Arts and Culture | Local

‘MeshugaNutcracker’ film coming to theaters for Hanukkah

A scene from 'The MeshugaNutrcracker!' (Betsy Kershner)

“The MeshugaNutcracker!,” featuring a Klezmer-ized orchestration of Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite,” debuts in movie theatres nationwide for one night, on Tuesday, Dec. 19.

Called an “enchanting festival of light-hearted glee and meaningful warmth” (Los Angeles Times), this Hanukkah-themed musical comedy arrives on the last night of the holiday, presented by Fathom Events in partnership with Guggenheim Entertainment.

Locally, “The MeshugaNutcracker!” will be shown at the Century Park Place 20, Century 20 El Con and the Century Theatres at the Oro Valley Marketplace at 7 p.m.

“It’s a show that’s really never been done before,” says Susan Gundunas, one of the stars of the ensemble cast. “Not just because there’s finally a big, beautiful show about Hanukkah in the same way there are big, beautiful shows celebrating Christmas, but also because the cast is singing an amazing challenging score that was originally intended for musical instruments! We get to sing the piccolo line and clarinet line of melodies you’ve had in your head forever but that have been wordless for hundreds of years. It’s a real treat to sing such melodious, grand music.”

Alongside original lyrics in honor of Hanukkah, “The MeshugaNutcracker!” includes dancing dreidels, singing sufganiot and special guest stars.

“No matter what religion you are, no matter what you celebrate this time of year — it’s about finding the light in people, finding light in yourself, letting the holidays truly illuminate everything around you,” says Shannon Guggenheim, lyricist and one of the co-producers. “And yes, it does sound schmaltzy but that’s why we balance it with a lot of schmaltz in our show! That really is what we’re trying to do: give families something bright and fun but also poignant and meaningful to celebrate this time of year.”

Tickets for “The MeshugaNutcracker!” can be purchased at or at participating theater box offices.