Christopher Clinton Conway joined the Joffrey as executive director in September 2005 and promptly took the reins for the historic capital campaign that led to the 2008 opening of the company’s flagship Joffrey Tower on State Street, which houses its administrative offices, school, and rehearsal facilities. Before the Joffrey, Conway’s philanthropic résumé included serving as counsel for the Carter Center at Emory University, established by former President Jimmy Carter, and for the charitable endeavors of wine magnate Robert Mondavi. He also served as director of development for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Do you have any background in dance or performance?
CHRISTOPHER CLINTON CONWAY: I am a terrible dancer—which is probably good because I never kid myself that I could get up there and do that.
How many times have you seen the Nutcracker in your life?
CCC: The first time I saw the Nutcracker was at the Arie Crown, which was the Tribune production. [Chicago Tribune Charities presented a version choreographed by the late Ruth Page and performed by her Chicago Opera Ballet at the Arie Crown in McCormick Place nearly every year between 1965 and 1997.] I don’t know how young I was, but young. I’m sure I’ve seen at least 200 performances.
Do you have a favorite moment or memory from a production?
CCC: Joffrey is my favorite because I know so much about the history and what happened behind the creation of the production, so I project a lot of emotion. I think the party scene is my favorite because that was truly Mr. Joffrey’s hand completely.
What’s the strangest take on the Nutcracker that you’ve ever seen?
CCC: When I travel, I take my dogs to this boarding place that is basically an old hangar. They did a dog Nutcracker. I totally watched it. It was hilarious. It was totally messed up—like 2-year-olds running around. The more the merrier. The more it is a part of contemporary culture and vocabulary, the better.