U.S. Premiere of ATONEMENT & More Set for The Joffrey Ballet's 2024-25 Season

The season will also feature Christopher Wheeldon's The Nutcracker, and more.

By: Mar. 04, 2024
U.S. Premiere of ATONEMENT & More Set for The Joffrey Ballet's 2024-25 Season
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The Joffrey Ballet has revealed its 2024–2025 Season at Lyric Opera House, featuring an adaptation from Ian McEwan’s 2001 novel-turned-Academy Award-winning film; the magical return of a holiday classic; two world premieres in an illuminating winter series; and a plunge down the rabbit hole into a whimsical Wonderland adventure.

The Joffrey Ballet begins its 69th season with Cathy Marston’s U.S. premiere of Atonement, October 17–27, 2024, a full-length narrative ballet of a tragic love story set against the historical backdrop of 1935 England. Soon after, the Joffrey once again brings holiday magic with the return of Christopher Wheeldon's The Nutcracker, December 6–28, 2024, followed by Golden Hour, February 20–March 2, 2025, with original work by Dani Rowe and Yuri Possokhov, accompanied by pieces from frequent Joffrey collaborators Nicolas Blanc and Cathy Marston. Closing out the season is a not-to-be-missed highlight of the year—plunge down the rabbit hole into the fantastical world of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, where two-time Tony Award®-winnerChristopher Wheeldon brings Lewis Carroll’s fantastical world to life with instantly recognizable characters such as the high-strung Queen of Hearts, the entrancing Caterpillar, and the tap-dancing Mad Hatter, June 5–15, 2025.

"It is always an honor to set premieres on the Joffrey, whether new to Chicago, the U.S., or the world. Our 69th season is a special invitation for audiences to immerse themselves in an abundance of fresh, captivating narratives," says The Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director Ashley Wheater MBE. "We begin with the haunting echoes of redemption in Cathy Marston's poignant adaptation of Ian McEwan's novel Atonement, a co-production with Ballett Zürich making its North American premiere. In our winter series, Golden Hour, we'll infuse the Lyric with a touch of warmth through radiant interpretations, including Dani Rowe's Princess and the Pea. Lastly, we close the season on a celebratory note, as we are the first American company to stage Christopher Wheeldon's unique realm of beauty, curiosity, and delight with Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. This year, Chicago will witness all that dance can offer."

"The coming season provides the opportunity for continued growth, both artistically and on a business front," says President and CEO Greg Cameron. "Ashley's vision is grounded in Robert Joffrey's founding principle to embrace the new, and in a city fostering creative growth and exploration, Chicago is the perfect home for a year as expansive and dynamic as this one. Our 2024-2025 season invites audiences of all ages to experience the many worlds of dance."

All season performances take place at the Lyric Opera House in downtown Chicago at 20 North Upper Wacker Drive. All programs throughout the season feature live music performed by the Lyric Opera Orchestra, conducted by Scott Speck, Music Director of The Joffrey Ballet.  

About the 2024-2025 Season

Atonement | October 17–27, 2024

Choreographer: Cathy Marston | Music: Laura Rossi

Renowned choreographer Marston brings her re-imagining of Ian McEwan’s 2001 novel-turned Academy Award®-winning film to the stage in a large-scale narrative ballet. The poignant story follows Briony Tallis, revealed in the book as its author and now portrayed in the ballet as a celebrated choreographer, as she grapples with the haunting echoes of her past through a breathtaking dance of redemption.

Marston’s adaptation unfolds the tragic love story of Briony’s older sister, Cecilia, against the historical backdrop of the First World War in 1935 England to explore the intricate layers of societal norms and the enduring impact of a single lie. Enveloped in Rossi’s evocative musical score, with dynamic choreography portraying the complexities of self-deception, the transformation of memory, and the weight of guilt, Atonement shares an emotionally charged experience with a startling twist finale that will linger in the soul. Learn more about Cathy Marston here.

U.S. Premiere

The Nutcracker | December 6–28, 2024

Choreography: Christopher Wheeldon | Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

On a magical Christmas Eve, mere months before the opening of Chicago’s 1893 World’s Fair, Marie and her mother, a sculptress creating the fair’s iconic Statue of the Republic, partake in a festive celebration with a surprise visit from the mysterious Great Impresario. That evening, after awakening to an epic battle between Toy Soldiers and The Rat King, Marie is swept away by a Nutcracker Prince on a whirlwind journey to the dreamlike fairgrounds of the World’s Columbian Exposition with sprawling attractions represented by countries from around the globe.

Set to Tchaikovsky’s classic score, The Nutcracker features a celebrated creative team, including two-time Tony Award®-winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, 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 designerBen Pearcy. 

