The heart of Donald Byrd’s The Harlem Nutcracker lies in Byrd’s re-imagining of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker in the context of an African-American family in Harlem on Christmas Eve. Set to Duke Ellington’s and Billy Strayhorn’s arrangements from “The Nutcracker Suite”, Donald Byrd’s The Harlem Nutcracker highlights the unique warmth and centrality of the grandmother in African-American culture, the resilience of Black American families, and Harlem as a center of the African Diaspora.

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