The Joffrey Ballet's new Nutcracker is a love letter to Chicago

The Joffrey Ballet's new Nutcracker is a love letter to Chicago
The new Joffrey Ballet Nutcracker is a blockbuster at the Auditorium Theatre through December 30.

I'm no Chris Jones or Hedy Weiss but I sure know a hit when I see one and The Joffrey Ballet's new Nutcracker, choreographed by Tony Award-winner Christopher Wheeldon, is a blockbuster.

When I first heard that the Joffrey was reworking its traditional Nutcracker, I was very concerned as I was a great fan of the original version. I didn't have a clue what to expect at last night's world

Choreographer Christopher Wheeldon takes a bow.

Choreographer Christopher Wheeldon takes a bow.

premiere at the Auditorium Theatre but I will tell you, at the end, the audience would NOT let the dancers leave the stage. The standing ovations were thunderous and long-lasting and much deserved.

The story line is much more in keeping with our times and set in Chicago during the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. And instead of wealthy little children in the original who already had everything they could want, this version centers around working class families and children who have very little. Therefore, when Marie (no longer Clara) is richly rewarded during the magical journey, it makes sense and seems so right.

I won't give anything away except to say the dancing, costuming, set design and extra visual effects turn this extravaganza into something akin to a grand Broadway musical with ballet (an apt phrase I borrowed from an enthralled Joffrey Women's Board member).

The production will thrill the young, the old and everyone in-between. I highly recommend this magical show and we can't wait to see it again!

Congrats to artistic director Ashley Wheater, the superstar dancers and all involved! A must-see!

The show runs through December 30 at the Auditorium Theatre. For tickets and more info, click here!

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