Joffrey Ballet - Othello - Valerie Robin and Matthew Adamczyk

Joffrey Ballet – Othello – Valerie Robin and Matthew Adamczyk

In celebration of choreographer Lar Lubovitch’s 70th birthday in 2013, The Joffrey Ballet’s season concludes this spring with the return of the native Chicagoan’s three-act dance,Othello.  Set to a score by Oscar® winner Elliot GoldenthalOthello uses an amalgam of classical ballet and modern dance to tell the dramatic story of the Venetian Moor, Othello, his beloved Desdemona and the conniving Iago, in a vibrant tale of passion, jealousy, ambition and betrayal.  Live orchestral accompaniment is provided by The Chicago Philharmonic, led by Joffrey Music Director Scott Speck.  The Joffrey Ballet presents Othello in ten performances only at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, 50 East Congress Parkway, April 24 – May 5

Othello, created in 1997 as a co-commission between American Ballet Theatre and San Francisco Ballet, received its Joffrey and Chicago premiere in 2009, garnering unanimous acclaim from critics and audiences alike.  This production represents the last time the Joffrey will perform the work before it’s retired from active repertory.

Lubovitch’s production features a modernist, crystalline set design by George Tsypin, costumes by Ann Hould-Ward, lighting design by Pat Collins and digital projections by Wendall K. Harrington.   Harrington used still photographs taken in Venice, as well as abstract moving images, to digitally create the elaborate world ofOthello that includes the Palace of the Doges, a cathedral, a fortress, and the stormy port of Cyprus, the setting of Act II’s feverish “Tarantella.”

Lubovitch’s dance is adapted from three sources: The Moor, a story by Geraldo Cintio in The Hundred Tales,published in Venice in 1566; William Shakespeare’s play Othello, The Moor of Venice, written around 1602; and Guiseppe Verdi’s opera Othello from 1887.  The dance doesn’t recreate any of these sources verbatim, but rather it relates the legend of Othello through passages of movement which capture the essence of the characters, their relationships and the course of their ambitions.

The story revolves around Othello, a general serving the state of Venice, who weds the young noblewoman Desdemona, a controversial union among high society because of Desdemona’s Catholic heritage and Othello’s Islamic faith.  At their wedding, Othello presents Desdemona with a handkerchief which has been passed down through his family since the time of Egyptian queens, said to ensure its bearer with eternal love and fidelity.  Iago, a senior ensign under Othello who is enraged when he’s passed over for promotion in favor of the young Cassio, quietly plots vengeance against Othello.  Iago spins a web of deceit, with the handkerchief at its center, which ensnares Othello with rage and jealousy.

“This spring, we welcome the return of Lar Lubovitch,” said Ashley Wheater, Artistic Director of The Joffrey Ballet.  “In his full-length Othello, Lar tells the tragic Shakespearian story using bold contemporary movement rather than words or pantomime.  We watch the tragedy unfold, helpless to prevent the stunning, dramatic conclusion.  Othello was the first full-length I introduced to the Joffrey in 2009 and is certainly a masterwork of

narrative dance in the new century.”

Tickets and Scheduling

Single tickets, which range from $31 to $152, are available for purchase at The Joffrey Ballet’s official Box Office located in the lobby of Joffrey Tower, 10 E. Randolph Street, as well as the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University Box Office, all Ticketmaster Ticket Centers, by telephone at (800) 982-2787, or online

Othello is performed Wednesday, April 24 through Sunday, May 5, 2013.  The complete performance schedule is as follows:  Wednesday, April 24 at 7:30 pm; Friday, April 26 at 7:30 pm; Saturday, April 27 at 2 pm and 7:30 pm; Sunday, April 28 at 2 pm; Thursday, May 2 at 7:30 pm; Friday, May 3 at 7:30 pm; Saturday, May 4 at 2 pm and 7:30 pm; and Sunday, May 5 at 2 pm.

