I had the extreme pleasure of kicking off Seattle’s holiday entertainment season with a trip to renowned venue The Triple Door for opening night of dynamic duo Lily Verlaine & Jasper McCann’s 12th Annual Land of the Sweets: The Burlesque Nutcracker. It truly is a titillating celebratory feast for the senses – sure to be your new favorite holiday tradition!
Though its a completely new, re-envisioned production, returning attendees will be pleased to see all their favorite characters, such as Verlaine’s Snow Queen and Sugar Plum Fairy, Tory Peil’s “toreadora” Hot Chocolate, the adorable Snowflakes and my personal favorite, Babette La Fave’s Sleepytime Reveler, who has a magical interaction with the mischievous glowing light of a candlestick. Other standout professionally-trained dance talent includes Paris Original, Trojan Original, Alice Cao, Marissa Quimby, Dreamy Tangerine, Moscato Ecstatique and Elektra Luxe, who magnificently execute Verlaine’s elegant yet playful choreography. Stephanie Seymour’s custom costuming is not only lavishly exquisite (with Burlesque sparkles-o-plenty!), but also dynamic and full of surprises as the performers sometimes make multiple transitions and reveals on-stage during the same number! Expect to see just the right amount of tasteful/respectful sexiness and sass; a little skin here and there, balanced with flirtatious innuendos and tongue-in-cheek inferences.
McCann’s smooth-crooning Charles Drosselmingus is a Brian Setzer-like host-with-the-most; emceeing throughout the evening, he equally engages with audience and performers, alike. McCann narratively navigates through the whimsical winter wonderland that is Land of the Sweets and cleverly transitions from each vignette to the next with original songs and witty improvised banter. And, his musical talents don’t end there; he’s also responsible for co-collaborating with local musicians Kate Olson and Michael Owcharuk to create an all-new jazzy arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s iconic Nutcracker Suite, performed live, on-stage by a hyper-talented 9-piece jazz orchestra. The end result, in McCann’s own words, is ” a lean, bawdy, bop/cool-influenced re-imagination of the ballet’s original music.” Pure musical ecstasy to this reviewer’s ears; you’ll be tapping your toes and wiggling your hips throughout the entire evening!
Plan on making a night of it; the venue features cabaret-style seating and offers full dinner and beverage service throughout the show. Audience members are highly encouraged to applause, hoot and holler at the delightful array of dazzling visual and auditory spectacles that grace the Triple Door stage, playing now through December 28th. It might be cold outside, but baby, it’s HOT, HOT, HOT in the Land of the Sweets! Tickets here.