A group of dancers pose during their tricks in The Hip Hop Nutcracker

Kurtis Blow: The Rap Legend Who Puts the “Hip” in The Hip Hop Nutcracker

A group of dancers pose during their tricks in The Hip Hop Nutcracker

Bryan Longchamp, Dustin Payne, Lisa “LBOOGIE” Bauford, Lily Frias, Jon “gifted” Jimenez. Photo by Cheryl Mann

These days it’s hard to imagine the music scene without Hip Hop. Since its emergence in the 1970s, it has influenced fashion, art, dance, education, media and entertainment including musical theatre. It features four elements: deejaying (or “turntabling”), rapping (or “MCing”), graffiti painting and “B-boying,” a dance style that incorporates acrobatics, spinning, intricate footwork, and head or back spins.

Kurtis Blow stands onstage in a white suit, his arms outstretched

Kurtis Blow. Photo by Cheryl Mann

Which is just what you’ll see at The Hip Hop Nutcracker, a mash-up of Tchaikovsky’s classic score with all of the core elements of Hip Hop on full display.

And at the very center of the action is Kurtis “The Breaks” Blow performing as the show’s MC.  As the first rapper to be signed by a major label, Blow has been blowing up the charts since 1979 with 10 albums in 11 years including the self-titled “Kurtis Blow,” “Deuce,” “Party Time,” “Ego Trip” and “America.”

Just as Blow’s career has transformed over the past five decades, so has the Hip Hop genre.

“Hip Hop has evolved over 50 years into an increasingly diverse, global phenomenon with one of the most significant developments being the fusion of hip hop with other musical genres like classical music,” says Blow who paved the way for generations of hip hop artists and fans after scoring the first certified gold record rap song in 1980.

As a founding father of hip hop, Blow is also responsible for “Christmas Rappin,” acclaimed for being the first rap holiday song. Fitting, then, that he is setting the stage every night for this acclaimed holiday show.

“The show is a one-of-a-kind, holiday experience that brings together the entire family,” Blow described. “Your kids, mom and dad, and the grandparents can enjoy this show together!

“Every performance, I can’t wait to get back on stage with these talented hip hop dancers and musicians! And I can’t wait to see the audience standing on their feet and throwing their hands in the air and everyone saying, ‘Oh yeah!’”

While the delivery of The Nutcracker might be different, Blow assures us this new twist on a beloved tale will be familiar. “We still have Byron the nutcracker, Maria Clara, the mouse king who is now the mouse queen played by a female b-girl,” Blow explained. “What is different is we have a DJ playing hip hop beats throughout the performance. The sound of the fusion of Tchaikovsky’s classical music with modern hip-hop beats is unbelievable.”

“Hip hop is for everyone just like The Hip Hop Nutcracker.  Audiences have responded to the sprit and message of our show: LOVE conquers all. I really believe that. And we show that every night.”

The Hip Hop Nutcracker
Nov 17 & 18 • Buell Theatre