|BalletRox celebrates its 10th anniversary of the Urban Nutcracker, which is playing at the Wheelock Family Theatre through Dec. 19. Pictured above are two of the featured performers — Sugar Plum Fairy (Janelle Gilchrist) and Cavalier (Joe Gonzalez). (Photo courtesy of Charles Daniels Photography)
I caught up with friend and comedian D.L. Hughley while he was in town performing at the Wilbur Theatre. Before his shows, Hughley, Gary (his security) and I kicked off the evening with dinner at Island Creek Oyster Bar in Kenmore Square near Hotel Commonwealth.
What a fantastic restaurant! The food was amazing from the Hama Hama oysters to the main course of seafood — for both of them — and pork chop for me. I know it’s a bit strange to order in a seafood restaurant, but it was oh so delicious. And chocolate pudding was for dessert, just heavenly!
If you’re looking for great food experience, then Island Creek Oyster Bar is definitely the place. We had great food, great service and a fantastic time. And before we knew it, it was off to the Wilbur for two shows, where Hughley talked about everything from current events and sports to entertainment and politics. And for good measure, he threw in stories about his children and growing up.
One of the topics he put his spin on was the infamous Tiger Woods incident. I was cracking up backstage when he said, “Tiger had sex with women who were all white. He doesn’t need counseling; he needs diversity training.”
After the shows, it was on to the W for a little down-time. I may be biased, but Hughley is truly one of the best stand-ups in the country. Make sure you see him next time he’s in town.
Party at Nordstrom
My wonderful friend and fashion icon, Mary Skelton Roberts, invited me to the Fashion Rewards Private Holiday Shopping Party at Nordstrom at the South Shore Mall. Shoppers and fashionistas alike were waiting in line with bated breath for the doors to open at 7:30 p.m. while being served hot chocolate.
Just like in the movies, the doors opened and it was a dash into the store, where we were greeted with cheers and applause from the store employees. They were lined up on both sides of the first level walk-way to wish us a happy holiday and to kick-off our shopping with pear martinis and a little bubbly with raspberries.
The whole store was open to us as the sounds of Search Party performing favorite Christmas classics serenaded us as we shopped. And Blackstone Caterers from Newport, R.I., were on hand with hors d’oeuvres of garlic shrimp, beef brisquet, curry chicken on pita and mini fig pizzas (this one was my favorite).
Two hours, one cashmere scarf and one beautiful camel-colored wool fedora hat later, I toasted the evening with a glass of eggnog and made my way out of Nordstrom before I fell completely under the spell of Santa’s elves.
Anthony Williams’ Urban Nutcracker
This year marks the 10th anniversary of BalletRox’s Urban Nutcracker. I attended the final dress rehearsal (which was my first time ever seeing this production) before opening night and had a ball! I’ve had the pleasure of seeing The Nutcracker and it’s a wonderful story but Urban Nutcracker retells the classic tale more vividly and colorfully, from the costumes to the music to the dance.
What impressed me so was the diversity of the cast not just in ethnicity, but also in age. From young to old, this is a night of just plain old fun! From the moment the story begins with the Doo Wop singers and hip hop dancers to the finale of Clarice returning to her living room (from the Land of Fantasy) accompanied by the Sugar Plum Fairy, Drosselmeyer and Minimeyer, the Urban Nutcracker is a holiday tradition for all ages.
After being enthralled by the dancers and the music, I truly believe that with some training, that I too can be a dancer. Don’t laugh. And that’s what’s so special about this production.
It makes you believe that no matter your ethnicity, size, age or dance skills, you too can be on that stage, and that all is possible. And, isn’t that what part of the holiday season is about? Urban Nutcracker is a must-see for the whole family. It’s playing at the Wheelock Family Theatre through Dec. 19.
Women for Whittier Holiday Tea at the Copley Fairmont Hotel
It was my second year attending the holiday tea for Whittier Street Health Center and it was a fabulous event! The ballroom was aglow with holiday decorations and there was a buzz in the air as women were connecting with new and old friends.
The guest speaker this year was the dynamic Ms. Gloria Mayfield Banks, the number one African American seller of Mary Kay cosmetics in the world. She is also a nationally renowned speaker who has appeared on CNN, ABC-TV and CNBC, and on this day she delightfully shared the secrets to her success. Her journey has been amazing. She overcame dyslexia to earn a college degree and an MBA from Harvard, left an abusive marriage and a corporate career at IBM 20 years ago to sell Mary Kay — quickly ascending to elite executive national sales director with Mary Kay, Inc.
Banks was engaging, funny and inspirational. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room. In attendance were Frederica M. Williams, president and CEO of Whittier Street Health Center; Colette Phillips, president and CEO of Colette Phillips Communications; Karen Holmes-Ward, host and executive producer of WCVB-TV’s City Line; Denise Hajjar, fashion designer and Jackie Glenn, EMC’s vice president of diversity.
The 41st Annual Black Nativity will be held this year at Northeastern University’s Blackman Auditorium the weekend of Dec. 17-19.
Usher comes to the TD Garden on Dec. 21.
The Wilbur Theatre presents former Fugee Ms. Lauryn Hill for one show on Monday, Dec. 20.
The Roots make their first appearance at Showcase Live in Foxboro on Dec. 30.
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