I’m blown away by Joffrey Ballet’s The Nutcracker. What makes this version stand out is that it’s set in Chicago, on Christmas Eve before the Columbian Exposition of 1893.
The shift from Germany to old Chicago was a brilliant idea. Clara’s family is poor and she lives with her family in a (very large) cabin for construction workers. The story remains essentially the same. For Christmas, Clara (aka Marie in some versions) receives a beloved nutcracker, which is broken by her rambunctious brother Fritz. Drama ensues and when Clara finally goes to sleep she has fantastic dreams of the Columbian Exhibition’s White City with Buffalo Bill dancing and a slew of performers from all corners of the globe.
Tchaikovsky’s music is among my most favorite and is well known even to people who don’t follow classical music. It’s played beautifully by the Chicago Symphony.
The setting and special effects were magical using projected archival images from the actual World’s Fair. The sets in both acts were creative and captivating.
I loved seeing all the young girls dressed up to see this ballet. Their excitement rubbed off on me.
This is a must-see show.