The Joffrey Ballet (finally) moves to the Lyric this fall with a Marston premiere, Don Q and stagings of their pandemic projects

Returning to live performances this fall, The Joffrey Ballet moves into its new home at the Lyric Opera House with a full season scheduled for 2021-22. Announced Wednesday, the ballet company’s programming essentially picks up where they left off after COVID-19 forced an abrupt end to the 2019-20 season—their final at the Auditorium Theatre.

The season kicks off with “Home: A Celebration” Oct. 13-24, a program that includes the three works commissioned and screened during the pandemic by Chanel DaSilva, Nicolas Blanc and Yoshihisa Arai, this time adapted for stage. Gerald Arpino’s “Birthday Variations” is tossed in for good measure, a frothy, sweet 1986 throwback excavated from Joffrey’s archives after nearly 20 years in the vault.

Following 28 performances of “The Nutcracker” (Dec. 4-26), Joffrey makes good on two productions that were halted by the pandemic. On Feb. 16-27, 2022, they will revive Yuri Possokhov’s “Don Quixote.” April 27-May 8, 2022, Cathy Marston premieres her new ballet—the choreographer’s first original work for this company—based on John Steinbeck’s novel, “Of Mice and Men,” scored by acclaimed composer Thomas Newman. The one-act ballet is accompanied by George Balanchine’s “Serenade,” a Joffrey premiere.

Joffrey’s programs tuck neatly into a full deck of performances produced by the Lyric Opera of Chicago in maestro Enrique Mazzola's first season as music director. The Lyric has an ambitious line-up planned, with seven Chicago premieres including a completely new “Macbeth” and Lyric's first mainstage opera sung in Spanish, “Florencia en el Amazonas.”

As a silver lining to the pandemic, Joffrey and Lyric audiences will sit in brand new seats at the Lyric Opera House this fall. The auditorium was transformed to improve the audience experience via new seats that are staggered for better sightlines and widened aisles for improved accessibility, made possible through an anoynomous grant specifically designated to the project.

Joffrey's season announcement comes on the heels of a recent expansion of the Joffrey Academy of Dance housed in the former Chicago Dance Academy studios at 1920 S. Wabash. This increased studio space, outside the loop, aligns with the Academy's newly established strategic plan aimed at galvanizing Joffrey's training and community engagement programs.
Three-program Joffrey Ballet subscriptions (excluding “The Nutcracker”) start at $120. Single tickets (available at a later date) start at $35. Subscriptions are available for purchase online at, 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 Call 312-827-5600 to purchase Lyric Opera subscription tickets or visit beginning May 19 at 5:30pm. Single tickets will be available for purchase starting in late July. All performances and dates subject to change.