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Holiday Theater and events for winter 2017-2018

November 15, 2017 at 7:45 AM

Original Article:

No Surprise, Chicago Theaters are putting together an amazing line-up of holiday and winter programming. You'll find everything from traditional holiday fare to the classics and the irreverent.

No Surprise, Chicago Theaters are putting together an amazing line-up of holiday and winter programming. You'll find everything from traditional holiday fare to the classics and the irreverent.

Chicago’s favorite cross-dressing reindeer is back at Hell in a Handbag Productions’ RUDOLPH THE RED-HOSED REINDEER at Mary's Attic. Or how about an outdoor production in December, blankets and heaters provided, when the Chicago premiere of PINE comes to a real Christmas Tree lot at Uncommon Ground in Edgewater. Then there's the the rock musical, LIZZIE, based on the true-life story of accused axe-murderess Lizzie Borden presented by the Firebrand Theatre at the Den.


As you can see holiday/winter theater is a broad category that doesn't have to be just about Sugar Plum Fairies, Scrooge and Santa Claus--it can also be any show that makes for an enjoyable theater experience such as the Lyric Opera’s PEARL FISHERS (November 19 through December 10) and TURANDOT (December 5 through January 27, 2018) or Chicago Shakespeare Theater's Q BROTHERS CHRISTMAS CAROL  presented in their new Yard to pre-Broadway blockbusters like ESCAPE TO MARGARITAVILLE from Broadway in Chicago or THE MINUTES at Steppenwolf to magical children's theater along with the world's greatest improv from the likes of Second City and IO there's something out there for everyone.

Here's a look:

Perfect for young theatergoers...give them their first taste of theater at Emerald City Theatre's TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE  CHRISTMAS at Broadway Playhouse (November 12 through December 31). The "Naughty or Nice" list goes missing and it's up to a pair of dancing mice, a spunky girl, and an Elf-B-I agent to solve the mystery before Santa boards his sleigh.

Traditionalists will want to check out favorites such as Goodman's A CHRISTMAS CAROL (November 18 through December 31) and Christopher Wheeldon's critically-acclaimed holiday masterpiece THE NUTCRACKER with the Joffrey Ballet at the Auditorium Theatre (December 1 - 30). 

Another of the many productions of THE NUTCRACKER is the House Theatre's wholly original, ballet-free, fast paced and family-friendly version at the Chopin Theatre (November 4 - December 30). story of two showbiz buddies putting on a show in a picturesque Vermont inn, and finding their perfect mates in the bargain.  (Nov. 21 – Dec. 3).   

For 16 years, the American Blues Ensemble has treated Chicago audiences to a live 1940s radio broadcast of holiday favorite IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE, the inspiring story that people never seem to get tired of hearing. The incredible cast recreates the entire town of Bedford Falls with Foley sound effects, an original score and holiday carols. The Bedford Falls “residents” extend their hospitality after every performance when audiences are treated to milk and cookies served by the cast (November 17-December 30 at 1225 W. Belmont).

Everybody's favorite witches, one “good,” and the other one “wicked” return to Chicago in WICKED December 6 through January 21, 2018 at the Oriental Theatre (24 W. Randolph).

holidaytheaterbeatrix-potter-castMORE KID Stuff. Is two too young? If you are wondering how to introduce a child in your life between ages 2 and 6 to theater, THE BEATRIX POTTER HOLIDAY TEA PARTY, may be just your ticket. The “toddler-timed,” 45-minute performance features three enchanting Beatrix Potter stories. Immediately after, kids are invited on the set for 15 minutes to explore and play with the ingenious mechanical “suitcase sculptures” custom-built for this production, and to meet and pose for photos with the cast and enjoy tea or hot cocoa. Saturdays and Sundays, December 2-17, 2017 at Chicago Children’s Theatre, The Station, 100 S. Racine Ave.

CHICAGO SHAKESPEARE THEATER and Chicago hip-hop sensation the Q Brothers—creators of Othello: The Remix and Funk It Up About Nothin’—turn up the volume on Charles Dickens’ classic tale, mixing everything from reggae, dancehall, and dubstep to epic rock ballads. (800 E. Grand Ave.) as the ghosts of Hip-hop Past, Present, and Future lead Scrooge on a journey of rhythm, rhyme, and redemption in Q BROTHER CHRISTMAS CAROL at their exciting new space The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare (November 21 - December 31, 2017).

