Showtime needs a little love this season. A lone toy fresh from the factory, he sets off on an adventure, discovering a whole crew of lockin' and poppin' playtime allies to provide a solid dose of holiday spirit. It's all part of the new family-friendly production Toyz, A Hip Hop Nutcracker. The urban-dance performance highlights hip-hop culture through popular house, hip-hop and jazz music (think Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake), as well as traditional breakdancing blended with a bit of ballet and modern dance for good measure. Toyz has no rhyme (or dialogue or singing), preferring to communicate its story through movement.
Choreographed and directed by Boulderite Ken Jimenez, Toyz premieres tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the New Denver Civic Theatre and runs through December 21. The Colorado cast includes fifteen-year-old Misha Hamilton (who just returned from pop sensation Aaron Carter's tour), 30 Seconds to Fame winner Ray Maestas, and Ricardo Changeux, who has been featured in videos for the likes of Monika, Dru Hill and Usher.
Besides bringing a new flava to holiday musicals, producer Chris Starkey says, the performance is about community. "We are trying to broaden the awareness of the general public about hip-hop dancing," he says. "We also want to try to close the gap and introduce today's hip-hop generation to dance and theater."
Tickets, $18.50 to $22.50, with discounts for seniors, are available at the Denver Civic, 721 Santa Fe Drive, or at www.ticketswest.com. For more information, call 303-309-3773 or visit www.motionunderground.com/index2.html. -- Kity Ironton
To the Moon
Scientist has a doggone good tale to tell
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Boulder astrophysicist Dr. Jeffrey Bennett was once a visiting senior scientist at NASA. Now he's published his first children's book, Max Goes to the Moon, which tells the story of how Bennett's dog, Max, teams up with a young girl named Tori to convince people to build a permanent colony on the moon. The real-life Max is an eight-year-old Rottweiler. "He loves adventures, so I expect he'd probably love space travel, too," Bennett says. "He might not like wearing a spacesuit, though."
In the book, Bennett uses dialogue to get inside Max's mind: "A reporter spotted Max's friend, Tori. 'Why did Max howl at the Moon?' he asked. ''m not sure,' said Tori. 'Maybe it's because he wants to go there.'"
To mark the book's publication -- and to recognize the anniversary of the Apollo 17 voyage, the final moon shot (made in December 1972) -- Bennett will read from his new work at 12:45 p.m. today at Fiske Planetarium on the University of Colorado campus in Boulder.
The event is free. For details, go to www.jeffreybennett.com. -- Hart Van Denburg