The Nutcracker celebrates its 25th anniversary

November 29, 2012
Chicago Now
Shari Schmidt


The Joffrey Ballet celebrates the 25th Anniversary of Robert Joffrey’s The Nutcracker in a 22-performance engagement at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, December 7 – 27. Last year, Joffrey’s Nutcracker was recognized with the Goldstar National Nutcracker Award (affectionately nicknamed “The Nutty”) as the “Best Loved Nutcracker” in the United States.

The curtains rose on The Joffrey Ballet’s The Nutcracker on December 10, 1987, at the Hancher Auditorium at the University of Iowa. 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.

The story of The Nutcracker is well known, yet still new every time. 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, then being delighted by an exotic array of dancing confections from the beautiful Sugar Plum Fairy.

The Chicago Philharmonic, led by Joffrey Music Director Scott Speck, provides live accompaniment of the classic Tchaikovsky score for every performance. 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 Barrington Children’s Choir, the Jones College Prep High School Treble Choir, the Lincoln Park Neighborhood Choir of Chicago Children’s Choir, the Pro Musica Youth Chorus and the Providence-St. Mel School Choir.

For more information about The Joffrey Ballet and its programs visit