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The Knickerbocker Suite Poster

The Manhattan Youth Ballet opened its fourth season of ‘The Knickerbocker Suite’ on Wednesday night at MMAC. Dubbed “A New York City Nutcracker”, this rendition of the Christmas classic is as much homage to the city it’s set in as a celebration of the holiday season.

The mixed media performance, which runs at a kid-friendly 1-hour, begins with comedic narration by Michael Cerveris, accompanied by a projected comic-strip depicting kids on Thanksgiving, fantasizing about a trip to the big city.

Audiences see the towering Christmas tree that traditionally grows from the stage morph into the Chrysler Building, as the main character Clara (performed by Savannah Lee) is transported to NYC. The conventional characters and settings are replaced with their New York-equivalents—from trumpeting angels at the Rockefeller Center to an ensemble performance of immigrants from far-flung places at Ellis Island.

Particularly memorable acts also include Renaissance characters leaping out of their gilded frames at a museum, and gardeners tending to their flowers in Central Park. With talented performances all-round, the lively spirits of the dancers permeate the theater.  Entertaining for the whole family, ‘The Knickerbocker Suite’ runs through Sunday December 16th.