Joffrey Ballet’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream” is a must-see

By Taylor Hartz| Staff Writer

As we welcome warmer days in Chicago, you’ll feel right at home in the audience of the Joffrey Ballet’s new production of “Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

This imaginative, modern recreation of Shakespeare’s classic brings the summer season to life on stage as a dreamy, whimsical and sensual experience.

Most performances of Shakespeare take you hundreds of years into the past, but the team at Joffrey brought Midsummer to the future, setting the story in June of 2018. The opening scene will captivate audiences as the cast performs a mesmerizing dance with hay. This may not sound glamorous, but when done in perfect unison it becomes a magical scene that makes a lasting impression.

This curious, creative story, has the playful, magical vibe of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland laced between some flirtatious, provocative imagery— including nearly-nude dancers—to nightmarish, upside-down dances set to electronic music with rolling fog.

Most ballets rely on choreography to tell the whole tale, but this production features the vocalist Anna Von Hausswolff, a Swedish indie rock and art pop performer who narrates the show with an angelic, folksy voice. Hausswolff’s lyrics “Had it all been a dream? Had it all been a blunder?” further the dreaminess of each scene.

Artistic Director Ashley Wheater, Choreographer Alexander Ekman, Music Director Scott Speck, and Composer Mikael Karlsson truly re-imagined this beloved tale. In short, it’s a must-see.

Midsummer is playing at the Auditorium Theater through May 6. Tickets range from $34–174.

Published May 3. 

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