Joffrey Announces Final Season at Auditorium

Joffrey Announces Final Season at Auditorium

Photo by Tatyana Perrault

The Joffrey Ballet has announced its 2019-2020 season featuring, its last at the Auditorium Theatre. The company will move to the Lyric Opera in the fall of 2020.

The company will begin its 64th season with Northern Ballet Artistic Director Cathy Marston’s modern re-telling of JANE EYRE in October, followed by the return of Christopher Wheeldon’s stunning Columbian Exposition set rendition of THE NUTCRACKER in December. After the new year, the Joffrey will present a mixed repertory program that includes the Chicago premiere of New York City Ballet Resident Choreographer Justin Peck’s acclaimed THE TIMES ARE RACING, the Chicago premieres of MONO LISA and THE SOFA by Israeli choreographer Itzik Galili, Wheeldon’s COMMEDIA, and BLISS!, a new work from winner of the Joffrey’s 2015 Winning Works choreographic competition Stephanie Martinez. Closing the season is the return of Yuri Possokhov’s DON QUIXOTE in April, which received its world premiere in Chicago in 2011.

“Next season we will showcase the range, diversity and quality of work being created for ballet companies in the 21st century,” said Artistic Director Ashley Wheater. “We want to introduce Chicago audiences to fresh faces, all of whom are shaping the dance landscape today: Cathy Marston’s visionary JANE EYRE, Justin Peck’s innovative ‘sneaker ballet’ THE TIMES ARE RACING, two dances inspired by the pioneering music of Igor Stravinsky and thrilling work by Israeli choreographer Itzik Galili. Even the classic story DON QUIXOTE finds new relevance with choreography by Yuri Possokhov, who created our groundbreaking ANNA KARENINA for this year’s winter program.”

All performances take place at the Auditorium Theatre, in downtown Chicago at 50 East Ida B. Wells Drive. All programs throughout the season feature live music performed by the Chicago Philharmonic conducted by Scott Speck, Music Director of The Joffrey Ballet.

The Joffrey Ballet 2019-20 Season (from the press release):

October 16-27, 2019
Choreography: Cathy Marston | Music: Philip Feeney
Chicago Premiere

The Joffrey Ballet, in partnership with American Ballet Theatre, brings Marston’s “quietly enthralling” (The Guardian) adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s classic novel to the U.S. for the first time. Marston’s celebrated ballet combines theater and dance to tell the coming-of-age story of Jane Eyre, one of literature’s most iconic characters.

Set to music by Philip Feeney, Marston’s JANE EYRE challenges the idea of a classic ballet heroine. After a difficult upbringing, Jane becomes the Governess for the mysterious Mr. Rochester, discovering the struggles of society’s expectations. With stirring choreography and a captivating Victorian design, this avant-garde ballet shows that love can conquer any obstacle.

JANE EYRE received its debut in 2016 with the Northern Ballet at the Cast Theatre in Doncaster, England. Learn more about Jane Eyre and Cathy Marston here.

JANE EYRE is presented in 10 performances with the Joffrey, October 16-27, 2019.

Note: JANE EYRE makes its North American debut with American Ballet Theatre, June 4-10, 2019.

November 30-December 29, 2019
Choreography: © Christopher Wheeldon | Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

The Joffrey’s reimagined classic marks its fourth year as Chicago’s favorite holiday tradition. Wheeldon’s turn-of-the-century tale opens on Christmas Eve, 1892, mere months before the grand opening of the 1893 World’s Fair, as young Marie and her mother prepare for a festive potluck celebration. The magic of the season takes hold when a visit from the charming Great Impresario sets off a whirlwind journey of romance and adventure 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.

THE NUTCRACKER is presented in 29 performances, November 30-December 29, 2019.

February 12-23, 2020

The Joffrey’s winter engagement of mixed works features choreography from four of the most influential artists working today, including the Chicago premiere of Justin Peck’s 2017 ballet for which the program gets its name, two pieces by Israeli choreographer and former Batsheva Dance Company member Itzik Galili, a Christopher Wheeldon classic, and a new work from Chicago’s Stephanie Martinez (2015 winner of the Joffrey’s Winning Works choreographic competition).

