Choreographer reimagines 'Nutcracker' with a Chicago twist

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With this new "Nutcracker," Christopher Wheeldon transports us to the 1893 Chicago World's Fair and the simple home of a fair worker. (WLS)

Chicago's Joffrey Ballet has just announced a stage extravaganza that will have its world debut here.

Tony-winning choreographer Christoper Wheeldon, who has won global acclaim for his exciting new take on the "Nutcracker" with a Chicago twist.

To the sound of Tchaikovsky, the Joffrey Ballet made a dramatic leap announcing an A-list Broadway team to reimagine its "Nutcracker." The new ballet's star will be Wheeldon, the hottest name in dance right now.

"I've loved the musical score since I was little," Wheeldon said. "My mom used to dance on the lawn. I would wake up in the morning and she would be dancing to the music of the great pas de deux."

Wheeldon won a Tony last year for choreography of the smash "An American in Paris" and has found time to give the Joffrey box office hits with "Swan Lake" among other ballets.

With this new "Nutcracker," Wheeldon will transport audiences to the 1893 Chicago World's Fair and into the simple home of a fair worker.

"It's such a huge part of the history of the city and we wanted to make a 'Nutcracker' for Chicago set in Chicago," Wheeldon said.

Brian Selznick is writing the ballet book. His hit book, "The Invention of Hugo Cabret," was turned into the Academy Award-nominated film "Hugo."

"The ballet world was not part of the world I'm generally in as a children's book writer and illustrator, but it was Christopher Wheeldon, it was the Chicago World's Fair, it was the Joffrey and so I knew I couldn't say no," Selznick said.

In over two decades, more than a million people have seen Joffrey's "Nutcracker" on the Auditorium Theatre stage in Chicago.

On Dec. 10, they will see a production like no other.
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