Nutcrackers across Chicagoland are flexing their jaws and sharpening their swords in preparation for the annual battle to be played out on stages large and small. Joffrey Ballet's The Nutcracker (Auditorium Theatre, final performances through December 27), choreographed by Robert Joffrey in 1987, is poised for its final voyage with the company for its 28th consecutive season.
Nutcracker groupies, do not despair! The Joffrey has commissioned Christopher Wheeldon to choreograph a brand new Nutcracker to premiere next year.
Meanwhile, the Joffrey Ballet's roster of stellar Sugarplum Fairies and Cavaliers, along with brilliant soloists in a dessert buffet of character roles from across the globe, will once again delight audiences young and old with its founding director's 19th-Century American setting of the beloved holiday classic.
The production features the Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra, performing the Tchaikovsky score live under the direction of Joffrey Music Director Scott Speck. Young singers from five different local children's choirs and 118 young dancers in children's roles from the Party Scene through The Land of the Sweets compliment the professional cast.
On the North Side, Ballet Chicago's Nutcracker lights up the Athenaeum Theatre's stage (final weekend December 19-20) with former New York City Ballet dancer Daniel Duel's extrapolation of Balanchine's "The Nutcracker". Sponsored by American Girl, it features both professional soloists and accomplished students from the Ballet Chicago School and Studio Company.
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