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Nov 30, 2016 >> Behind the Seams at the Joffrey [VIDEO]


This year the JOFFREY BALLET will transport audiences to a magical moment in the city’s history. Their holiday classic, The Nutcracker, will be set at Chicago’s 1893 World’s Fair as seen through the eyes of visionary choreographer Christopher Wheeldon. Although we can’t wait to see new talent emerge on stage, we’re just as excited about the magic that happens behind the scenes. Follow us on an enchanting journey through the Joffrey Ballet costume shop and see what creations await in the wings.

The anticipated production of The Nutcracker features the vision of Costume Designer Julian Crouch. Originally from the UK, Julian is a Brooklyn-based theatre practitioner, artist, and musician, known for his groundbreaking production of Shockheaded Peter, Satyagraha at the Met Opera, and the Tony-nominated set of Hedwig and The Angry Inch. Julian’s costume and set designs are known for larger-than-life props and landscapes. And what really tickles our funny bone: Integration of live animation.


We chatted with Head of Wardrobe Ellie Cotey to give us a taste of The Nutcracker magic by the numbers. Mischievous mouse and rat heads: 12, plus one for the King. Toy soldier hats that can stay on through multiple jumps and leaps: 24. Wondrous dancing walnuts: 8. Flourishing flower couples: 12. Delicate and polished tutus: 10. And an innumerable amount of tights and ballet slippers!

Get into the holiday spirit as Ellie gives us a sneak peak into the city’s most prestigious ballet company’s costume shop. She gives us the lowdown on how long it actually takes to bring these magnificent creatures to life and the many hands that go into bringing this fresh new vision of The Nutcracker to life.

The Nutcracker runs December 10th through 30th at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Parkway; Tickets $40-$90. Visit for more information and tickets.

Want more Holiday? See more festive fun here.

Text by Alaina Africano