The Joffrey Ballet’s critically-acclaimed reimagined classic, The Nutcracker, by Tony Award®-winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, is certain to be a highlight of the Joffrey’s first-ever season at the historic Lyric Opera House, 20 North Upper Wacker Drive, in 26 performances, December 4 – 26, 2021. Plus, signature scenes from the production will be projected on the world’s largest canvases, Art on theMart, for the second year in partnership with Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. The digital art projection, designed by local production studio The Mill with music arranged by Joffrey Assistant Conductor & Company Pianist Michael Moricz, will be displayed on theMART’s 2.5 acre river-façade. It can be viewed nightly for free from the ‘Jetty’ section of the Chicago Riverwalk on Wacker Drive between Wells Street and Franklin Street November 26 – December 30, 2021, in two airings, at 7:30 and 8:00 p.m. More information can be found at artonthemart.com/programming.
“The Nutcracker is a celebration of the optimistic spirit that allowed Chicago to rise from the ashes of the Great Chicago Fire and produce the World’s Columbian Exposition 128 years ago,” said Ashley Wheater, The Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director. “We are thrilled to be able to present one of the world's most beloved holiday traditions at the Lyric Opera House for the first time and celebrate the tenacity that enables Chicagoans to overcome even the most extraordinary challenges.”
“After a year away from the stage, The Nutcracker makes its long-awaited debut on the grand Lyric Opera stage for an enchanted homecoming celebration that is sure to inspire holiday joy throughout Chicago and beyond,” added Greg Cameron, President and CEO. “There is something special about the magic of The Nutcracker, and we look forward to bringing it to life once again for Chicago and audiences everywhere.”
Wheeldon’s American tale 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 mysterious Great Impresario, creator of the Fair, Marie embarks on a whirlwind adventure with the Nutcracker Prince through a dreamlike World’s Fair.
A ballet in two acts set to Tchaikovsky’s classic score, The Nutcracker also features designs by an award-winning creative team, including Tony Award®-nominated set and costume designer Julian Crouch, Caldecott Medal Award-winning author and illustrator Brian Selznick, six-time Tony Award®-winning lighting designer Natasha Katz and Tony Award®-winning projection designer Ben Pearcy. The production is currently being adapted by Wheeldon to fit the larger Lyric Opera stage.
The Nutcracker features live music performed by the Lyric Opera Orchestra, conducted by Scott Speck, Music Director of The Joffrey Ballet.
The Joffrey Ballet performs The Nutcracker Saturday, December 4 through Sunday, December 26, 2021. The full schedule is as follows: Saturday, Dec. 4 at 2:00pm and 7:00pm; Sunday, Dec. 5 at 1:00pm and 6:00pm; Thursday, December 9 at 7:00pm; Friday, Dec.10 at 7:00pm; Saturday, Dec. 11 at 2:00pm and 7:00pm; Sunday, Dec. 12 at 1:00pm and 6:00 pm; Wednesday, Dec. 15 at 7:00pm; Thursday, Dec. 16 at 7:00pm; Friday, Dec. 17 at 7:00pm; Saturday, Dec. 18 at 2:00pm and 7:00pm; Sunday, Dec 19 at 1:00pm and 6:00pm; Tuesday, Dec. 21 at 2:00pm and 7:00pm; Wednesday, Dec. 22 at 2:00pm and 7:00pm; Thursday, Dec. 23 at 2:00pm and 7:00pm; Friday, Dec. 24 at 2:00pm; and Sunday, Dec. 26 at 1:00pm and 6:00pm.
Single tickets start at $35 and are available for purchase at The Joffrey Ballet’s official Box Office located in the lobby of Joffrey Tower, 10 E. Randolph Street and by telephone at 312.386.8905, or online at joffrey.org.
About The Joffrey Ballet
The Joffrey Ballet is one of the premier dance companies in the world today, with a reputation for boundary-breaking performances for more than 60 years. The Joffrey repertoire is an extensive collection of all-time classics, modern masterpieces, and original works.
Founded in 1956 by pioneers Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino, the Joffrey remains dedicated to artistic expression, innovation, and first-rate education and engagement programming. The Joffrey Ballet continues to thrive under The Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director Ashley Wheater MBE and President and CEO Greg Cameron.
About Art on theMART
Art on theMART is the largest permanent digital art projection in the world, projecting contemporary artwork across the 2.5-acre river-façade of theMART. This expansive permanent piece of public art continues Chicago’s legacy of providing both residents and visitors with exceptional art that is both free and accessible to all. Projections are visible to the public from Wacker Drive and along the Chicago Riverwalk, with accompanying audio available on the jetty section of the Riverwalk
The program content rotates seasonally and is selected with the assistance and expertise of the Curatorial Advisory Board. The City of Chicago and theMART work in partnership to manage and curate the projected artwork over the course of a 30-year agreement. Privately funded by Vornado Realty Trust, owner of theMART, Art on theMART marks the first time a projection of its size and scope is completely dedicated to digital art with no branding, sponsorship credits or messaging. The permanent projection system illuminates theMART with 34 state-of-the-art projectors totaling almost one million lumens. For more information, visit www.artonthemart.com.
Special thanks to 2021-2022 The Nutcracker Presenting Sponsor, the Women’s Board of The Joffrey Ballet, and Sponsors AARP Illinois, C.D. Peacock, and Mr. and Mrs. Ronald V. Waters III. The Joffrey also thanks Macy’s for its support of virtual Nutcracker programing. The Joffrey gratefully acknowledges The Nutcracker Commissioning Sponsors: Margot and Josef Lakonishok; Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust; Hancher Auditorium, University of Iowa; and the many “Believers.”
The Joffrey Ballet is grateful for the support of its 2021–2022 Season Sponsors: Abbott Fund, Alphawood Foundation Chicago, Daniel and Pamella DeVos Foundation, The Florian Fund, Nancy and Sanfred Koltun, and Live Music Sponsors Sandy and Roger Deromedi, Sage Foundation, and The Marina and Arnold Tatar Fund for Live Music. The Joffrey also acknowledges Season Partners Chicago Athletic Clubs, and Athletico Physical Therapy, official provider of physical therapy for The Joffrey Ballet.