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Joffrey Ballet’s ‘The Nutcracker’ a magical holiday tradition

A scene from the Joffrey Ballet production of "The Nutcracker." | Cheryl Mann Photo

A scene from the Joffrey Ballet production of "The Nutcracker." | Cheryl Mann Photo

If there ever was a greeting card, picture-perfect production to see in Chicago during the holidays, it’s the Joffrey Ballet’s “The Nutcracker.” Set amid the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, the production coincides with the 125th anniversary of the Columbian Exposition.

The Joffrey Ballet
When: Through Dec. 30
Where: Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, 50 E. Congress
Tickets: $35-$199
Info: joffrey.org

“We celebrate the people of Chicago, whose enterprise and hard work built the fair and rebuilt this dynamic city following the Great Fire of 1871,” said Joffrey Ballet artistic director Ashley Wheater. “The Nutcracker story is told beautifully beneath the soaring arches of the White City and among the vibrant sounds and colors of the fair’s Midway.”

Wheater and Tony Award-winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon recruited an all-star creative team to bring their vision of the Chicago-themed “Nutcracker” to fruition. The story line centers on Chicagoans Marie and her younger brother Franz, who are eagerly anticipating the World’s Fair while their mother is busy designing the masterpiece that will preside over the fair. From there, the magic begins courtesy an influx of toy soldiers and dancing rats, and of course, the Nutcracker. And yes, as the story goes, the Nutcracker’s transforms into a Prince. Eventually, the dreamlike sequence comes to its conclusion on Christmas Day.

And while the sight of some of the world’s most prominent ballerinas is enough to make for a magical production, there is also the music of the Chicago Philharmonic, led by Joffrey music director Scott Speck. The production also boasts the talents of over 88 young dancers from across the Chicago area. There is also a bevy of young vocalists from local choirs utilized in the production.

Tricia Despres is a local freelance writer.