Goldstar was founded in 2002 by CEO Jim McCarthy and Co-founders Richard Webster and Robert Graff. It is in the business of selling tickets and from its humble beginnings now boasts more than 10 million subscribers and more than 5,000 organizer partners. Goldstar is available in over 70 major U.S. cities and connects audiences to thousands of events. In a press release dated January 14, 2022, Goldstar announced that the Brooklyn, NY based Company XIV was the recipient of the 2021 Goldstar National Nutcracker Award, aka the “Nutty”. The company’s production titled Nutcracker Rouge was in competition with more than 60 companies to win the award which is the only one that honors live performances of the iconic The Nutcracker nationwide.

The award-winning performance troupe was founded in 2006 by classically trained nightlife impresario Austin McCormick, and this was the second time Company XIV won the “Nutty” – the first time being in 2017. McCormick’s work has been presented at the Kennedy Center, LA MAMMA, Symphony Space, The Flea, Alvin Ailey Theater, Walter Reade Theater, Mark Morris Dance Center- and internationally in London, Mexico, Scotland, and Montreal.

Company XIV - "Nutcracker Rouge" - Photo by Mark Shelby Perry

Company XIV – “Nutcracker Rouge” – Photo by Mark Shelby Perry

Every holiday season across the country, audiences have enjoyed numerous versions of The Nutcracker ballet. Here in Los Angeles dance enthusiasts were treated to American Ballet Theatre’s product at The Segerstrom Center; the Los Angeles Ballet performed their version at UCLA’s Royce Hall, the Alex Theatre in Glendale, LA’s Dolby Center and at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center. The Nutcracker was also performed this season by Westside Ballet, Long Beach Ballet, Inland Pacific Ballet, American Contemporary Ballet, and Debbie Allen’s version titled Hot Chocolate Nutcracker, to name only a few.

Companies have been coming up with different versions of The Nutcracker for years. The world-renowned modern dance choreographer Mark Morris’ The Hard Nut premiered in 1991. Disney Productions has their version, as does Sesame Street and I am certain that there are others that I do not know about.

Company XIV - "Nutcracker Rouge" - Photo by Deneka Peniston

Company XIV – “Nutcracker Rouge” – Photo by Deneka Peniston

Company XIV’s Nutcracker Rouge is describes as a naughty re-imagining of Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov’s 1892 ballet The Nutcracker. Running annually to sold out houses for 14 years, Nutcracker Rouge is a one-of-a-kind production that mixes circus, opera, burlesque and lavish designs.

If you are living in New York, or simply wish to stay home and book an online streaming pass, according to the critics Nutcracker Rouge is not to be missed. The New York Times has called Company XIV’s Nutcracker Rouge “exhilarating,” TimeOut NY said that it is “the perfect hot date,” and HuffPost wrote that it is “the holiday performance extravaganza you’ve been waiting for.”  Having viewed the trailer, I agree that this would be a Nutcracker that anyone tired of attending the traditional version might enjoy. You must, however, leave the children at home!

Company XIV - "Nutcracker Rouge" - Photo by Mark Shelby Perry

Company XIV – “Nutcracker Rouge” – Photo by Mark Shelby Perry

Unlike other productions of The Nutcracker, Company XIV will continue running performances of its award-winning Nutcracker Rouge thru Sunday, January 30 at Théâtre XIV in Brooklyn, NY. There are age restrictions as Théâtre XIV is a 21+ establishment.

“Winning the Nutty Award again is the icing on the cake of a truly inspiring season. It brings us pure joy to see guests enter our sparkly world at Théâtre XIV again. We are so glad so many patrons delight in the fantasy,” said Founder/Director/Choreographer of Company XIV Austin McCormick.

Company XIV - "Nutcracker Rouge" - Photo by Mark Shelby Perry

Company XIV – “Nutcracker Rouge” – Photo by Mark Shelby Perry

Company XIV will receive a cash prize to go toward education and accessibility programs, as well as the coveted title of Best Loved Nutcracker in the U.S. and the cherished “Nutty” statuette. The winner of the Goldstar National Nutcracker Award is determined by audience ratings from people who attended 2021 Nutcracker productions through Goldstar. The list of winners of the “Nutty” include: Long Beach Ballet, Colorado Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, MBS Productions, Debbie Allen Dance Academy, Boston Ballet, Kirov Ballet and The House Theater of Chicago.

For more information about Company XIV and the boutique 175-seat venue Théâtre XIV, please visit their website. You can also like them on Facebook, and/or follow them on Instagram.

All Théâtre XIV artists, staff and patrons are required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter. Admission is limited to patrons aged 21 and up.

To learn more about Goldstar, please visit their website.

Written by Jeff Slayton for LA Dance Chronicle.

Featured image: Company XIV – Nutcracker Rouge – Photo by Mark Shelby Perry