The Joffrey Ballet’s critically acclaimed reimagined classic, The Nutcracker, by Tony Award®-winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, returns to open the holiday season at the historic Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, in downtown Chicago at 50 East Congress Parkway, in 29 performances, December 1-30, 2018

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The reimagined holiday classic highlights one of Chicago’s greatest moments of achievement—the famous World’s Fair of 1893—
culminating the Fair’s 125th anniversary year

At the Auditorium Theatre, in 29 performances, December 1-30, 2018


CHICAGO (October 29, 2018)– The Joffrey Ballet’s critically acclaimed reimagined classic, The Nutcracker, by Tony Award®-winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, returns to open the holiday season at the historic Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, in downtown Chicago at 50 East Congress Parkway, in 29 performances, December 1-30, 2018.


“The Joffrey Ballet’s holiday gift to Chicago is a Nutcracker that the city can call its own, one that tells the story of Chicagoans and the magic of family,” said Ashley Wheater, The Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director. “I can think of no better way to end the 125th anniversary year of the Chicago World’s Fair than with this magical production that delights audiences of all ages. Creating this work with Christopher Wheeldon has been one of my proudest moments as Artistic Director at the Joffrey.”


A ballet in two acts, The Nutcracker opens in Chicago on Christmas Eve, 1892, mere months before the opening of the 1893 World’s Fair, a marvel unlike anything the city has ever seen. Marie and her younger brother Franz arrive at home, where their mother—a sculptress of modest means—designs the seminal masterpiece that will preside over the Fair. A festive Christmas potluck ensues, only to be interrupted by the mysterious Great Impresario, creator of the World’s Fair. He entertains with enchanting visions of what is to come, distributing gifts in the process, including a mercurial nutcracker doll for Marie. That evening, Marie awakens to an epic battle between toy soldiers and rats led by The Rat King and the now life-size Nutcracker. Unexpectedly, Marie saves the day, as The Great Impresario and the Nutcracker, now transformed into a Prince, set sail on a magical journey into the night.


The second act begins as the trio arrives on the shores of the fairgrounds, greeted by the Queen of the Fair, who grants them a dream-like visit among the sprawling attractions. They move from pavilion to pavilion, all representing countries from around the world. As the dream ends, the Fair explodes with light and Marie suddenly awakens to find it is Christmas Day.


The Chicago Philharmonic, led by Joffrey Music Director Scott Speck, provides live accompaniment of the classic score by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky for every performance. The full Joffrey Company is also joined onstage by over 88 young dancers from the Chicagoland area and young vocalists from local choirs.


The Nutcracker features design by an award-winning creative team, including Tony Award®-nominated set and costume designer Julian Crouch (Broadway’s Head Over Heels), Caldecott Medal Award-winning author and illustrator Brian Selznick (Caldecott Medalist and author of the New York Times bestseller Wonderstruck), Obie and Drama Desk award-winning puppeteer and MacArthur Fellowship recipient Basil Twist (The Addams Family), six-time Tony Award®-winning lighting designer Natasha Katz (An American in Paris, Frozen) and Tony Award®-winning projection designer Ben Pearcy (An American in Paris, Hedwig and the Angry Inch).



The Joffrey Ballet performs The Nutcracker Saturday, December 1 through Sunday, December 30. The full schedule is as follows: Saturday, Dec. 1 at 2:00pm and 7:00pm, Sunday, Dec. 2 at 2:00pm, Friday, Dec. 7 at 7:00pm, Saturday, Dec. 8 at 2:00pm and 7:00 pm, Sunday, Dec. 9 at 2:00pm, Thursday, Dec. 13 at 7:00pm, Friday, Dec. 14 at 7:00pm, Saturday, Dec. 15 at 2:00pm and 7:00pm, Sunday, Dec. 16 at 2:00pm and 7:00pm, Wednesday, Dec. 19 at 7:00pm, Thursday, Dec. 20 at 7:00pm, Friday, Dec. 21 at 2:00pm and 7:00pm, Saturday, Dec. 22 at 2:00pm and 7:00pm, Sunday, Dec. 23 at 2:00pm and 7:00pm, Monday, Dec. 24 at 2:00pm, Wednesday, Dec. 26 at 2:00pm, Thursday, Dec. 27 at 2:00pm, Friday, Dec. 28 at 2:00pm and 7:00pm, Saturday, Dec 29 at 2:00pm and 7:00pm, and Sunday, December 30 at 2:00pm


Single tickets, which range from $35-$199, are available for purchase at The Joffrey Ballet’s official Box

Office located in the lobby of Joffrey Tower, 10 E. Randolph Street, as well as the Auditorium Theatre of

Roosevelt University Box Office, by telephone at 312.386.8905, or online at


About The Joffrey Ballet

Classically trained to the highest standards, The Joffrey Ballet expresses a unique, inclusive perspective on dance, proudly reflecting the diversity of America with its Company, audiences, and repertoire, which includes major story ballets, reconstructions of masterpieces and contemporary works.


The Company’s commitment to accessibility is met through an extensive touring schedule, an innovative and highly effective education program, including the much-lauded Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet, Community Engagement programs and collaborations with myriad other visual and performing arts organizations.


Founded by visionary teacher Robert Joffrey in 1956, guided by celebrated choreographer Gerald Arpino from 1988 until 2007, The Joffrey Ballet continues to thrive under Ashley Wheater, The Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director, and Greg Cameron, President and CEO.


The Joffrey Ballet is grateful for the support of 2018-2019 Season Sponsors: Abbott Fund, Alphawood Foundation Chicago, NIB Foundation, and the Daniel and Pamella DeVos Foundation; Live Music Sponsors Sandy and Roger Deromedi and The Marina and Arnold Tatar Fund for Live Music; and 2018-2019 Season Partners: Clear Channel Airports, Chicago Athletic Clubs, Preferred Hotel JW Marriott, and Official Provider of Physical Therapy Athletico.


Special thanks to 2018 The Nutcracker Production Sponsors Citi® and Jewell Events Catering, and to The Nutcracker Commissioning Sponsors Margot and Josef Lakonishok, Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust, Hancher Auditorium – University of Iowa, and the many “Believers.”

For more information on The Joffrey Ballet and its programs, visit Connect with the Joffrey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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