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Dancers in the White City

There will be a new adaptation of the classic ballet The Nutcracker in Chicago

Seeing The Nutcracker is as much of a Chicago holiday tradition as watching the tree lighting ceremony in Daley Plaza. But while the 55-foot evergreen’s decor changes each year, the whimsical ballet production has stayed steadfast—until now. This holiday season, the Joffrey Ballet will showcase an entirely new adaptation of the classic tale (December 10–30). Instead of the traditional 19th–century parlor setting, the Joffrey rendition will take place at Chicago’s 1893 World’s Fair, the legendary event that transformed the White City. The $4 million production is the brainchild of 2015 Tony award-winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, known for his work on the Broadway hit An American in Paris, which he also directed. Ashley Wheater, the Joffrey’s artistic director, knows Wheeldon was the right person to reinvent the timeless classic while retaining its magic. “I’ve danced in many Nutcrackers through the years and understand the power of a good story,” says Wheater. “But we live in a diverse and rapidly changing world. Our storytelling must recognize these changes.” 

10 East Randolph Street; joffrey.org.

Photo by Todd Rosenberg

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