"A piece of Chicago history”, Ruth Page’s Nutcracker was Chicago’s first Nutcracker of its very own. From 1965-1997, The Ruth Page Civic Ballet delighted the children of Chicago at the massive Arie Crown Theater, regularly selling out to audiences of 5,000 people. In 1997, the production was forced to take a hiatus due to a shifting dance landscape in the region.
The Ruth Page School of Dance revived The Nutcracker, which can now be seen annually at Northeastern Illinois University. Associate Director Dolores Long, Rehearsal Director Birute Barodicaite, and Children’s Director Laura Wade (all performers in the original production) continue Ruth’s legacy with their commitment to excellence and tradition. The production was able to continue in part due to ties with William Raffeld, who has played the Grandfather in this production for 41 years. With his addition of actors in the first act, narrating the cozy Christmas Eve party at the Stahlbaum house, the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Theater Department graciously donated space to keep the production afloat, and this element remains to this day, making the production accessible in a way that exists nowhere else in Chicago.
In the years since Victor Alexander stepped into the role of School Director, he has imbued the production with the exceptional talent of the Nacional Ballet de Cuba, whose dancers continue to perform Principal and Soloist roles.
"And so now…a good old-fashioned Christmas present to the children of Chicago and their parents and all their friends"
- Ruth Page