THE AUDIENCE comes to TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave. The production, by Peter Morgan, directed by TimeLine Associate Artistic Director Nick Bowling stars TimeLine Company Member Janet Ulrich Brooks as Queen Elizabeth II. (November 12 through December 3). 

BLACK ENSEMBLE THEATER (4450 N Clark St.,) has a treat in store with the original production of Sammy Davis Jr.with SAMMY: THE STORY OF SAMMY DAVIS JR. (December 9, 2017 - January 21, 2018). Then get ready to ring in the New Year with The Annual Black Ensemble New Year’s Eve Show, December 31.             


White Christmas.

White Christmas.


The classic, IRVING BERLIN’S WHITE CHRISTMAS at the Cadillac Palace Theatre (151 W. Randolph) tells the story of two showbiz buddies putting on a show in a picturesque Vermont inn, and finding their perfect mates in the bargain.  (November 21 – December 3). 

ESCAPE TO MARGARITAVILLE, the new musical featuring the songs of legendary singer-songwriter-author Jimmy Buffett, plays a limited pre-Broadway engagement beginning November 9 through December 2 at Broadway In Chicago’s Oriental Theatre (24 W. Randolph).

SCROOGE AND THE GHOSTLY SPIRIT is a world-premiere musical based on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol  at the Citadel Theatre in Lake Forest (November 14 - December 23).

ELF: THE MUSICAL, based on the hilarious 2003 Will Ferrell movie, will be presented at the Paramount Theatre, November 22 – January 7, 2018.

BARNEY THE ELF, musical parody of Elf starring Yando Lopez and Chicago drag queen sensation Dixie Lynn Cartwright, returns for the third year to Greenhouse Theater Center 2257 N. Lincoln (November 17 – December 30). 

PUFF: BELIEVE IT OR NOT with Remy Bumppo Theatre Company at the Greenhouse Theater Center (2257 N. Lincoln Ave.) explores  the salon society of 1840s Paris and is packed full of elegant plotting, quirky characters, fanciful fakery, and just downright lying, as it delightfully skewers the worlds of letters, politics and finance (November 22 - January 7, 2018).


James Leaming. Photo: Michael Brosilow

James Leaming. Photo: Michael Brosilow


The Chicago premiere of THIS WONDERFUL LIFE, a stage adaptation of the iconic holiday film It’s a Wonderful Life, features James Leaming as a single actor who recreates the heartwarming story about the effect one hardworking man’s life has on the people around him at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont (November 17 – 26).

DRURY LANE THEATRE (100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace) Drury Lane Theatre for Young Audiences presents A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Charles Dickens (November 15 - December 23).  On select performance dates, families will have the opportunity to have breakfast or dinner with Santa Claus. ALSO at Drury Lane 42ND STREET (now through December 21.

 LOOKINGGLASS THEATRE (821 N Michigan Ave.), circus-infused HARD TIMES filled with a Dickensian carnival of characters now through January 14, 2018.


The Minutes at Steppenwolf.

The Minutes at Steppenwolf.


THE MINUTES comes to Steppenwolf Theatre’s MainStage (November 9-December 31) before heading to Broadway. Tracy Letts’s, the writer who brought you August: Osage County, exposes small-town politics and real-world power in the highly anticipated comedy.

NORTHLIGHT THEATRE (9501 Skokie Blvd in Skokie) is all about Shakespeare as THE BOOK OF WILL navigates the production of the First Folio in 1623. They may not have any money or clear-cut rights to his work, but they’re armed with wit, humor, a deep camaraderie and a passion to preserve the plays that shaped their lives (November 9 – December 17).

VICTORY GARDENS THEATRE Victory Gardens Biograph Theatre, (2433 N Lincoln Avenue) presents FADE witty behind-the-scenes drama about Mexican-born Lucia who is hired to write for a ruthless Hollywood TV series (now-December 23).

The classic Chicago musical THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER sets sail again at The Mercury Theater featuring a powerful, moving story, an exquisite score of original music and traditional holiday favorites, and a company of 25 actors and musicians (November 24 - December 31).

WRITERS THEATRE (325 Tudor Court, Glencoe) Oscar Wilde's THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST, one of the cleverest comedies by one of the greatest writers in the English language (November 8 – December 23).

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