The Apollo Theater's Ellington at Christmas
Featuring tap master Savion Glover, musical director David Berger, narrator Keith David, singers Lizz Wright and Priscilla Baskerville, the David Berger Jazz Orchestra, Dance Theatre of Harlem dance students, and choir
A joyful holiday salute to the Duke's "Nutcracker Suite" and "Sacred Music," featuring tap master Savion Glover and the Dance Theatre of Harlem School
This special holiday presentation, produced by the Apollo Theater Foundation, features Savion Glover – Newark’s own tap master – in a spirited celebration of the music of Duke Ellington. For a jazzy twist on a seasonal classic, nothing beats a live performance of the Ellington/Strayhorn Nutcracker Suite, a jumpin’ interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s score featuring the 16-piece David Berger Jazz Orchestra and students of Dance Theatre of Harlem. Also on the program is Ellington’s rarely performed, reverent and hip Sacred Music, narrated by actor Keith David and accompanied by orchestra, choir, the soaring voices of Lizz Wright and Priscilla Baskerville and Glover himself.
Toe-tapping phenomenon Savion Glover landed his first Broadway role in The Tap Dance Kid at the age of 10. By his mid-teens he had co-starred with Gregory Hines and Sammy Davis Jr. in the movie Tap and joined the cast of Sesame Street. He also appeared with Hines on Broadway in Jelly’s Last Jam and landed his breakthrough role and a Tony Award for Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk in his early 20s. Glover appeared in Spike Lee’s Bamboozled and the Happy Feet animated movies, in which he performed as the motion-capture dancer for Mumble the penguin.
Musical Director David Berger is a jazz composer and arranger who is recognized internationally as a leading authority on the music of Ellington and the Swing Era. Conductor and arranger for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra from 1988-1994, Berger has transcribed more than 750 full scores of classic recordings, including 500-plus works by Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. In 1996, he collaborated with choreographer Donald Byrd to create and tour the Harlem Nutcracker, a full-length dance piece that expands the Tchaikovsky/Ellington/Strayhorn score into an American classic.