Event—Public Programming

Christmas at the Fair: The Joffrey's New Nutcracker

Photo by Cheryl Mann

Photo by Cheryl Mann

Photo by Cheryl Mann

Photo by Cheryl Mann

Watch the video recording of this event.

Travel to the 1893 World's Fair through a special conversation on The Joffrey Ballet's 2018 production of The Nutcracker, set during the Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

Ashley Wheater, Hedy Weiss, and Alison Hinderliter delve into how this new production’s imagery and dance evoke the historical event of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Film clips of the production illustrate how and why the new Joffrey production was created, relating it to the importance of the actual Fair—to Chicago and to the larger world—and exploring earlier Chicago productions of Nutcracker, by the Joffrey and other dance companies.

Choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker runs December 1-30, 2018, at the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago. In this production, magic is on the horizon for young Marie and her mother, a sculptress creating the iconic Statue of the Republic. As they prepare for their annual holiday celebration, a visit from the charming but mysterious Great Impresario sets off a Christmas Eve dream of whirlwind romance and adventure. Wheeldon's Nutcracker boldly re-imagines this enduring classic for a new generation.

To learn more about the Joffrey's new production, view the Emmy Award-winning WTTW documentary, Making a New American NUTCRACKER.

Download a PDF flyer for this event to post and distribute, and check out a Quick Guide to related materials in the Newberry collection.

Featured Speakers

Alison Hinderliter is Interim Lloyd Lewis Curator of Modern Manuscripts at the Newberry. She also serves as Selector for Modern Music at the library, where she focuses on collections relating to music, theater, and dance.

Ashley Wheater joined the Joffrey in 1985 as a performer, and was appointed Artistic Director in 2007. He has received multiple awards and honors, including the 2010 Lincoln Academy Laureate, the highest honor presented by the State of Illinois, and the 2013 title "Chicagoan of the Year" from the Chicago Tribune.

Hedy Weiss is a longtime Chicago theater, dance, and classical music critic, currently with the "Chicago Tonight" nightly news magazine on WTTW-TV. Her written work has appeared in the London Observer, the Boston Globe, the Lincoln Center Playbill, Pointe Magazine, and many other publications. She received a Special Jeff Award in 2011 for her contributions to Chicagoland theater.

This event, funded by a grant from the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation and cosponsored with the Joffrey Ballet, is part of our programming in connection with the exhibition Pictures from an Exposition: Visualizing the 1893 World's Fair. See it from September 28 to December 31, 2018, at the Newberry.

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