Joffrey Ballet to present ‘The Nutcracker’ set in Chicago

Choreographer Christopher Wheeldon’s American tale relocates Marie and her immigrant family to the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. (Photo courtesy of Joffrey Ballet)

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 N. Upper Wacker Drive, in 26 performances, Dec. 4 – 26.

Plus, signature scenes from the production will be projected on the world’s largest canvases, Art on the Mart, 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 the Mart’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 and Franklin streets on Nov. 26 – Dec. 30, in two airings, at 7:30 and 8 p.m. More information can be found at

“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.”

“The Nutcracker” features live music performed by the Lyric Opera Orchestra and at will be performed at the Lyric Opera House, 20 N. Upper Wacker Drive, in 26 performances, Dec.4 – 26.  (Photo courtesy of Joffrey Ballet)

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.

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 St., and by telephone at 312-386-8905, or online at