Golden Hour | February 20–March 2, 2025

Bask in the glow of Golden Hour, a radiant mixed repertoire program of warmth and splendor. Featuring world premieres by Dani Rowe and Yuri Possokhov, the return of Cathy Marston, and an audience favorite by Nicolas Blanc.

The full program is as follows:

Princess and the Pea

Choreography: Dani Rowe | Music: Jim Stephenson

Heralded as a “choreographic storyteller,” Rowe’s artistic style has been described as “rich, flowing, and contemporary.” The Australian choreographer will present an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s timeless fairy tale, Princess and the Pea, in a dynamic and modern re-envisioning.  When her parents are unjustly “canned and banned” in the authoritarian world of Pea Town, young Penelopea embarks on a daring quest for justice. As she battles the oppressive Master Pea to regain her parents’ freedom, Penelopea discovers the power of individuality and growth, leading to a revolution that transforms Pea Town into something no one could have ever expected. 

World Premiere


Choreography: Cathy Marston | Music: Richard Wagner

A dance interpretation of the glorious symphonic poem Seigfried Idyll, composed by Wagner in Switzerland after the birth of his son, Heimat paints a halcyon picture of a family in the Swiss countryside. Marston defines the German word “heimat” as the feeling of home, which is not necessarily where one lives or was born. Rather, it’s a term that suggests a place of spiritual and creative familiarity. Marston feels that “heimat” is a tender description of her personal feelings about Chicago and The Joffrey Ballet. Under the Trees’ Voices

Choreography: Nicolas Blanc | Music: Ezio Bosso

Under the Trees’ Voices examines the persistence of community and connection in the age of distance and isolation. Set to Bosso’s Symphony No. 2, Blanc’s choreography arose from his observations of the nuances of people’s temperaments during the spring of 2020 as the weather became warmer and the chill of pandemic restrictions thawed. In four distinct sections, Under the Trees’ Voices imagines a future of hope and unity, reminding us that we are better together than alone.

World Premiere (title TBA)

Choreography: Yuri Possokhov | Music: Dmitri Shostakovich

Frequent choreographer at the Joffrey whose most recent productions include the critically acclaimed adaptation of Anna Karenina, in addition to The Miraculous Mandarin and Don Quixote, returns for the 2024-2025 season with an intimate world premiere created for three dancers. Known for his expansive choreography and powerful partnering skills, Possokhov’s work has been described as among “the canon of 21st-century classics.” Learn more about Yuri Possokhov here.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland | June 5–15, 2025

Choreography: Christopher Wheeldon | Music: Joby Talbot

Plunge down the rabbit hole into the fantastical world of Wonderland as two-time Tony Award-winner Christopher Wheeldon brings Lewis Carroll’s whimsical adventure to the stage with a modern twist. Immersed within Joby Talbot’s hallucinatory sound world of sweeping melodies and ticking clocks, with Tony Award®-winning designer Bob Crowley’s vibrant stagecraft and puppetry, Wheeldon makes Wonderland wonderfully real in this audience-favorite dance adventure. Things get curiouser and curiouser as Alice traverses a mysterious realm of instantly recognizable characters: the high-strung Queen of Hearts, the entrancing Caterpillar, and the tap-dancing Mad Hatter at his bizarre tea party. Lose your head in a seamless fusion of humor, eccentricity, and fantasy as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland takes you on a magical trip through the extraordinary. Learn more about Christopher Wheeldon here.

Experience this Chicago premiere with the Joffrey, the first American ballet company to bring Wheeldon’s Wonderland to life.

Other Engagements

The Joffrey Academy of Dance: Winning Works | March 14–23, 2025

The Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet, presents five world premieres in the culmination of Joffrey's national call for ALAANA (African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, and Native American) artists. Winning Works will be presented at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago’s Edlis Neeson Theater.

The Joffrey Ballet and Chicago Symphony Orchestra | April 10–13, 2025

New works and noteworthy collaborations with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra include world premieres of two newly commissioned ballets. Former Winning Works choreographer Amy Hall Garner sets her new ballet to Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson’s Sinfonietta No. 1, and Joffrey choreographer Nicolas Blanc sets his new ballet to 20th-century French composer Darius Milhaud’s Le Bœuf sur le toit.

Joffrey on Tour

Ravinia | September 13–14, 2024

Highland Park, IL

Baden-Baden Festival Tour | September 23–27, 2024

Baden-Baden, Germany

Tickets and Subscriptions for the Joffrey’s 2024–2025 Season Performances 

Three-program subscriptions for the fall, winter, and spring season productions, which do not include The Nutcracker, start at $129. Subscriptions are available for purchase online at joffrey.org, 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 patronservices@joffrey.org 

Single tickets for the October, February, and June performances, as well as The Nutcracker, will be available starting this summer, by telephone at 312.386.8905 or online at joffrey.org. Please visit our website for updates. 

All performances are subject to change. 

Photo credit: Cheryl Mann  


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