Joffrey Ballet Leaves Auditorium for Lyric Opera House

Joffrey Ballet Leaves Auditorium for Lyric Opera House

Lyric Opera House of Chicago | Photo by Timothy Neesam 

Joffrey Ballet will become the resident dance company at the Lyric Opera House at the start of the 2020/21 Season, the companies announced today. This marks a name change for the facility, as well, formerly the Civic Opera House, it is now dubbed the Lyric Opera House in the Civic Opera Building. The agreement comes as the two companies prepare to perform together for the first time in John Neumeier’s production of Gluck’s “Orphée et Eurydice.”

The seven-year arrangement will provide Joffrey with a new performance home as they leave the Auditorium Theater behind. Lyric will provide front-of-house support for Joffrey performances, but the companies will continue separately in all other areas. In recent years, complications with other programming, such as the NFL draft, have left the Joffrey in the lurch at the Auditorium – still, it’s a major loss for the iconic venue.

“With The Joffrey’s arrival at the start of the 2020/21 season, the Lyric Opera House will take its rightful place among the great opera houses of the world which frequently are home to magnificent ballets, as well as thrilling opera productions,” said Lyric General Director Anthony Freud. “This is terrific news for Chicago as we further solidify our City as a cultural hub. It also marks a significant step in Lyric’s strategic plan as we identify new opportunities to grow our audience base through more regular interactions with dance patrons, who are already committed to the arts, and maximize the use of our magnificent opera house.”

Joffrey Artistic Director Ashley Wheater added, “Like Orphée Director John Neumeier, one of my first and most memorable performances as a professional dancer took place on the Lyric stage. Over the last month, I’ve had the opportunity to work with Lyric’s incredible, committed team. I’m thrilled by what this means for the Joffrey. The backstage assets alone will provide our dancers, artists, designers, and collaborators with important resources that will launch our productions to new levels of artistry.”

Joffrey Executive Director Greg Cameron said, “As a lifelong Chicagoan, I’m excited to lead the Company during this time of growth and transformation. Bringing these two Chicago icons together is yet another way to support Mayor Emanuel’s commitment to national and international tourism, making Chicago one of the premier cultural destinations of the world. We also look forward to making our final years at the Auditorium Theatre the most memorable yet.”

Joffrey will continue to perform in the Auditorium through the end of its 2019/20 Season, when the Company’s current license agreement concludes. The Joffrey and Lyric will use this time to develop plans for transition and coordinate season schedules. Joffrey will continue to use its space in Joffrey Tower as its administrative and rehearsal facility.

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Abigail Trabue

Abigail has worked as an actor/director in Chicago for over ten years, and along with husband Jason Epperson founded Lotus Theatricals in 2015, and PerformInk Chicago and Kansas City in 2016 (where she serves as Managing Editor of both publications). When not talking shop, Abigail is raising three padawans with Jason, drinking lots of coffee, converting school buses into RV's, and eating all the foods at Disney World. You can find her on Twitter @AbigailTrabue