Ashley Wheater MBE, The Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director of The Joffrey Ballet, today announces the Joffrey's 2023–2024 Season at Lyric Opera House, featuring a Chicago debut of a full-length gothic masterpiece set in the dawn of modern science; a mixed rep program featuring a world premiere; the return of a Swedish tour de force; and a holiday tradition boldly reimagined for a new generation.
The Joffrey Ballet begins its 68th season with Liam Scarlett's Chicago premiere of Frankenstein, October 12–22, 2023, a critically acclaimed, modern vision of Mary Shelley's 19th-century science fiction novel. Soon after, the Joffrey celebrates the return of Christopher Wheeldon's enchanting production of The Nutcracker, December 2–27, 2023, followed by Studies in Blue, February 15–25, 2024, an enlightening mixed rep program with original work choreographed by Scarlett and Andrew McNicol, rounded out with a world premiere by Stina Quagebeur. Closing out the season is the return of Alexander Ekman's otherworldly trip into Midsummer Night's Dream, which is far from a Shakespearean tale, April 25–May 5, 2024.
“Our 2023-2024 season invites audiences to journey with us through some of the most gorgeous worlds created for the ballet, full of love and pain, tragedy and triumph,” says The Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director Ashley Wheater MBE. “We begin by honoring the memory of a brilliant artist with the Chicago premiere of Liam Scarlett’s Frankenstein, an epic story told at a grand scale, its delicate emotion rendered in fine detail. Another of Liam’s works, the breathtakingly beautiful Hummingbird, finds exceptional company in the works of Andrew McNicol’s layered and sophisticated Yonder Blue and a powerful world premiere from Stina Quagebeur. Through a reunion with a long-time partner, Chicago audiences will again tread the fantastical realm of Alexander Ekman’s Midsummer Night’s Dream in all of its splendor and strangeness. This season, audiences will find spectacle, intimacy, and above all, humanity at the ballet.”
“Since its founding, our company has followed Robert Joffrey's guiding principles of creating compelling performances, inspirational education, and artistic innovation,” added President and CEO Greg Cameron. “Ashley Wheater has masterfully curated our 68th season with productions that illustrate these ambitions through modern interpretations of classic tales and bold new narratives. With a nod to the past and an eye on the future, our commitment to making dance accessible to everyone through ‘Joffrey for All’ initiatives brings captivating storytelling to the Lyric Opera stage, the Chicago community, and beyond.”
All season performances take place at the Lyric Opera House in downtown Chicago at 20 North Upper Wacker Drive. All programs throughout the season feature live music performed by the Lyric Opera Orchestra, conducted by Scott Speck, Music Director of The Joffrey Ballet.
About the 2023–2024 Season
Frankenstein, October 12–22, 2023
Choreography: Liam Scarlett | Music: Lowell Liebermann
The critically acclaimed adaptation of Mary Shelley’s gothic masterpiece, Frankenstein, is a visceral, profoundly emotional tale of life, death, love, and identity. Set to Liebermann’s original sweeping score and immersed within the stunning stage design by world-renowned artist John Macfarlane, this must-see Chicago premiere is one of the most innovative works of dance today.
Frankenstein takes the audience on a captivating journey through scientist Victor Frankenstein’s ambitious plan to animate a patchwork of lifeless body parts, setting in motion a detrimental chain of fateful events. Scarlett’s 19th century and dawn of modern science production retains the essential nature of Shelley’s novel while transforming previous notions of horror into an allegory of the human condition.
Learn more about Liam Scarlett here.
With gratitude to Frankenstein Presenting Sponsor: Anne L. Kaplan.
The Nutcracker, December 2–27, 2023
Choreography: ©Christopher Wheeldon | Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Witness the magical 1893 Chicago World’s Fair with young Marie and her Nutcracker Prince in Tony Award®-winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon’s holiday masterpiece. It’s a celebratory Christmas Eve, and thanks to a surprise visit from the enchanting Great Impresario, Marie embarks on a spellbinding adventure into a realm of spectacle and wonder. Experience our holiday magic in this must-see tradition boldly reimagined for a new generation.
A ballet in two acts set to Tchaikovsky’s classic 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.
Learn more about Christopher Wheeldon here.
