Joffrey Ballet Announces Inaugural Season at Lyric Opera House and Return to Live Performances
Wednesday, May 19, 2021 (Chicago) – Ashley Wheater MBE, The Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director of The Joffrey Ballet, proudly announces The Joffrey Ballet’s inaugural season at the Lyric Opera House, marking the Company’s long-awaited return to the stage with live performances featuring several new-to-the-stage works, highly-anticipated remounts, company debuts, and the world-premiere adaptation of a classic American story. The Joffrey Ballet begins its 2021–2022 season with the triumphant mixed repertory program, Home: a Celebration, October 13–24, 2021, including original works by choreographers Chanel DaSilva, Joffrey Rehearsal Director Nicolas Blanc, Joffrey Artist Yoshihisa Arai, and a beloved ballet classic choreographed by Joffrey co-founder Gerald Arpino. Soon after, the Joffrey celebrates the return of Christopher Wheeldon’s magical production of The Nutcracker, December 4–26, 2021, followed by the Joffrey remount of Yuri Possokhov’s family-friendly, humorous version of Don Quixote February 16–27, 2022. Closing the season in spectacular fashion is the world-premiere adaptation of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men by choreographer Cathy Marston (featuring an original composition by Academy Award®-nominated composer Thomas Newman), and the Joffrey premiere of Serenade by dance pioneer George Balanchine, April 27–May 8, 2022.
All performances take place at the historic Lyric Opera House in downtown Chicago at 20 North Upper Wacker Drive.
Joint statement from Ashley Wheater MBE, The Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director, and Greg Cameron, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Joffrey:
“After an extraordinary year of unknowns, we can think of no greater pleasure than announcing the Joffrey’s coming season of hope, renewal, and joy. The return of live performance is a welcome salve right now, a chance for all of us to come together again and share the magic of the stage. We are thrilled to present a season that represents the Joffrey on so many different levels, including three works by close members of the Joffrey family, a work of genius by Yuri Possokhov, a world-premiere adaptation of a powerful American story from Cathy Marston, and a Joffrey debut by George Balanchine—a giant of the art form. We also celebrate the return of Christopher Wheeldon’s The Nutcracker, a production that is sure to uplift spirits this holiday season. Adding to all of this is the beginning of our partnership with Lyric Opera House, which we are so proud and excited to call our new home. On behalf of everyone at the Joffrey, we cannot wait to see audiences at the theatre soon.
Safety and COVID-19 Precautions
The health and safety of the Joffrey artists and audience members remain the Joffrey’s priority. The Joffrey continues to monitor the state of COVID-19 with its venue partner, Lyric Opera House, as well as safety officials with the city of Chicago and state of Illinois, to ensure the safest in-person viewing experience for live performances. Changes and adjustments include touchless fixtures in the theatre, upgraded air filtration system, and mandatory face covering requirements for all attendees, among other COVID-19 safety protocols.
Theatre capacity may be limited this coming season. In the event of a performance cancellation, patrons can choose between a full refund, credit to account, or converting their tickets to a fully tax-deductible donation to The Joffrey Ballet. Patrons who experience any COVID-19-related symptoms and cannot attend the performance will have tickets credited to their account.
About the 2021–2022 Season
Home: a Celebration, October 13–24, 2021 (10 performances)
The Joffrey’s mixed rep fall program marks a celebratory return to the stage.
Birthday Variations, choreographed by Joffrey co-founder Gerald Arpino with music by Giuseppe Verdi, was commissioned in 1986 by Becky D’Angelo as a birthday present to her husband Dino, who owned Chicago’s Civic Opera House and loved Verdi’s music. This lively and melodic ballet is considered one of Arpino’s most popular creations.
Joffrey’s 2020 Winning Works choreographer Chanel DaSilva finds beauty in the complex and multifaceted experience of what it means to be human with her work, Swing Low an original creation for five men, set to the avant-garde rhythms of cellist and composer Zoë Keating. Swing Low reflects DaSilva’s deep connection to the transformative power of the arts and the indelible joy of movement. The Joffrey’s world premiere of Swing Low will take place at Ravinia on September 17, 2021.
Under the Trees’ Voices is the newest ballet from Joffrey Rehearsal Director Nicolas Blanc and channels the power of community in the age of social distancing. This four-movement world premiere for the stage, set to Symphony No. 2 by Italian composer Bosso, imagines a future of hope and unity. Under the Trees’ Voices had its digital premiere on April 30, 2021, as part of Joffrey’s Studio Series.
