The holidays aren't complete without David Sedaris, ruminations on the temperamental economy, some Dickens lovin' and a multicultural take on Christmas. Get out and see some theater with the family because, honestly, what else are you going to do this holiday season that doesn't involve gobbling food, sneaking under mistletoe, lighting candles and eating Chinese food because every other restaurant is closed? Yep, that's what we thought. (Scroll down to the bottom for all the Nutcracking and Caroling you can handle.)
"A Nutty Nutcracker Christmas"
This fun, fresh holiday spectacular for the entire family boasts holiday hits like "Welcome to Christmas Wood," "The Wind-Up Toy Ballet," and crowd favorite "Let's Ruin Christmas."
"The Santaland Diaries"
Theater Wit presents a wry holiday tradition in its sixth year. David (Sedaris) is a struggling young writer who takes a job as an elf at Macy's and struggles to maintain his dignity.
"Son of Santa's Great American Depression Holiday Show"
This collection of sketch comedy and improvisation from Second City and iO actors is an entirely original sketch-comedy revue about the words in its title.
"Santa Claus Conquers the Nazis!"
World War II is going poorly for Hitler, so he decides to kidnap Santa Claus. The only thing standing in the way of their evil plot? A misunderstood elf, a misfit toy and a couple of hit men reindeer. Will that be enough to save Christmas?
"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer"
Teaming up with fellow outsider Hermie, an elf who longs to be a dentist instead of just another factory worker, this wacky North Pole pair takes a crazy adventure through scary lands like the Island of Misfit Toys. Rudolph gets a lot of slack for his brightly colored red nose but, ironically, it ends up saving the day.
"Rudolph the Red-Hosed Reindeer"
Pull up an iceberg and join Rudolph and his misfit friends, Herbie the 'not gay enough' elf and Yukon Cornelia, the butch prospector with a deep, dark secret, as they search for happiness and attempt to outrun the horrifyingly tacky Abominable Drag-Beast.
It's one month before Christmas, which means crunch time at the North Pole. Then St. Nick gets an unexpected visit from the 12-year-old daughter he didn't know he had. Now Santa must balance parenthood and career. Presented in the style of a classic radio program, this interactive stage reading will have you laughing all through the holidays.
"Mother Superior's Ho-Ho-Holy Night"
Did Baby Jesus get to ride in the sleigh? Was Santa in the manger with the Holy Family? Did the elves guide the Three Wise Men? Your favorite nun will answer these questions and more.
"The Greatest Holiday Improv Show Ever"
The Comedy Shrine presents this holiday improv show every Thursday through the end of January.
"The Second City's Exceedingly Dysfunctional Holiday Revue"
The holidays are depressing, but not with Second City. Making light of every holiday misstep, whether it's making up your own "creative" words to traditional carols or a disgruntled elf ruining the North Pole’s Christmas party, this satire is your new holiday tradition.
"Mark & Laura's Couples Advice Christmas Special"
This satire is based on TV's self-proclaimed counseling gurus and the dysfunctional American family. Will Mark & Laura's volatile relationship get in the way of their primetime debut?
"Feats of Strength: Six New Plays for Surviving the Holidays"
Dramatis Personae presents this festival featuring the works of six Chicago playwrights. Their-six minute creations based on a prompt of "surviving the holidays" are all Chicago premieres. Each play features a holiday survival situation, such as a Reindeer revolution, Jesus' birthday party, and even an electric turkey carver duel.
"Holiday Ha-Ha's with Patti Vasquez and Tim Harrison"
Patti Vasquez, a Chicago native, joins Tim Harrison to offer a perspective on family and relationships, including stories about growing up in a multi-ethnic American family.
"Snow White and the Drag Queen Who Stole Christmas"
This MidTangent Productions event combines two classic children's tales (well, sort of) into one outrageous production.
"The Ha-Ha Holiday Show"
This improv show features totally improvised scenes based on the audience's holiday-themed suggestions.
"It Came Upon a Midnight Queen"
Hit hard by the economic downturn, the people of Dorchester, Nebraska are down in the dumps. That's when 10-year-old Annie Mitchell decides to stage a Christmas pageant to save her town. Now all she needs is a celebrity to host it, but who will she find? Find out in this new holiday show.
Holiday Traditions New and Old
"The Christmas Schooner"
The story of Peter and Alma Stossel, who decide to take Christmas trees from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan across the icy waters to post-fire Chicago, this tale always delights.
"Miracle on 34th Street"
When a whitebearded gentleman claims to be the real Santa Claus, he spreads love across New York City, convincing a divorced single mother, her solemn daughter, and the entire state of New York that Santa Claus is no myth.