The Nutcracker is presented in 25 performances, December 2–27, 2023.
Studies in Blue, February 15–25, 2024
The Joffrey celebrates a mixed rep program featuring deeply moving works by choreographers Liam Scarlett and Andrew McNicol, and an innovative world premiere by emerging artist Stina Quagebeur.
The full program is as follows:
Choreography: Andrew McNicol | Music: Peter Gregson
In this Joffrey commissioned piece, McNicol creates a sense of vastness in Yonder Blue with minimalist costuming and unique lighting. McNicol draws inspiration from writer Siri Hustvedt’s illuminating book A Plea for Eros. In the book, Hustvedt describes “yonder” as a word that shifts and moves, implying distance between one place and another. “Blue” similarly holds multiple associations — honesty and melancholy.
Learn more about Andrew McNicol here.
Choreography: Stina Quagebeur | Music: Jeremy Birchall
Praised for her masterful blending of classical and contemporary ballet, Quagebeur intuitively communicates universal journeys, whether that be abstract or narrative. Described in Dancing Times as a choreographer who “managed to express abstract ideas through dance with the sort of clarity that indicates serious talent,” Quagebeur is one of the most inspiring artists working today. Quagebeur’s world premiere at the Joffrey conveys the blight of addiction, and the longing to feel connected amidst devastation. She describes this work as “the story that statistics can’t tell and that words alone cannot do justice to.”
Learn more about Stina Quagebeur here.
With gratitude to Stina Quagebeur World Premiere Sponsors: Anne L. Kaplan and Courtney C. Shea
Choreography: Liam Scarlett | Music: Philip Glass
Hummingbird takes flight in a breathtaking expression of human emotion. Set to Glass’s three-movement Tirol Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, Scarlett articulates profound love and longing through the progression of three pas de deux. Surrounded by the striking artistry of John Macfarlane’s stage design, Scarlett’s dynamic choreography invites audiences to embrace compassion, reminding us of what it feels like to be human. Dance Europe hailed it as a “perfect mix of music, choreography, staging…it takes your breath away.”
Learn more about Liam Scarlett here.
Studies in Blue is presented in 10 performances, February 15–25, 2024.
Midsummer Night’s Dream, April 25-May 5, 2024
Choreography: Alexander Ekman| Music: Mikael Karlsson
Far from a Shakespearean tale, Ekman’s Midsummer Night’s Dream is a mind-bending trip to a surreal realm of unearthly delights. Set during the traditional Scandinavian summer solstice festival, dancers celebrate a day of revelry and romance under the maypole, which soon unravels into an otherworldly dream. Ekman’s picturesque fusion of classical and contemporary ballet blurs the line between the real and the imagined and makes us wonder, is it all a dream?
Learn more about Alexander Ekman here.
Midsummer Night’s Dream is presented in 10 performances, April 25–May 5, 2024.
With gratitude to Midsummer Night's Dream Presenting Sponsor and Costume and Build Sponsor: Lynda Sue Lane M.D., and Major Production Sponsor: Mary Jo and Doug Basler.
Tickets and Subscriptions for the Joffrey’s 2023–2024 Season Performances
Three-program subscriptions for the fall, winter, and spring season productions, which do not include The Nutcracker, start at $111. Subscriptions are available for purchase online at joffrey.org, by mail (Joffrey Ballet Subscriptions, The Joffrey Ballet, Joffrey Tower, 10 East Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60601), by telephone at 312.386.8905, by fax at 312.739.0119 or by email at email@example.com.
Single tickets for the October, February, and April performances, as well as The Nutcracker, will be available starting this summer. Single tickets are available by telephone at 312.386.8905 or online at www.joffrey.org. Please visit our website for updates.
All performances are subject to change.
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 65 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.
The Joffrey Ballet is grateful for the support of its 2023–2024 Season Sponsors: Abbott Fund, Alphawood Foundation Chicago, Daniel and Pamella DeVos Foundation, Anne L. Kaplan, and The Florian Fund.
Live Music Sponsors: Sandy and Roger Deromedi, Sage Foundation, The Marina and Arnold Tatar Fund for Live Music. The Joffrey also acknowledges our Season Partners: ATHLETICO and Chicago Athletic Clubs.