The Joffrey Ballet Presents ‘Romeo & Juliet’

Alberto Velazques and Mahallia Ward

Ending on a high note with the 2013-2014 “Masters of Dance” season, Joffrey Ballet is proud to present 10 performances of the classic Shakespearean tale of Romeo & Juliet at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University (50 East Congress Parkway) from April 30 through May 11. Occurring within the same time frame…a special birthday…William Shakespeare turns 450 on April 23.

Premiering in the U.S., this performance was produced by Krzysztof Pastor, director of the Polish National Ballet and resident choreographer of the Dutch National Ballet. Creative costumes and sets, designed by Tatyana van Walsum, flow from black and white to color gradually changing as the tragic love story unfolds.

Don’t expect the typical Romeo & Juliet, this performance is filled of wondrous settings with a video background, contemporary costumes and a polished choreography intermixed with ordinary movements.

“Though most people are familiar with the Romeo & Juliet story, I was interested in exploring how we tell the tale today,” explains Joffrey Ballet Artistic Director Ashley Wheater. “If a story is universal, it will translate to our time and our language: in this case, the language of classical ballet with a contemporary accent. As with Lar Bubovitch’s Othello, the narrative is explained through physical movement, rather than traditional mime. The action is driven by Sergei Prokofiev’s brilliant score, brought to full realization by Maestro Scott Speck and the Chicago Philharmonic.”

There is a new political aspect to this rendition of Romeo & Juliet set in three acts, beginning with the 1930s and Mussolini’s pursuit of Fascism; the 1950s and the rise of the Red Brigade and ending with the 1990s and Berluscioni’s fraudulent leadership.

“When Ashley took the artistic reins of Joffrey seven years ago, it was with a vision of engaging new choreographers and supporting the creation of new work,” says Executive Director Greg Cameron. “With Krzysztof Pastor’s Romeo & Juliet, we do just that, bringing a new story-ballet to the U.S. for the first time. It’s filled with beautiful choreography just as much as with political ideas that will provoke thought and discussion. It’s moving and challenging at the same time. It perfectly embodies Joffrey’s history with political dance and its long-term vision of propelling the art form forward.”

Single tickets range from $31 to $152 and are available now at Joffrey Ballet’s official box office, located in the lobby of Joffrey Tower, 10 East Randolph Street, as well as the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University box office, all Ticketmaster Centers, by telephone 800.982.2787 or online at Ticketmaster.

Christopher Duggan Photograph


About Cindy Burns

Currently writing for TCW's 'Woman About Town' column, Cindy Burns covers Chicago's social scene, events, fashion, and interviews women and men who are making a difference in the world. With an M.A. in American History from DePaul University, Ms. Burns is an author, freelance writer, avid reader and researcher. Ms. Burns has spent over 20 years serving on charitable boards and organizations, and currently serves as a member of the Women's Board of the Joffrey Ballet and the Women's Auxiliary Board of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicago. She is also an Honorary Member of the Children's Service Board of Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital. When Ms. Burns isn't running around Chicago covering current events, you can find her biking, on the tennis courts, or hiking in a mountainous region of her choice.