The winter program is as follows:

Choreography: Christopher Wheeldon | Music: Igor Stravinsky

Created in 2008 to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Ballet Russes, COMMEDIA takes inspiration from Stravinsky’s Pulcinella Suite—originally composed in 1920 for a ballet that featured harlequinade costumes by Pablo Picasso. Wheeldon’s “elegant piece, beautifully jointed and crafted …” (The Guardian) returns for an encore presentation following its Chicago debut in the spring of 2019, in a collaboration between the Joffrey and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Choreography: Itzik Galili | Music: Thomas Höfs
Chicago Premiere

Wiggling hips. Break-neck twists and turns. Feats of grand athleticism. Galili’s dynamic and seductive spin on the classical pas de deux evokes a daring game of cat and mouse, set to original music based on the clapping sound of typewriters.

Choreography: Stephanie Martinez | Music: Igor Stravinsky

Award-winning choreographer Martinez shares her newest work, set to Dumbarton Oaks Concerto, one of only two chamber concertos composed by Stravinsky. A Chicago favorite, Martinez is set to premiere her first work for the Joffrey mainstage during the 2019-2020 season.

Choreography: Itzik Galili | Music: Tom Waits
Chicago Premiere

A “broad, physical comedy” (CriticalDance), this nuanced trio from Galili takes shape as a love triangle run amok, with a set design that consists of a single piece of vinyl-covered furniture. Music by Grammy Award-winner Waits adds emotional depth to this comical take on gender, sexuality, and relationships.

Choreography: Justin Peck | Music: Dan Deacon
Chicago Premiere

Fresh off his Tony win for Broadway’s Carousel (Best Choreography), Peck brings one of his most “arresting and complex” (New York Times) works to Chicago for the first time. A “sneaker ballet” for 20 dancers, THE TIMES ARE RACING channels the power of protest. Danced to the last four tracks of Deacon’s expansive 2012 album, America, with lighting by Peck collaborator Brandon Stirling Baker and streetwear designed by Opening Ceremony, this expressive ballet speaks to the times.

THE TIMES ARE RACING winter program is presented in 10 performances only, February 12-23, 2020.

April 22-May 3, 2020
Choreographer: Yuri Possokhov | Music: Ludwig Minkus

The Joffrey closes its 2019-2020 season with the return of Possokhov’s inspired DON QUIXOTE, conceived and created for the Joffrey in 2011, which, at the time, became the first commission of an evening-length ballet by the Joffrey in over 60 years.

A bright and humorous story, Possokhov’s fresh interpretation of this revered ballet classic revolves around Don Quixote, an aging and eccentric nobleman, who imagines himself to be a valiant knight. His duty? Rescuing the damsel Dulcinea. With his trusted sidekick Sancho Panza in tow, Quixote embarks on a fateful journey, ready to breathe life into a world where windmills become monsters and adventure awaits beyond the horizon.

With music by Ludwig Minkus, this layered multimedia production uses sets and lighting design by Jack Mehler and animated projections by Wendell Harrington to create a lighthearted ballet of bravery, fantasy and love.

Known for his visceral and expressive style, Possokhov has created groundbreaking new works around the globe. A frequent guest artist with The Joffrey Ballet, Possokhov has received numerous critical acclaim for transforming iconic literature into inventive, emotionally driven story ballets, including the world premiere of ANNA KARENINA for the Joffrey’s 2018-2019 season.

DON QUIXOTE is presented in 10 performances only, April 22-May 3, 2020.

Joffrey Gala Performance
April 17, 2020

The Joffrey Ballet hosts its special, one-hour gala performance at the Auditorium Theatre, exclusively for Joffrey subscribers and gala attendees. The evening will celebrate more than 20 years of shared history between the Joffrey and the Auditorium Theatre, along with the artists who make the Joffrey one of the world’s leading international dance companies. This one-night-only performance features a specially-curated program by The Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director Ashley Wheater.

Tickets and Subscriptions

Three-program subscriptions, which do not include THE NUTCRACKER, start at $96. Subscriptions will be available for purchase as of February 5, 2019, online at, by mail (Joffrey Ballet Subscriptions, The Joffrey Ballet, Joffrey Tower, 10 East Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60601), by telephone at 312-386-8905, by fax at 312-739-0119 or by email at [email protected]. Groups of 10 or more call 312-386-8937.

Single tickets for the October, February and April/May performances as well as THE NUTCRACKER will be available starting August 1, 2019. Single tickets are available at The Joffrey Ballet’s official Box Office located in the lobby of 10 East Randolph Street, by telephone at 312-386-8905 or online at

About author

Jason Epperson

Jason is a producer, manager, and designer with 17 years of experience in Chicago, New York, and in the touring market. In 2015, he founded Lotus Theatricals - the publisher of Performink, and an independent commercial producing company - with Abigail Trabue.