Joffrey Ballet to launch re-imagined 'Nutcracker'

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The Joffrey Ballet will launch a brand new version of "The Nutcracker" for the holidays on Saturday at the Auditorium Theatre. (WLS)

The Joffrey Ballet will launch a brand new version of "The Nutcracker" for the holidays on Saturday at the Auditorium Theatre.

This Christmas tradition reimagined is an homage to the ballet company's hometown.

Spearheaded by Tony-Award-winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, the $4 million production is now re-imagined as happening during the 1892 Chicago World's Fair.

"A slightly different take on the story; no longer about a privileged child but actually about an underprivileged child, the daughter of a worker on the construction sites of the World's Fair, so a period of Chicago history that's fascinating and rich and very much a period of change for this city," said choreographer Christopher Wheeldon.

The creative team includes set, costumes, puppeteers, lighting and projections from Broadway.

"It's sort of helping us to create a visual feast, a fantasy journey that goes beyond the norm of just painted scenery," said Wheeldon. "What I've tried to do is honor the original but find a fresh way to tell the story, still using the classical ballet vocabulary but very much laced with my style."

Dylan Gutierrez is a Joffrey member and dancing the role of the Great Impresario.

"I think Chris has done a really good job with using the company to its fullest extent and also showcasing the city in a really fantastic way. As diverse as the city is, the company is that way as well," said Dylan Gutierrez, Joffrey lead dancer.

The re-envisioned ballet also includes over 90 young dancers and vocalists from children's choirs from the Chicagoland area.

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