Sugar Hill The Ellington/Strayhorn The Nutcracker Arrives in New York

Producer David Garfinkle announced today that the world premiere of sugar hill Nutcracker Ellington/Strayhornthe jazz-infused reimagining of Nutcracker based on the genre-defying collaboration of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, will debut at the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts in Pittsburgh October 19-30, 2022. The production will follow with a tour at New York City Center (131 W 55th St. ) from November 15 to 27, 2022. sugar hill is set to the timeless music of Ellington and Strayhorn and features a libretto by Jessica Swan.

Composer Billy Strayhorn playing the piano (Photo by Steve Schapiro/Corbis via Getty Images)

This original production is directed by Emmy Award-winning, Tony-nominated, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Joshua Bergasse, with choreography by Jade Hale-Christofi. The show features a world-renowned creative team of dance superstars, with additional choreography from Caleb Techer and Jon Boogz, and dance consultation from 10-time Tony Award nominee Graciela Daniele and Kennedy Center Honoree Carmen de Lavallade. Orchestrations and arrangements are by Grammy® John Clayton, winner of the award, and Larry Blank, three-time Tony Award nominee. Dance arrangement by Marc Hummel and cast by Mungioli Theaters, Inc.

American musician Duke Ellington (1899-1974). Undated photograph. (Photo by George Rinhart/Corbis via Getty Images)

A jazz-infused tale of the classic holiday story, sugar hill Nutcracker Ellington/Strayhorn celebrates the music and heartbeat magic of jazz from Harlem to Sugar Hill. A tribute to the joy of collaboration, the beauty of diversity and the power of individuality.

American composer, pianist and bandleader Duke Ellington (1899-1974) stands at left with jazz composer and arranger Billy Strayhorn (1915-1967) during the recording of the Granada television show ‘Duke Ellington and His Famous Orchestra’ at Decca Studios in Chelsea, London on January 22, 1963. The program will first be broadcast on British television on February 13, 1963. (Photo by David Redfern/Redferns)


In a shared press release, A. Alyce Claerbaut, sugar hill Executive producer and niece of Billy Strayhorn, along with Mercedes Ellington, director, choreographer, producer and family historian, and granddaughter of Duke Ellington, said: “The absolute master of self-expression Duke Ellington and classically trained jazz genius Billy Strayhorn, took something thoroughly European, Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, and turned it into a story that symbolizes the American ideal – the freedom of individualism – by marrying it to the jazz. There is no finer visual representation of this than through dance.

Rachel J. Bradford