*BET has made a list and checked it twice to gift viewers with an all new slate of programming for the holiday season.
Kicking things off Sunday (Dec. 7) is “The Hot Chocolate Nutcracker.” Written and directed by Debbie Allen, the three-time Nutty award- winning play follows the blueprint of the original “Nutcracker” story as it finds young Kara and her family hosting a grand party on Christmas Eve.
After receiving the gift of a magical Nutcracker filled with hot chocolate, Kara drifts off to a happy sleep and begins her fantastic journey when the Nutcracker comes alive. Places Kara and the Nutcracker explore include a hip hop Candy Cane Lane, mystical Egypt, exotic Bollywood, a dazzling Jazzland and a new South Pole surprise. Their adventure is guided by three wisecracking mice: Harvey, Schmink and Buckey.
In addition to Allen, “The Hot Chocolate Nutcracker” stars Raven-Symoné, Tichina Arnold, Carlos Imperato and Brandon O’Neal and features performances from students from the Debbie Allen Dance Academy. The original score from the critically-acclaimed production play was made possible through musical contributions from Mariah Carey, Arturo Sandoval, Chau-Giang Thi Nguyen, James Ingram and Thump.
Following “The Hot Chocolate Nutcracker” will be “A Very Larry Christmas” starring DeRay Davis, Tatyana Ali, Loretta Devine and Charles Dutton. The film, which airs at 8 p.m. ET/PT Tuesday (Dec. 9), centers on Larry (Davis), a warmhearted guy who, along with Santa’s PR maven Nicole (Ali), helps save Christmas after Santa has a bad accident that renders him incapable of delivering toys on Christmas Eve.
Rounding out the holiday line-up is the “Bobby Jones Gospel Christmas Special” on Dec. 21. Featuring performances from Pastor Shirley Ceasar, Vickie Winans, Jonathan McReynolds, Erica Campbell, the special, which airs at 9 a.m., will also include an appearance by the Howard University Gospel Choir.
“The Hot Chocolate Nutcracker” will air at 8 p.m. ET/PT Sunday on BET. The production can also be seen at UCLA’s Royce Hall at 8 p.m. Dec. 12, 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 13 and 2 p.m. Dec. 14. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster and the UCLA box office.
For a taste of “The Hot Chocolate Nutcracker,” check out the video below: