(OCEAN TOWNSHIP, NJ) — Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theater (AXCBT) returns home to the Axelrod Performing Arts Center on December 11 to begin its run of “The Nutcracker Rocks,” an annual family-favorite holiday tradition.

This contemporary adaptation of the ballet was conceived by AXCBT Artistic Director Gabriel Chajnik. Based on Tchaikovsky’s beloved score, “The Nutcracker Rocks,” includes a revamped rock score by The Gaslight Anthem’s Alex Levine and Alex Rosamilia. The Gaslight Anthem, a popular New Jersey rock band originated from New Brunswick, NJ.

Josh Canfield plays Uncle Dross
Josh Canfield plays Uncle Dross

Playing the lead role of Uncle Dross is Broadway’s Josh Canfield, once a cast member of NBC’s Survivor. “I was so excited to get asked to join ‘The Nutcracker Rocks’ at Axelrod, because if I am honest, I never thought I’d be in the Nutcracker for the very obvious reason that I’m not a ballet dancer. But Gabriel, our director, has done such an amazing job along with the book writers to enhance the story…Add in some fun additions to the score by Gaslight Anthem and I can guarantee the audiences are in for a real Holiday treat that will be fun and festive for the whole family.”

Nutcracker Rocks stage
“The Nutcracker Rocks” runs from December 11 through 19.

With an updated script by Reuben Jackson and Jason Cohen, “The Nutcracker Rocks” follows a bored, teen Clara, who must endure her family’s posh holiday party on the Upper East Side until her eccentric Uncle Dross shows up with his rock music, magical toys, and a special gift for Clara. He then transports Clara to a magic land—the Jersey Shore —where the traditional Land of Sweets is a candy shop in Asbury Park.

Other Jersey Shore contributors include Associate Choreographer Dylan Pearce (Point Pleasant), whose credits include assistant choreographer for the “Radio City Christmas Spectacular.” Other collaborators include costume designer Jose Solis and scenic designer Fred Sorrentino.


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The fully staged and costumed production features the professional company members and apprentices of AXCBT. “The Nutcracker Rocks” runs from December 11 through 19.

*All audience members (12 and up) must provide proof of vaccination, or a negative COVID-19 PCR test performed by a medical provider within 72 hours of the performance start time. Masks are always required while in the arts center. Tickets range from $48–$56, with exclusive discounts for students. Group rates are also available for parties of ten or more.

When: December 11–19, 2021 (see link below for showtimes)

Where: Axelrod PAC, 100 Grant Avenue, Deal Park, NJ 07723

Handicap accessible and provides free, ample parking onsite.

Tickets:  https://ci.ovationtix.com/35486/production/1075480

Box Office: 732-531-9106

Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theater is a program of the Axelrod Performing Arts Center with performances at the Axelrod PAC located in Deal Park, NJ, and Bell Works in Holmdel. The Axelrod PAC produces a series of professional theatrical productions a year, including musicals, concerts, and student productions. A 501c3 organization, the Axelrod PAC receives major funding for its programs from the NJ State Arts Council.

Learn more about the Axelrod Performing Arts Center and their upcoming performances and events at AxelrodArtsCenter.com

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