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The Hard Nut 

When: Dec. 14-23 2012
Price: $30-$110

If your holidays don't feel complete without drunk swingers, disco, a drag housekeeper, and marvelous dancing, then The Hard Nut belongs at the top of your wish list. After a three-year hiatus, Mark Morris Dance Company's send-up of The Nutcracker brings campy good cheer to Zellerbach Hall (Bancroft Way and Dana St., Berkeley) on Friday, Dec. 14, through Sunday, Dec. 23. Alongside the Barbie dolls, gender-bending snowflakes, and G.I. Joe, Morris himself will dance as Dr. Stahlbaum and the swaggering Elvis-esque rat king. The Hard Nut is a visual feast, with comic-book sets inspired by Charles Burns and groovy costumes designed by Martin Pakledinaz, and a treat for Tchaikovsky fans -- Morris choreographed the complete score, which is a bit longer than that used in typical Nutcracker productions. The Berkeley Symphony Orchestra offers live accompaniment, with the Piedmont East Bay Children's Choir chiming in. Thu.-Fri. 7:30 p.m.; Sat. 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Sun. 3 p.m.; $30-$110. 510-642-9988 or CalPerformances.org

— Claudia Bauer

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