For 28 years, families have been witness to one of the greatest Holiday classics of all times, “The Nutcracker” with music by Tchaikovsky. The Joffrey work, with a different look as seen by Robery Joffrey was first presented in 1987. His new look replaced the traditional setting of Europe with a 19th century American home. The toys that he saw as the visions, were toys that he grew up with rather than those of the original European version. The story is still about Clara and the mysterious Dr. Drosselmeyer (filled with magic and certainly a character that bears watching) and an adventure that will hold each child in the audience spellbound. The adults will find themselves taken away from the real world for the two hours of this marvelous experience.
We will see the battle between the mice and soldiers, who are led by the Nutcracker ( a doll that is transformed into a man). It is Clara who saves the day, and Drosselmeyer rewards her bravery by taking on the adventure of a lifetime. The Snow Queen and Kink bring her through the Enchanted Forest to the Kingdom of Sweets where we witness the dance of The Sugar Plum Fairies and an array of dancing confections. There are puppets and a marvelous children’s’ ensemble (two different ones are used in alternate performances). This production has always been a magical afternoon or evening for a family to see as a unit. My granddaughter, Sarah, who many of you know from previous experiences and her friend, Brooklyn were my guests for this performance. The girls are 7 years old, both love dance (which they take classes in) and were excited as we took the drive from the North suburbs to the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University at 50 East Congress Parkway in Chicago.
We took our seats and as the lights dimmed down, their eyes grew larger. The opening is a festive holiday family gathering for Christmas. By the way, my son-in-law, Michael was as intense in his viewing of the production as was his daughter Sarah and her friend. Both girls loved the magic of Drosselmeyer as he made things change from one thing to another, but the both felt that the Finale might be the best part of the show when all the different characters came back out and we could give them the applause they deserved. They both were also impressed by the Mother Ginger puppet (designed by Kermit Love) and the kids that played the Polichinelles, her children. The vocalists from five different local choirs were impressive as were all of the almost 200 dancers who have made this production the experience that it is (or has been).
Yes, this is the last year for Robert Joffrey’s Classic “the Nutcracker”, but only as we know it! What this means is that there will be a new look to the future with a new choreographer designing a new production.He is Christopher Wheeldon whoserecent credits include the Tony Award winning “An American in Paris”. So, I am sure that when December of 2016 comes around, we will be heading to the Auditorium again to hear this famed score but with new choreography. I have always loved the current production, having seen it for at least the last 15 years, but am looking forward to watching the evolution that the Joffrey will bring to the table. These are exciting times!
Meanwhile! This is the end of an era! One that you might want to make sure you have logged in your memory book, for you and your loved ones, so here is the scoop on the FINAL, Farewell performances of this classic. “The Nutcracker” will continue through December 27th with performances as follows:
Thursdays, 12/10 7 p.m. 12/17 at 7 p.m.
Fridays, 12/11 at 7 p.m. 12/18 at 7 p.m.
Saturdays , 12/12 at 2 and 7 p.m. 12/19 at 2 and 7 p.m.
Sunday, 12/13 at 1 and 6 p.m. 12/20 2 and 7 p.m.
Tuesday 12/22 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Wednesday 12/23 at 2 and 7 p.m.
Thursday, 12/24 at 2 p.m.
Saturday, 12/26 at 2 and 7 p.m.
Sunday, 12/27 at 2 p.m.
Tickets range from $32-$136 and are available at the official box office of The Joffrey Ballet at 10 East Randolph Street, at The Auditorium box office, by calling 800-982-2787 or at any of the Ticketmaster outlets. online at www.ticketmaster.com
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. An experience that will become a lasting memory.
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, got to Review Round-Up and click at “the Nutcracker”
To learn more about the upcoming season, visit www.Joffrey.org