Joffrey Company Artist Yoshihisa Arai takes audiences on a journey through time and space with Boléro. During this world premiere for the stage, 15 dancers take inspiration from the seminal score of the same name by composer Maurice Ravel, and are adorned in costumes designed by Joffrey Company Artist Temur Suluashvili. Boléro had its digital premiere on February 12, 2021, as part of Joffrey’s Studio Series.
The Joffrey Ballet is grateful for Swing Low Commissioning Sponsors Bruce Sagan and Bette Cerf Hill, and Under the Trees’ Voices Commissioning Sponsors ITW and Grubhub.
The Nutcracker, December 4-26, 2021 (28 performances)
©Christopher Wheeldon’s reimagined classic follows young Marie and the Nutcracker Prince on a Christmas Eve journey through the 1893 World’s Fair, a dazzling spectacle of sights, sounds, and enchantment. This annual holiday tradition celebrates the magic of the season and the rich cultural heritage of Chicago.
A ballet in two acts set to Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s classic score, The Nutcracker features an award-winning creative team, including Tony Award®-nominated set and costume designer Julian Crouch, Caldecott Medal Award-winning author Brian Selznick, Obie and Drama Desk award-winning puppeteer Basil Twist, Tony Award®-winning lighting designer Natasha Katz and Tony Award®-winning projection designer Ben Pearcy/59 Productions.
With gratitude to The Nutcracker Commissioning Sponsors: Margot and Josef Lakonishok, Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust, Hancher Auditorium, University of Iowa, and the many “Believers”.
Don Quixote, February 16–27, 2022 (10 performances)
A family-friendly ballet full of bravery, fantasy, and love, Yuri Possokhov’s fresh interpretation of this revered ballet classic set to Ludwig Minkus’s score centers on Don Quixote, an aging and eccentric nobleman, who imagines himself to be a valiant knight. With his trusted sidekick Sancho Panza in tow, Quixote embarks on a humorous and fateful journey, ready to breathe life into a world where windmills become monsters and adventure awaits beyond the horizon.
Special thanks to Presenting Sponsors Margot and Josef Lakonishok and Mr. and Mrs. Joel V. Williamson, Major Sponsors Lorna Ferguson and Terry Clark, and the Poetry Foundation.
Spring Program: Of Mice and Men and Balanchine’s Serenade, April 27–May 8, 2022 (10 performances)
The Joffrey premiere of Serenade, set to the original score by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, is George Balanchine’s first ballet created in America in 1934 and originated as a lesson in stage technique, using unexpected events from rehearsals as the basis for the choreography. According to The George Balanchine Trust, “When one student fell, he incorporated it. Another day, a student arrived late, and this too became part of the ballet.” Balanchine subsequently reworked the ballet several times before landing on its current iteration, which features four movements based on a score by Tchaikovsky: Sonatina, Waltz, Russian Dance, and Elegy.
The world premiere of Of Mice and Men marks Cathy Marston’s first original creation for The Joffrey Ballet. Marston previously staged the Chicago premiere of her critically acclaimed production of Jane Eyre for the Joffrey during the 2019-2020 season. The dance story follows George Milton and Lennie Small, two drifters looking for work on the golden farms of Depression-era California. When tragedy strikes, George and Lennie face difficult choices that test the nature of their friendship. Marston goes from page-to-stage with Steinbeck’s tender tale of friendship, perseverance, and sacrifice, with an original score by Academy Award®-nominated composer Thomas Newman.
Thanks to Serenade Production Sponsor Patti Selander Eylar and all of the Of Mice and Men Commissioning Sponsors: Producing Sponsor Denise Littlefield Sobel, Major Sponsors The Rudolf Nureyev Fund at The Joffrey Ballet, Northern Trust, and Prince Charitable Trusts, and Sponsors Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, Northrop at The University of Minnesota, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Of Mice and Men was created with funds from the Prince Prize for Commissioning Original Work, which was awarded to Cathy Marston and The Joffrey Ballet in 2019. This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Tickets and Subscriptions
Three-program subscriptions, which do not include The Nutcracker, start at $120. Single tickets (available at a later date) start at $35. Subscriptions are available for purchase online at joffrey.org, by mail (Joffrey Ballet Subscriptions, The Joffrey Ballet, Joffrey Tower, 10 East Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60601), by telephone at 312.386.8905, by fax at 312.739.0119 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All performances and dates subject to change.