On & Off Broadway

'Max and Ruby in The Nutcracker Suite'

Review by Elyse Trevers


As soon as the light came up at the NYCB Theatre at Westbury, my almost-4-year-old companion whipped around and started to pay attention to the Christmas scene on stage. Four elves wearing green and red clothing and funny pointed shoes (not pointe shoes) introduced the larger-than-life-sized Ruby and her brother, Max, of the beloved Nickelodeon TV program, "Max and Ruby.” They are rabbit siblings who live with their grandmother and have rabbit friends and neighbors who live together in a friendly bunny world sharing adventures.

This time based on the glorious music of Tchaikovsky, the adventure is "Max and Ruby in the Nutcracker Suite," in which Ruby imagines that she is Clara and Max is Nutcracker Prince Max. Together they visit the Land of Snow and the Land of Sweets. Ruby (Clara) has already informed us that her favorite character in Tchaikovsky's ballet is the Sugar Plum Fairy, so we're on the lookout, and Max is obsessed with where one of the gingerbread cookies Grandma made has run off. The 45-minute journey through ice and snow and sugar begins with the famous score accompanying beautiful and graceful dancers while Clara narrates the scene.

There were some modern twists and changes to the show geared to a younger audience. Instead of nutcrackers, shiny silver robots emerged from the toy box and danced center stage instead. In the Land of Sweets a Candy Wrapper rapped and did a hip-hop dance, and at the end, the audience were encouraged to sway like the flowers in the Flower Waltz.

NYCB Theatre is great for kids; there's literally no bad seat for a colorful energetic show, and the children around me were entranced by the action onstage. My favorite part of Sunday's show was the beautiful professional ballet dancers like the Arabian duo and the Ice Princess. My companion's preferred Max and Ruby and Grandma and she has requested we find more shows with them. Both of us called the show a hit!