By Chris Jones
1 October 2020
The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago said Thursday that it has canceled its entire 2020-21 season at the Lyric Opera House.
The canceled programing includes the world premiere of Cathy Marston’s “Of Mice and Men” and the Joffrey premiere of George Balanchine’s “Serenade” (slated for Feb. 17-28, 2021), as well as the Chicago premiere of John Neumeier’s “The Little Mermaid” (April 21-May 2, 2021). Previously, Joffrey had canceled this fall’s production of Kenneth MacMillan’s “Manon” (Oct. 14-25) and the first staging at the Lyric of Christopher Wheeldon’s “The Nutcracker” (December 5-27), typically a huge source of revenue for the company and a highlight of the holiday season in Chicago, drawing tens of thousands to the Loop.
The Joffrey said that the decision, sparked by the COVID-19 crisis, will cost the non-profit institution in excess of $9 million at the box office. A philanthropic fund, dubbed the Joffrey Crisis Stabilization Fund, has been set up to address the disparity and cover basic operations costs through the fall of 2021. The ballet said the fund currently has raised about $7 million toward its $12 million goal. The company has not laid off its company of dancers, guaranteeing their existing contracts through next May.
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