this straight.
You live in Boston or within driving distance of the city.
You call yourself a cultured person.
You’re all about inclusion.
And yet, somehow, you’ve never seen Tony Williams’ Urban Nutcracker.
Are you kidding me?
I take it personally, because not only are you missing out on a performance of 75 children and adults of all races, ethnicities, and Boston neighborhoods, but now you’re going to miss me as well.
That’s right—for one night only, on Sunday, December 17 in the 7:00 show, I’ll be Officer Michael, ushering the ducklings from Make Way for Ducklings to safety across the stage of the Back Bay Events Center in the old John Hancock Building in the Back Bay.
How on Earth could you miss that?
I’ll be easy to spot—I’m the only 59-year-old Caucasian non-dancer in the program.
But my role is important. The ducklings have to make it to safety, or God knows what will happen.
That’s my job, I take it seriously, and I want you to be there to see me.
Forget about me. You’ve got to see Urban Nutcracker.
The show combines all musical genres, from Tchaikovsky to hip hop, from jazz to rap, from doo-wop to, well, I’ve run out of musical genres.
There’s all kinds of dancing, all kinds of movement, singing, and spoken word.
The show started in 2001, when William, the first mixed-race dancer in the history of Boston ballet, had started his company and was trying to figure out a way to motivate kids—especially boys, who weren’t exactly ballet-friendly, to get onstage.
By incorporating musical genres with which the young men and women were familiar, he was able to attract dozens of kids, and now more than 125, to be a part of Urban Nutcracker.
It’s a full-on Nutcracker, kid friendly, adult friendly, and just plain community friendly.
It’s very hard not to love, when you see the youngest of the young, adolescents, and teens, all working together to make the show a huge success.
Last year, Williams allowed me to participate in the party scene early in act I.
I didn’t flub any of my lines, because I didn’t have any lines.
I have no lines this year either, but I do get to whistle twice—I’m a cop, after all—and I get to gesticulate broadly, to stop traffic and then lead the ducks safely to, well, wherever they’re going.
I’m a method actor, of course, so I’ve been trying to get into the mind of a Boston police officer, so that I can really feel the part.
How would Brando play this, I wonder?
Okay, let’s tell the truth.
If they had me do anything else other than whistle, point, spin once, and give a nod of the head indicating mission accomplished, the whole show might collapse under the weight of my failures.
But I’m not going to let that happen.
It’s a thrill and an honor to perform once again in Urban Nutcracker, and I hope that you’ll attend one of the performances.
There’s even an autism-friendly show that has fewer big light cues and somewhat modified music, presented for the fourth straight year.
Urban Nutcracker is an essential part of the fabric of social culture in Boston.
Be there or, well, now that I’ve got a Boston police jacket, I’m going to track you down and write you up.
Tony Williams’ Urban Nutcracker, Back Bay Events Center, 12/15/17, 12/16/17, 12/17/17, 12/22/17, 12/23/17, 12/24/17, 12/26/17, 12/27/17, 12/28/17
For further information, www.urbannutcracker.com