The Axelrod Theater in Deal is one of my favorite places at the Jersey Shore to see a show. They bring NYC Broadway talent to our backyard! Now they have created a Jersey Shore Rock Ballet!

The Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theater (AXCBT) presents a new holiday tradition, “The Nutcracker ROCKS” with a Jersey Shore rock-and-roll twist that reinvents this holiday favorite.

Running six performances the weekend of Dec. 20 at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center, “The Nutcracker ROCKS” is the brainchild of AXCBT Director and Choreographer Gabriel Chajnik, who invited other production partners to help  reimagine Tchaikovsky’s beloved “Nutcracker” score for a new “Jersey” generation.

In the New Jersey version, written by Julliard-trained actor and librettist Reuben Jackson, a bored Clara must endure her family’s posh holiday party on the Upper East Side until her eccentric Uncle Drosselmeyer arrives. Played by Asbury Park singer-songwriter Matteo DeBenedetti, Drosselmeyer shows up with his untraditional (rock!) music, magical toys, and a special gift for Clara—a Nutcracker holding an electric guitar.

Uncle Drosselmeyer then transports Clara to a magic land—the Jersey Shore —where the “Land of Sweets” takes place at none other than Van Holten’s Sweet Shop on the Seaside boardwalk. For the youngsters (and other chocolate lovers) coming to the show, Van Holten’s Sweet Shop has crafted a special candy in honor of the performance, which will be sold in the lobby during the performances!

“’The Nutcracker ROCKS’ is an exciting original collaboration of Jersey Shore talent,” explains Chajnik. The original Tchaikovsky score was recorded by the MidAtlantic Symphony orchestra in Ocean Grove’s Great Auditorium conducted by Maestro Jason Tramm while the overlying rock element was composed and arranged by X Squared Productions, comprised members of the band The Gaslight Anthem, which originated in New Brunswick.

As the choreographer says, Lincoln Center may have ‘The Nutcracker,’ but the Jersey Shore now has ‘The Nutcracker ROCKS.’”

Other Jersey Shore contributors include associate choreographers Dylan Pearce from Point Pleasant, whose credits include assistant choreographer for the “Radio City Christmas Spectacular,” choreographed the exciting battle scene features over 60 students including dancers from Howell High School.

“The Nutcracker ROCKS” can be seen from Dec. 20-22 at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center, located in the Deal Park section of Ocean Township.

CLICK HERE for tickets.

The theater is located at 100 Grant Avenue in Deal Park, NJ, It is handicap accessible and provides free, ample parking onsite.