WTTW Chicago has announced it is about to go into production on “The Nutcracker Behind the Scenes,” a new documentary to air locally this fall and then in the wider PBS market. The film will be a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of choreographer Christopher Wheeldon’s new take on “The Nutcracker” for the Joffrey Ballet — a production that had its world premiere at the Auditorium Theatre in December, 2016, and will return to that stage for the 2017 holiday season. The ballet’s scenario is unique in that it is set against the fabled Colombian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago.
The documentary will reveal how this new ballet was devised, and will introduce audiences to the exceptional team of creative talents assembled for the project by the Joffrey’s artistic director, Ashley Wheater. In addition to the Tony Award-winning Wheeldon (whose Broadway hit, “An American in Paris,” will make a stop at the Oriental Theatre, July 25-Aug. 13), they include: Brian Selznick (who wrote the book that inspired the Oscar-winning film “Hugo”); puppeteer Basil Twist; scenic designer Julian Crouch; and Tony Award-winning lighting designer Natasha Katz. The team re-imagined the classic story of Clara, who is now called Marie, and is no longer from a wealthy family but is the daughter of a 19th-century Polish immigrant sculptress working on a statue for the World’s Fair. Marie’s Christmas Eve dreams are triggered by the wondrous fairground.
The hour-long WTTW documentary is being produced by Daniel Andries. It will premiere on WTTW in November.