Von Heidecke’s Chicago Festival Ballet’s ‘The Nutcracker’ Returns to the MAC with Accompaniment from New Philharmonic Dec. 15 and 16


By Ann Fink

Von Heidecke’s Chicago Festival Ballet performs its 29th annual production of “The Nutcracker” at 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, and at 1 and 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, at the McAninch Arts Center at College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., in Glen Ellyn. New Philharmonic, under the baton of Maestro Kirk Muspratt, will perform Tchaikovsky’s classic score live for this full-scale production. As a special treat, there will be photo opportunities with Santa and a three-foot tall wooden nutcracker in the lobby.

“Von Heidecke’s Chicago Festival Ballet is thrilled to once again team up with New Philharmonic to bring this holiday tradition to life at the MAC,” said Von Heidecke Chicago Festival Ballet Founder and Artistic Director Ken von Heidecke. “We know many Chicago area residents see “The Nutcracker” as a must for the season and we’re pleased that we are able to present our classic production guaranteed to entertain all ages and create lasting memories.”

“The Nutcracker,” featuring the music of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, is a classic holiday fairy tale ballet in two acts. As a family’s Christmas Eve party ends, a dream takes the young daughter Clara to a magical world where she meets the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Snow Queen, dancing snowflakes and many other enchanting characters.

This year’s production features more than 50 dancers from Chicago and Chicago suburbs including Aurora, Bolingbrook, Braidwood, Channahon, Chicago, Crest Hill, Darien, Downers Grove, Evanston, Homer Glen, Lemont, Lisle, Lockport, Manhattan, Mokena, Naperville, Oswego, Plainfield, Tinley Park, Westmont, Wilmington and Woodridge. They will be joined by guest artists in principal roles including former Joffrey Ballet company member Michael Anderson (Uncle Drosselmeyer); former Nevada Ballet Theatre company dancer Grigori Areqelyn (Snow King, Cavalier); Elements Contemporary Ballet company member and Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre rehearsal director Brennen Renteria, (Nutcracker Prince); Chicago’s Caitlin Gee (Snow Queen, Sugar Plum Fairy); and former Joffrey Ballet company member Jennifer Goodman (Arabian). The male Arabian role will be shared by Chicagoans JP Tenuta, former member of Luna Negra and the Nashville Ballet, and Luke Joiner, who has performed with the Alabama Ballet and Elements Contemporary Ballet.

The role of Clara will be shared by Naperville’s Madelyne Lowe and Jacquie Liedtke and Homer Glen’s Reagan Davidson. The cast will also feature tumblers Terrance Green, William Green and DeAngelo Woods, from Chicago’s Ultimate Tumblers (The CUT), coached by Orpheus Floyd. The CUT appeared on the 2011 edition of “America’s Got Talent.”

Tickets to “The Nutcracker” are $44 Adults, $42 Seniors; $34 for youth ages 18 and under. For more information, call the MAC Ticket Office at (630) 942-4000, or visit: www.atthemac.org.

Von Heidecke’s Chicago Festival Ballet, under the artistic direction of Kenneth Von Heidecke, produces a repertoire of classical, romantic and neoclassical works focusing upon the great musical compositions of the 19th and 20th-century masters. Von Heidecke opened The Von Heidecke Dance Center in 1990 in Naperville as a training center for young dancers to learn the art of classical ballet. More than two dozen of Von Heidecke’s students have gone on to professional careers in the U.S. and Europe. Von Heidecke’s numerous honors include inclusion in the Fox Valley Arts Hall of Fame and he was honored by his former High School with the York Distinguished Alumni 2015 Dukes of Distinction Award. Filmmaker Stuart Meyer recently completed a documentary on Von Heidecke’s life, and a sneak preview of the film was previewed in Naperville this past September to a standing ovation. The official release of the documentary is projected to take place in 2019.

Von Heidecke’s Chicago Festival Ballet is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization and has been awarded a grant from the IAC and NIB and continues to receive annual funding. For more information about Chicago Festival Ballet and The Von Heidecke Dance Center visit chicagofestivalballet.com.

New Philharmonic, the professional orchestra in residence of the MAC, and the only professional orchestra based in DuPage County has inspired classical music enthusiasts in Chicago and the suburbs for 40 years. It continues to thrive with the goal to give innovative treatment to both classic compositions and modern works while striving to make the music accessible to new audiences and youth through a variety of educational efforts. Today, under Muspratt’s direction, New Philharmonic consists of more than 60 professional musicians and performs more than a dozen concerts a year, reaching more than 7,500 from the greater Chicago area annually. In addition, for each the past three years, WFMT has broadcast one of New Philharmonic New Year’s Eve performances, allowing listeners around the world to have the opportunity to enjoy New Philharmonics music. For more information about New Philharmonic visit AtTheMAC.org.

Sharing the Spirit of the Season

Beginning Nov. 23, audience members are invited to bring one or two non-perishable food items to support the MAC’s food drive for the People’s Resource Center. The People’s Resource Center food pantry serves more than 3,000 families from across DuPage County each month. For more information about the People’s Resource Center visit peoplesrc.org.

In addition, the MAC is also participating in a gift item collection for Metropolitan Family Services. Theatergoers are encouraged to donate gift items Nov. 23 to Dec. 19 in Care Bins in the MAC lobby. Families in DuPage are in particular need of winter clothing such as gloves, hats and scarves, toiletries, pajamas and lap blankets. For more information about Metropolitan Family Services, visit metrofamily.org/community-centers/dupage.

About the MAC

The McAninch Arts Center (MAC) at College of DuPage is located 25 miles west of Chicago near I-88 and I-355. It houses three indoor performance spaces (the 780-seat proscenium Belushi Performance Hall; the 236-seat soft-thrust Playhouse Theatre; and the versatile black box Studio Theatre), the outdoor Lakeside Pavilion, the Cleve Carney Art Gallery and classrooms for the college’s academic programming. The MAC has presented theater, music, dance and visual art to more than 1.5 million people since its opening in 1986 and typically welcomes more than 100,000 patrons from the greater Chicago area to more than 230 performances each season.

The mission of the MAC is to foster enlightened educational and performance opportunities, which encourage artistic expression, establish a lasting relationship between people and art, and enrich the cultural vitality of the community. Visit AtTheMAC.org or facebook.com/AtTheMAC for more information.

The MAC’s 2018-2019 Season is made possible in part with support by Follett, Hilton Lisle/Naperville, WDCB 90.9 FM and the College of DuPage Foundation. Established as a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit charitable organization in 1967, the College of DuPage Foundation raises monetary and in-kind gifts to increase access to education and to enhance cultural opportunities for the surrounding community. For more information about the College of DuPage Foundation, visit foundation.cod.edu or call (630) 942-2462. Programs at the MAC are partially supported through a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency. 

College of DuPage

425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn IL, 60137

(630) 942-2800 (Main)

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  2018 College of DuPage