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Jonathan Dole as the Creature in 'Frankenstein.' Photo by Cheryl Mann.

Rahm Emanuel, Letter to the Editor

Chicago Sun-Times

On Oct. 22 while in town for a quick visit, I attended the final performance of the Joffrey Ballet’s production of Frankenstein at the Lyric Opera House. As someone who loves ballet and has been to many performances over the years — from classical to modern dance — this was one of the best shows I have seen in years. 

From the technique to choreography to staging to lighting, the performance demonstrated excellent preparation and dedication to craft. If you missed it, I am sorry to say that you really missed out — no sugarcoating it. It was that good and that memorable. I feel fortunate to have caught the final show.

As an example of this show’s aesthetic staying power, I have been to a number of final shows and went backstage to congratulate the dancers. Usually, the dancers were smiling and joyful to be done. Sunday, some dancers were crying. Tears of joy, some tears of sadness to be over, and others tears of emotional exhaustion. It was a sight to witness and absorb the meaning. 

As pillars of the Chicago performing arts community, the partnership between the Joffrey and the Lyric Opera House has blossomed into something truly inspiring for our city. It has surpassed my hopes when we announced the Lyric Opera House as the new home for the Joffrey Ballet. 

The experience compels me to share this inspiration to define what makes Chicago different: it’s a knee-jerk commitment and dedication to the arts. The arts community is woven deeply into our city’s cultural fabric, contributing to the vibrancy and livability of our hometown. Sometimes, we take this point for granted, and we shouldn’t. The Joffrey embraces this, using their power to wield the human spirit into a profound artistic experience. 

It’s incumbent upon all of us to acknowledge the invaluable contribution the arts play in the tapestry of our lives: socially, economically and emotionally. It is a blessing for Chicago to have had Frankenstein at the Joffrey Ballet, and it is a blessing to have the Joffrey Ballet call Chicago home. 

Rahm Emanuel, U.S. ambassador to Japan and former Chicago mayor.

Read the Chicago Sun-Times letter to the editor here