Patty Wetli | For the Sun-Times

For the Sun-Times
The reimagined fairy tale by Black Ensemble Theater has been a holiday tradition for multiple generations of families.
It’s been nearly 20 years since Reginald “Reggio” McLaughlin created “The Nut Tapper,” which also includes swapping out Tchaikovsky’s iconic score in favor of big band tunes.
For the show’s 10th anniversary, the creative team is further stretching boundaries of an already original take on the classic production: The family at the heart of the show is now headed by gay fathers, and Uncle Drosselmeyer is an aunt.
“It’s a perfect story of mankind grappling with their existence … what it is to be content and happy. It reaches all audiences,” says American Blues Theater artistic director Wendy Whiteside.
Chef at Sweet Virginia’s Kitchen makes the pillowy, cinnamon sugar treat from her grandma’s recipe — and serves it complete with the hole.
“It’s a classic film noir — an aging actress falls in love with a younger man and goes nuts,” is how Resnik succinctly sums up the plot.
Though “Splatter II” (as the show’s writer/director refers to it) incorporates some clever callbacks to “Splatter I,” the sequel is more than a splatt-ier retread of its predecessor.
Mounting more ambitious productions was the reason AstonRep traded in its longtime home at Raven Theatre for the larger stage at The Edge.
“It’s easy for people to think Africans can’t tell their own stories. This is an opportunity to tell a story the way we want to tell it,” says Isango’s co-music director Mandisi Dyantyis.