About the Artists

One of America’s most versatile, popular and highly acclaimed choreographers, Lar Lubovitch leads the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company in New York City, which he founded 44 years ago.  Lubovitch’s dances are renowned for their musicality, rhapsodic style and sophisticated formal structures.  Born in Chicago, Lubovitch was educated at the University of Iowa and the Juilliard School in New York.  His teachers at Juilliard included Antony Tudor, Jose Limon, Anna Sokolow and Martha Graham.  Lubovitch made his Broadway debut in 1987 with the musical staging for the Stephen Sondheim/James Lapine musical, Into the Woods, for which he received a Tony® Award nomination.  In 1993, he choreographed the highly-praised dance sequences for the Broadway show The Red Shoes.  In 1996, he created the musical staging (and two new dances) for the Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of The King and I.  Most recently he devised the musical staging for Walt Disney’s stage version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame in Berlin.  In addition to his work for stage, screen and television, Lubovitch has also made a significant contribution to the advancement of choreography in the field of ice-dancing.  He has created dances for Olympic gold medalists John Curry, Peggy Fleming and Dorothy Hamill and has choreographed a full-length ice-dancing version of The Sleeping Beauty, starring Olympic medalists Robin Cousins and Rosalynn Sumners.  In 2007, to supplement the activities (creating, performing and teaching) of the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, he founded the Chicago Dancing Company, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to present a wide variety of excellent dance and build dance audiences in his native Chicago.  Lubovitch has choreographed over 100 dances for his own company as well as companies around the world.

Composer Elliot Goldenthal creates works for orchestra, theatre, opera, ballet and film.  In 2006, Goldenthal’s original three-act opera Grendel, directed by Julie Taymor, premiered at the Los Angeles Opera and had its east coast debut as the centerpiece of the Lincoln Center Festival in New York.   Goldenthal was named one of the two finalists for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in music for his work on Grendel.  Goldenthal was commissioned by the American Ballet Theatre to compose a three-act ballet of Othello, which debuted at the Metropolitan Opera in 1997.  Goldenthal’s large-scale symphonic piece, Fire Water Paper: A Vietnam Oratorio, was commissioned by the Pacific Symphony to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War.  Goldenthal has composed the music for more than a dozen theatrical productions including Juan Darien: A Carnival Mass which was directed by Taymor.   It received five Tony® nominations including Best Musical, and Original Musical Score for Goldenthal when it was produced at Lincoln Center and an Obie Award Off-Broadway for Goldenthal.  His other theatrical credits include The Transposed Heads, The Green Bird and The King Stag directed by Andrei Serban.  In 2003, he was honored with the Academy Award® and a Golden Globe® for Best Original Score for Frida and also received an Academy Award nomination for the film’s original song Burn it Blue, and Oscar nominations for his music for Neil Jordan’s Interview With the Vampire and Michael Collins.  Also notable among his more than 30 film scores are Michael Mann’s Public Enemies and Heat, Neil Jordan’s The Butcher Boy and Julie Taymor’s The TempestAcross The Universeand Titus.  Additionally, he has received two Golden Globe nominations and three Grammy Award nominations.  Goldenthal is composing the original music for a production of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream to be directed by Taymor for Theatre for a New Audience this fall

The Joffrey Ballet is grateful for its 2012-2013 Season Sponsors and Partners.  With special thanks to Lorna Ferguson & Terry Clark and Nuveen Investments, Inc., Othello Production Sponsors; Abbott Fund and NIB Foundation, co-sponsors of the 2012-2013 Season; United Airlines, Official & Exclusive Airline; Vanguard Chicago Center for Orthopedics, Official Healthcare Provider; JW Marriott, Official Hotel Sponsor; AthletiCo, Official Provider of Physical Therapy Services; MAC, Official Cosmetic Sponsor; and Joffrey’s Season Partners, Allstate, Chicago Athletic Clubs and Sara Lee Foundation.

For more information about The Joffrey Ballet and its programs visit