The Joffrey Ballet Presents the Nutcracker – Lyric Opera Celebrates the Holidays

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Come see The Joffrey Ballet celebrate the holidays with Tony Award®-winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon Chicago-set of The Nutcracker. The critically-acclaimed reimagined holiday classic highlights Chicago’s famous World’s Fair of 1893 returns for 25 performances, December 3 – 27, 2022.

Just about everyone has seen some sort of a traditional version of the Nutcracker, one of the most beloved holiday tales ever. Add in composer Tchaikovsky’s beautiful, classic musical score, and you are in for a treat! The Nutcracker has returned to Chicago’s Lyric Opera House (20 North Upper Wacker Drive). What makes this version so special is that it is set in Chicago’s World’s Fair in 1893. Wheeldon’s The Nutcracker highlights the rich cultural heritage of Chicago and the wonder of the season.

Yumi Kanazawa and Hyuma Kiyosawa (Photo: Todd Rosenberg)

“This glorious production only gets better with time,” said Ashley Wheater, The Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director. “Now, six years since its debut, the holiday magic of the Joffrey’s version of The Nutcracker is perhaps more poignant than ever, a story of family and adventure. But more than anything, it is an homage to a city we cherish so much, and we look forward to celebrating another incomparable holiday season in Chicago once more.” 

Yumi Kanazawa and Hyuma Kiyosawa (Photo: Todd Rosenberg)

No matter how many times I have seen The Nutcracker, the story and performances never grow old, and is as magical as the last time. You cannot help but feel connected to the Nutcracker and the story’s wonderment. This version relocates Marie and her immigrant family to the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, and opens as young Marie and her mother, a sculptress creating the Fair’s iconic Statue of the Republic, host a festive Christmas Eve celebration. After a surprise visit from the creator of the Fair, the mysterious Great Impresario, Marie embarks on a whirlwind adventure with the Nutcracker Prince through a dreamlike World’s Fair.

The Joffrey Ballet, The Nutcracker (Photo: Cheryl Mann)

A ballet in two acts set to Tchaikovsky’s lovely score, The Nutcracker features an award-winning creative team, including Tony Award®-nominated set and costume designer Julian Crouch, Caldecott Medal Award-winning author Brian Selznick, Obie and Drama Desk award-winning puppeteer Basil Twist, Tony Award®-winning lighting designer Natasha Katz and Tony Award®-winning projection designer Ben Pearcy/59 Productions. 

Jeraldine Mendoza and Dylan Gutierrez (Photo: Cheyrl Mann)

Everything in this version of The Nutcracker is absolutely beautifully perfected from the talented diverse cast of dancers to the talented Lyric Opera orchestra to the dazzling costumes to the amazing special effects and stage design. The amazing cast of dancers are from all over the world including the United States, Japan, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, United Kingdom, South Korea, Georgia, Australia, Spain, The Philippines, Puerto Rico, Italy, Cuba and Estonia. 

Jeraldine Mendoza and Dylan Gutierrez (Photo: Cheyrl Mann)

Having the Nutcracker take place during the World’s Fair was a fresh, updated version of an already classic ballet, along with dazzling and breathtaking backgrounds as if you are really traveling back in time to the fair itself. The set was mesmerizing as well, complete with multi-layered projections, utilized to create dynamic visual elements, that were incredibly well integrated with the performances on stage.

The Joffrey Ballet (Photo: Todd Roseberg)

Many of the costumes for the show were based on the fair’s cultural international aspects. One of the most entertaining was Buffalo Bill “lassoing” showgirls during the fast Russian dance number. All of the costumes were well designed and constructed. Also enjoyable to look at were the Great Impresario’s long, graceful, flowy cape (complete with his over 6 foot tall frame) and the Nutcracker soldier.

The Joffrey Ballet Ensemble (Photo: Todd Roseberg)

The overall of this particular Nutcracker is quite the experience, while appreciating an alternate take on the classic tale, including how amazing the international cast was, producing a lovely, immersive experience and feast for the eyes and ears. Do not miss The Nutcracker at the Lyric!

Photos: Credited in photo captions.

Single tickets start at $36 and are available for purchase online at the Joffrey Ballet website, by telephone at 312.386.8905, or at Lyric Opera Box Office located at 20 N. Upper Wacker Drive.


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