Joffrey’s 'The Nutcracker' Still Delights

December 12, 2013
Chicagoist
Michelle Meywes

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he Nutcracker has been a holiday tradition for generations. It’s a ballet, an iconic score and a story that has been adapted countless times into a range of disciplines. Robert Joffrey’s "The Nutcracker" premiered in 1987 and after 26 years has proven to be a new classic as it returns for its annual holiday run at the Auditorium Theatre. Joffrey stuck close to the original ballet from 1892 but gave it more of an American feel, placing Act One in a 19th century American home with pieces of his own childhood influencing the set.

The pomp and grand display of the show is a big draw for kids, who fill the aisles dressed in their finest attire. These young audience members are excited to see other children dancing on stage—118 to be exact—as mice, soldiers, snow tree angels and dolls. The performance is also a fun opportunity for young and old alike to see live classical ballet, complete with tutus and tiaras. The best displays of talent and technique come through in the the Land of the Snow and Waltz of the Flowers scenes, both choreographed by the company’s co-founder, Gerald Arpino. The Snow Queen and Sugar Plum Fairy are true ballerinas as they guide Clara through the Kingdom of Sweets in Act Two. Joffrey’s Musical Director Scott Speck and The Chicago Philharmonic also get to shine, performing Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s classical score live with each performance.

Robert Joffrey’s "The Nutcracker" runs through December 28. Check the Joffrey website for showtimes.Tickets range from $31 to $132.