How do you like your Nutcracker? Traditional ballet? Whimsical? No dancing at all? This year, the Chicagoland area has a Nutcracker production for everyone. No matter where your family might be or when, there are Nutcrackers galore from Thanksgiving until December 31. The information below came from different press releases. Be sure to visit the websites for the most up-to-date information
Perhaps the most anticipated version of The Nutcracker will premiere on December 10. This year, the Joffrey Ballet has completely reimagined the story, moving it to Chicago. Christopher Wheeldon, winner of the 2015 Tony Award® for Best Choreography for An American in Paris, created a $4 million production which comes to life through an award-winning team of top creative minds.
“A ballet in two acts, The Nutcracker opens on Christmas Eve, 1892, as workers from around the world construct the Chicago Columbian World’s Exposition, set to open five months later. Marie and her younger brother Franz arrive at home, a little shack where their mother, a sculptress, is creating a masterpiece that will preside over the fair. Workers from the fair soon arrive at the shack as a festive Christmas party begins.”
“ACT II begins as they arrive on shore, greeted by the Queen of the Fair who grants them a visit to a dream like World’s Fair. They move from pavilion to pavilion, where countries from around the world are represented. As the dream comes to a close, the Fair explodes with light and Marie suddenly awakes to find it is Christmas Day.” This grand, expansive production takes place at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.joffrey.org.
Young kids might be happier at a smaller, shorter version of The Nutcracker. The Marriott Theatre has a one hour production that stays true to the classic story. “A new musical of this classic tale comes to life for children of all ages when Marie receives a beautiful nutcracker for Christmas from her mysterious Uncle Drosselmeyer. When the Nutcracker comes to life, it’s a magical journey to reach the Sugar Plum fairy before the wicked Mouse King. A special one-hour presentation for kids of all ages, featuring Tchaikovsky’s beautiful dance music.”
What’s great about the Marriott Theatre family productions is that after the show, the kids get to peak behind the scenes. The actors stay on stage answering audience questions so the kids can ask the actors all those things that they thought about during the show. We’ve seen several of these discussions. The actors are wonderful with the kids. It’s worth adding an additional 30 minutes to your schedule to participate. You can find more information, including ticket prices, performance dates and direction to the Lincolnshire location, at the Marriott Theatre.
The Ruth Page Civic Ballet presents its annual production of The Nutcracker, at Northeastern Illinois University, in Chicago, Saturday, Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 4 at 1 and 5 p.m. This was the first version of The Nutcracker I saw as a child when the Ruth Page Civic Ballet performed at the Arie Crown Theater. What makes this production special is the addition of guest artists from Cuba’s National School of Ballet. This is part of an historic cultural exchange program which was supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. In addition to having four Cuban guest artists, Catherine Conley (The Snow Queen) will train with Cuba’s National School of Ballet. Of course, “exquisite dancing, stunning costumes and magical settings in the Land of Snow and the Kingdom of the Sweets, these performances promise world-class entertainment and holiday joy for children of all ages.” Performance tickets and “Tea with Clara” tickets are now on sale and may be purchased at www.ruthpage.org., the Ruth Page Civic Ballet’s performance recreates Ruth Page’s original full-length staging.
Last, but certainly not least, is wonderful House Theatre of Chicago’s all-original, ballet-free version of The Nutcracker. The premise for this version might now sound like an uplifting holiday show, but when the House Theatre tells a story, it’s always magical. “The House’s fantastical expansion of this holiday classic centers on young Clara’s journey to celebrate Christmas in the face of grief after the death of her brother, Fritz. When Fritz returns to her as a magical nutcracker come to life, this brave little girl fights the Rat King and saves her family. The House’s modern holiday theatrical production weaves together riveting dialogue, astonishing puppetry, original song and spellbinding spectacle to tell a heartwarming, darkly moving story of magic and hope—a fun outing fit for the whole family. “
“The House’s modern holiday theatrical production weaves together riveting dialogue, astonishing puppetry, original song and spellbinding spectacle to tell a heartwarming, darkly moving story of magic and hope—a fun outing fit for the whole family.” This production takes place at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division, Chicago. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.thehousetheatre.com.
Shari writes about life with twins at Two Times the Fun. Image courtesy of The House Theatre.
Category: Shari's Corner