Robert Joffrey’s The Nutcracker

The Joffrey's The Nutcracker 2011

A Ballet in Two Acts based on the E.T.A. Hoffman’s

The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (1826)

Music by Peter Ulyich Tchaikovsky (1891-1892)

Conceived and directed by Robert Joffrey

Produced by the Joffrey Ballet

At the Auditorium Theatre, Chicago

The Nutcracker is a dazzling holiday treat as it celebrates its 25th Anniversary

It has been a few years since I’ve reviewed The Nutcracker by the Joffrey ballet. I’ll not wait as long in the future. The Joffrey’s The Nutcracker has appeared here since 1996 after a successful national tour.  It is firmly established as a holiday family tradition and it is on most people’s “must see list.”  If you are new to ballet, come see this one because it beautifully tells the holiday story with vivid movement and dance upon one of the most recognizable music scores every written.

The Joffrey's The Nutcracker 2011The Joffrey's The Nutcracker 2011

Audiences  appreciate the splendor, precision and fluidity of the movements. I love spectacle, colorful sets, vivid lighting and creative costumes. This production has all of these combined with a live 60 piece orchestra from the Chicago Sinfonietta (conducted by Scott Speck) that marvelously performed Tchaikovsky’s memorable score. The dancers were world-class, the choreography was varied combining classical ballet movements with marches, ethnic routines and 19th Century parlor waltzes. The clever choreography told Hoffman’s story so explicitly that words simply were not needed. From the early Christmas Eve setting at the Stahlbaum home in 1850’s America, we see a holiday party with gifts, a giant Christmas tree and as a special treat, dancing dolls are given as well as a nutcracker. The party scenes are rich in period costumes and folk dances.

The Joffrey's The Nutcracker 2011The Joffrey's The Nutcracker 2011

Clara returns to the living room after the party around midnight and is confronted with the mice. She is saved by her Godfather Drosselmeyer who takes her into the Land of Snow. This is the fabulous place where movement is supreme, where ballet takes us into a fantasy land that captivates us with the soaring music and breathtaking dance. In the Land of Sweets, the Sugar Plum Fairy fascinates us in spectacle and movement.

The Joffrey's The Nutcracker 2011

We are engaged from the star and in awe of the craftsmanship, style, technique and discipline of the Joffrey performers.  (The children in particular were outstanding.)The beauty of the flawless dance carries us into a fantasy that makes us appreciate the arts, especially live performing arts.  This ballet is a precious masterpiece.  It is so refreshing to witness performers who are the finest at their craft. I’m have a renewed appreciation for ballet and the Joffery. The Nutcracker is exquisite. The music, the movement, the color and the atmosphere is breathtaking! See it and you’ll agree.

Highly Recommended

Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast

Date Reviewed: December 9, 2011

At the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress, Chicago, IL, www.ticketmaster.com, tickets $30 -$115, Call 312-902-1500, Saturday, Dec. 10 at 2 & 7 pm, Sunday, Dec. 11 at 2 pm, Thursday, Dec 15 at 7 pm, Friday, Dec 16 at 7 pm, Saturday, Dec 17 at 2 & 7 pm, Sunday, Dec 18 at 2 7 7 pm, Tuesday, Dec 20 at 7 pm , Wednesday, Dec 21 at 2 & 7 pm, Thursday, Dec 22 at 2 & 7 pm, Friday, Dec 23 at 2 & 7 pm, Saturday, Dec 24 at 2 pm, Monday, Dec 26 at 2 pm, and Wednesday, Dec 27 at 2 pm, running time is 2 hours, 20 minutes with intermission, through Dec, 27, 2011