CHICAGO (November 12, 2013) - The Joffrey Ballet celebrates the 26th annual presentation of Robert Joffrey's The Nutcracker, Chicago's most popular holiday tradition and America's #1 Nutcracker, in a 23-performance engagement at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, 50 E. Congress Parkway, December 6 - 28, 2013.
The Chicago Philharmonic, led by Joffrey Music Director Scott Speck, provides live accompaniment of the classic score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky for every performance.
The curtains rose on The Joffrey Ballet's The Nutcracker on December 10, 1987 at the Hancher Auditorium at the University of Iowa, with the production then embarking on a national tour, and the American Nutcracker was born. When Robert Joffrey choreographed The Nutcracker, he replaced the traditional European setting with a 19th century American home, populating it with toys from his own childhood underneath the Christmas Tree of the Stahlbaum Family. This original production combines classical grace with explosive action, maintaining the purity of Robert Joffrey's original choreography while sparkling with elegant costumes, an extravagant set by Oliver Smith and a giant Mother Ginger puppet by Kermit Love.
Following a lively party on Christmas Eve, familiar characters Clara and the mysterious Dr. Drosselmeyer embark on a magical adventure, encountering a battle between toy soldiers and legions of mice (where Clara unexpectedly saves the day), before being whisked away with the Nutcracker Prince to an enchanted forest by the elegant Queen and King of Snow. In gratitude for Clara's bravery during the battle, the Sugar Plum Fairy presents her with an exotic array of dancing confections, including Chocolate from Spain, Coffee from Arabia, Tea from China, Nougat from Russia and Marzipan from Denmark (the five famous Nutcracker divertissements). The Nutcracker is inspired by E.T.A. Hoffman'sThe Nutcracker and the Mouse King.
Joffrey Ballet Co-Founder Gerald Arpino also contributed to Robert Joffrey's version, having choreographed the Land of the Snow scene, which closes Act I, and the Waltz of the Flowers in Act II.
The full Joffrey company is joined onstage by 118 young dancers from the Chicagoland area - dancing as Party Girls and Boys, Polichinelles (Mother Ginger's children), Battle Mice and Mounted Mice, Soldiers, Snow Tree Angels and Dolls - and young vocalists from five different local children's choirs perform the choral parts from the magical Snow Scene, including singers from the Anima Young Singers of Greater Chicago, the Barrington Children's Choir, the Jones College Prep High School Treble Choir, the Pro Musica Youth Chorus and the Providence-St. Mel School Choir. The choirs also delight audiences with popular seasonal selections in the Auditorium Theatre's main lobby one half-hour prior to curtain and during intermissions at every performance.
The Joffrey Ballet is grateful for the generous support of The Nutcracker Presenting Sponsor, GEMS World Academy-Chicago. Opening in Lakeshore East, GEMS World Academy-Chicago is the first JK-12 international school in the United States from world-renowned educator GEMS Education. The school connects students from around the world and shares our global vision and commitment to the arts, making this a natural partnership. Sharing our enthusiasm for this partnership, Geoff Jones, GEMS World Academy-Chicago's Head of School, noted the shared values of both organizations: "Just as we support the artistic aspirations of each one of our students, we are honored to celebrate on one of the most esteemed and decorated ballet companies in the world. Fostering a lifelong love of the arts and connecting students with Chicago's world-class cultural institutions like the Joffrey is at the heart of our academic mission." To learn more about GEMS World Academy-Chicago and their mission, visit www.gemsworldacademy-chicago.com/.
The annual production schedule of Robert Joffrey's The Nutcracker is as follows: Friday, Dec. 6, 7 pm; Saturday, Dec. 7, 2 pm and 7 pm;Sunday, Dec. 8, 2 pm; Thursday, Dec. 12, 7 pm; Friday, Dec. 13, 7 pm; Saturday, Dec. 14, 2 pm and 7 pm; Sunday, Dec. 15, 2 pm and 7 pm;Thursday, Dec. 19, 7 pm; Friday, Dec. 20, 7 pm; Saturday, Dec. 21, 2 pm and 7 pm; Sunday, Dec. 22, 2 pm and 7 pm; Monday, Dec. 23, 2 pm and 7 pm; Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2 pm; Thursday, Dec. 26, 2 pm and 7 pm; Friday, Dec. 27 at 2 pm; and Saturday, Dec. 28 at 2pm.
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