Christopher Wheeldon's reimagined classic returns for the holidays. Follow young Marie and the Nutcracker Prince on a Christmas Eve journey through the 1893 World's Fair, a dazzling spectacle of sights, sounds, and enchantment. This annual holiday tradition celebrates the magic of the season and the rich cultural heritage of Chicago.
"...“The Nutcracker” requires a suspension of belief. In Marie’s world, magic is real and miracles happen. And for the Joffrey Ballet, getting its massive, fantastical “Nutcracker” off the ground during a pandemic at their new Lyric Opera home is a feat in and of itself. Indeed, the Lyric’s opulent, gilded proscenium beautifully frames this handsome production, though it was specifically designed for Adler and Sullivan’s Auditorium Theatre down the road."
"...The Joffrey Ballet’s magnificently reimagined “Nutcracker” is only six years old, and last year the grand ballet didn’t happen at all. No wonder it seems like giddy victory at the Lyric Opera House, where Christopher Wheeldon’s 2016 production, a celebration of Chicago’s audacious spirit in the aftermath of the Great Chicago Fire, has been so neatly re-fitted that it seems yet again new."
"...As a child I needed three things to symbolize Christmas. The Little Drummer boy recording by the Harry Simeone Chorale, A Charlie Brown Christmas and The Nutcracker. My parents made sure I had a steady diet of PBS which meant that I grew up on The Nutcracker starring famed Russian ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov. Best known for its score by Pytor IIyich Tchaikovsky, the story itself is adapted from E.T.A Hoffman's "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King". Over the years it has become a staple of Ballet Companies around the world as a celebration of the Holiday season. In its first season at the Lyric Opera House, The Joffrey Ballet brings its version from Tony Award winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon."
"...Chicago, too, comes across as a place of extreme contrasts, with its modest and crowded immigrant neighborhoods situated near the gleaming showcase that was the World's Fair, both tightly connected economically but physically walled off from each other. The Joffrey has done well to set this work during the Columbian Exposition, when Chicago, the worldliest of cities, briefly became a place of magical, breathtaking beauty. This production recaptures that golden moment from long ago. See this spellbinding production if you can."
"...Pure winter magic. The Joffrey Ballet's altogether unique production of "The Nutcracker," which for the first time this weekend arrived on the stage of its new home - the beautiful Art Deco-style Lyric Opera House - has never looked more glorious or been danced more ideally. And seen in the wake of last winter's pandemic cancellation it serves as a glorious symbol of rebirth - one that clearly suggests the enduring passion and discipline of its dancers through recent hard times."
"...The Nutcracker is as much a part of me as chocolate, and I don't think I have made it through a holiday season since I was 4 without seeing a version. I have done Balanchine's Imperial Russian version with the NYC Ballet, tap versions, dramatic versions with no dance or music, an alien version, Nutcracker on Horses, Nutcracker on Ice-I once sat backstage with Maria Tallchief for the version at the Harris, and in South Bend helped Glen Edgerton into his Prince Costume in another. I have had Gerald Arpino himself give me and my tiny daughter a backstage tour at the Auditorium, and for the last decade I have refereed at a Dance-It-Yourself version for very small children. And so when I say the Joffrey Ballet's Nutcracker is a must see for any Chicagoan for a number of reasons, know that I say this with a lot of background."
"...Joffrey Ballet's reimagined "The Nutcracker" delights from start to finish in its new home, the historically stunning Lyric Opera House, where a certain magic fills the air before dancers even hit the stage. Originally choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon and debuted in 2016, this Chicago-set Nutcracker transports the audience to the World's Fair of 1893 while still featuring Tchaikovsky's unforgettable compositions."