The critically-acclaimed holiday classic highlighting Chicago’s famous World’s Fair of 1893 returns

CHICAGO (October 25, 2023) – The Joffrey Ballet's critically acclaimed reimagined classic, The Nutcracker by two-time Tony Award®-winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, returns to the Lyric Opera House, 20 North Upper Wacker Drive, in 25 performances, December 2 – 27, 2023. Set in Chicago's World's Fair in 1893, Wheeldon's The Nutcracker highlights the rich cultural heritage of Chicago and the wonder of the season.

"This glorious production only gets better with time," said Ashley Wheater, The Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director. "Now, seven years since its debut, the holiday magic of the Joffrey's Nutcracker by Christopher Wheeldon is perhaps more poignant than ever, a Chicago story of family and adventure. But more than anything, it is an homage to a city we deeply cherish, and we look forward to celebrating another incomparable holiday season."

"I have many fond memories of watching our company perform The Nutcracker throughout my ten years at the Joffrey," Greg Cameron, President and CEO, added. "What I appreciate most, however, is that year after year, the spectacle and sheer wonderment still feels new, and the impact it brings to our community continues to inspire. The Nutcracker has a way of reaching people, a perpetual point of pride and joy for all Chicagoans."

Wheeldon's American tale of an immigrant family during the Chicago World's Fair in 1893, and opens as young Marie and her mother, a sculptress creating the Fair's iconic Statue of the Republic, host a festive Christmas Eve celebration. After a surprise visit from the creator of the Fair, the mysterious Great Impresario, Marie embarks on a whirlwind adventure with the Nutcracker Prince through a dreamlike World's Fair.

A ballet in two acts set to 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. The production was adapted in 2021 by Wheeldon to fit the larger Lyric Opera stage.

The Nutcracker features live music performed by the Lyric Opera Orchestra, conducted by Scott Speck, Music Director of The Joffrey Ballet.

With gratitude to The Nutcracker Presenting Sponsor Guarantee Trust Life Insurance Company, and Production Sponsor AARP Illinois.


The Joffrey Ballet performs The Nutcracker Saturday, December 2–Tuesday, December 27, 2023.

The full schedule is as follows: Saturday, December 2 at 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM; Sunday, December 3 at 2:00 PM; Thursday, December 7 at 7:00 PM; Friday, December 8 at 7:00 PM; Saturday, December 9 at 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM; Sunday, December 10 at 2:00 PM; Thursday, December 14 at 7:00 PM; Friday, December 15 at 7:00 PM; Saturday, December 16 at 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM; Sunday, December 17 at 1:00 PM and 6:00 PM; Wednesday, December 20 at 7:00 PM; Thursday December 21 at 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM; Friday, December 22 at 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM; Saturday, December 23 at 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM; Sunday, December 24 at 2:00 PM; Tuesday, December 26 at 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM; and Wednesday, December 27 at 2:00 PM.

Single tickets start at $36 and are available for purchase online at, by telephone at 312.386.8905 or at Lyric Opera Box Office located at 20 N. Upper Wacker Dr.

Image: The Joffrey Ballet, The Nutcracker, Photo by Cheryl Mann