Nutcracker

Pictured is a scene from The Joffrey Ballet's "The Nutcracker."

Photo by Cheryl Mann

The Joffrey Ballet debuted its new reimagined 'Nutcracker' last year to Chicago audiences.

This season, the classic ballet's fans will have the opportunity to learn the history of The Joffrey's production and about the making of the new ballet, which was choreographed by acclaimed artist Christopher Wheeldon.

WTTW Chicago, in collaboration with The Joffrey Ballet, will premiere the new documentary "Making a New American Nutcracker" at 8 p.m. Nov. 16 on WTTW-Channel 11. The program will air again at 5 p.m. Sunday and on other days in December. Check local television listings.

"'The Nutcracker' has a big place in our culture," said Dan Andries, producer of "Making a New American Nutcracker."

Andries said it was an honor to showcase the behind-the-scenes work of this new production and to highlight the "creative people" who made the ballet happen.

"To have the opportunity to be part of this was very cool," he said.

The documentary, which is narrated by actress Neve Campbell, features interviews with Joffrey Ballet Artistic Director Ashley Wheater; some of the dancers; choreographer Wheeldon; and other members of the creative team. It offers an insider's view of the detailed makings of the fascinating ballet which now has a Chicago-centric setting.

Andries said Wheater had the idea for a new Nutcracker for awhile and helped gather a team of talents together to re-envision the holiday favorite.

"He started to look at the city," Andries said, adding that Wheater liked the idea of setting "The Nutcracker" in the city of Chicago at the time of the Columbian Exposition.

During a 2016 news conference announcing the ballet, choreographer Wheeldon said the reimagined production would be "the story of an immigrant fair worker's child (who has) very little,"  rather than revolving around the elite Stahlbaum family and their daughter Clara.

"I thank the Joffrey for allowing me the opportunity to make a production I hope will be an extraordinary experience for many generations to come," Wheeldon said.

Andries said all the talents involved "sat down and dreamed up this incredible show." The producer said the documentary not only focuses on the making of the iconic ballet but also showcases the history of Chicago.

According to Andries, about 20 people were interviewed for the show, including some Chicago critics and Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

"Everyone had something to add to the story," he said.

Andries said he hopes viewers will enjoy experiencing a look at the "amazing ballet."

"And I hope they get an insight into the process and the ways things came together and an idea of the time investment and energy people put into it."

Visit wttw.com/nutcracker to learn more about the documentary and for original content and behind-the-scenes images.

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Features reporter

Eloise writes about food and entertainment for The Times, subjects she has covered for over two decades in and around the Region. She was the youngest of eight children in a Chicago household filled with fantastic cooks and artists.