"It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play"
A Chicago holiday favorite back for its eighth year, it's the classic story lovingly performed as a period radio play. ATC's ensemble plays the well-known roles from the film with heart and passion, supported by live music and live Foley sound effects.
"It's a Wonderful Life"
American Blues Theater, Chicago's second oldest Equity ensemble company, kicks off its 2009-2010 season with this new adaptation of the classic story based on the Frank Capra masterpiece and performed as a period radio piece complete with commercial breaks.
"My Three Angels"
In French Guiana, a region where on Christmas Eve the temperature has graciously dropped to 104 degrees, three amiable convicts are employed as roofers above the Ducotel's general store. The roof winds up being the least of the family's troubles. On the way from France is Henri - an evil-minded cousin and owner of the flailing store, and his nephew Paul - who recently jilted the Ducotel's fanciful young daughter. The three warm-hearted convicts are passionate believers in true justice, and decide it's their job to take the visitors on as they plot to set matters right. A captivating and comedic holiday treasure also known as "We're No Angels."
"The Snow Queen"
Talking animals, wooden soldiers, witches and lost children: Victory Gardens' production of "Snow Queen," adapted from the Hans Christian Andersen story by director Frank Galati and songwriter Michael Smith, provides enchantment and wonder. It's the story of how beautiful adolescent Gerda rescues her best friend Kai from the clutches of the titular evil monarch, whose icy lips offer the terrifying kiss of death. Along the way, she meets the usual witches and princesses, as well as ravens and reindeer.
"A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant" (A Red Orchid)
This satirical musical (a returning favorite) explores Dianetics, the E-meter, Thetans, the story of Xenu, and many other...compelling aspects of Scientology.
"A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant" (Next Theatre)
Uplifting pageantry and song commemorate the life of L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology, in this avant-garde performance.
"Tidings of Tap!"
The innovative Chicago Tap Theatre offers a new holiday tradition. Featuring rhythm- and whimsy-filled interpretations of your favorite Christmas, Chanukah and Winter songs, this family-friendly evening of culture and cheer features pieces as varied as "Carol of the Bells A Capella," "Ocho Kandelikas," and Joni Mitchell's "River."
This winter solstice celebration draws on songs and stories from a variety of cultures and generations. Belinda Bremner directs.
"The Gift of the Magi"
The poignant story of young, poor newlyweds, each of whom sacrifices his or her own treasures to purchase a special Christmas gift for the other. O. Henry’s classic short story of sacrifice and the enduring magic of love is transformed into a heart-warming musical treasure.
Otherworldly characters take the audience on a journey that traverses through four different environments built within the 7,000-square-foot Collaboraction space in this atypical holiday show.
The Nutcracker "The Nutcracker" (Paramount Theatre)
Sugarplum fairies, nutcrackers, and mice dazzle you in this seasonal sensation. The ballet incorporates a cast of local dancers as well as world-class guest artists.
"The Nutcracker" (Chodl Auditorium)
This classic ballet dances into town just in time for the holiday season. Ballet Legere's 25th-anniversary production includes a full orchestra.
"The Nutcracker" (Auditorium Theatre)
The Joffrey Ballet's production has been a Chicago holiday favorite since its first performance here in 1996. Combining classical elegance with explosive action, the show rolls out favorite characters like Clara and the Sugar Plum Fairy, and the warring Mice led by the Mouse King.
"The Great Russian Nutcracker" (Rosemont Theatre)
Members of the Moscow Ballet and children from SPACE arts conservatory present this holiday classic. Featuring timeless music and elegant ballet, this show is sure to delight young and old.
"The Nutcracker" (Centre East)
The Civic Ballet of Chicago presents "The Nutcracker". Pay an extra $10 and you'll get admission to the post-show Sugar Plum Parties.
A Christmas Carol
"A Christmas Carol" (Goodman Theatre)
Scrooge strikes again in this classic production.
"A Christmas Carol" (Metropolis Performing Arts Centre)
Singing, dancing and celebration abound in this Arlington Heights theater's production.
"A Christmas Carol" (Paramount Theatre)
This lavish production bursts with pageantry, laughter, gorgeous costumes and classic lines.
"A Christmas Carol" (Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre)
The Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences presents a musical which combines a classic story with music by a Disney composer, Alan Menken.
"A Christmas Carol" (Civic Opera House)
This production affords the audience an opportunity to see six beloved, much-admired actors on stage in a production faithful to the original 1943 novella. The dramatic arc of the story — tracing Scrooge from his happy childhood and adolescence to his embittered, miserly adulthood and the magical night that leads him to recognize the true meaning of Christmas —is one of the most satisfying in all literature. The splendor of Chicago’s Civic Opera House will be filled with a lavish production featuring beautiful, historically accurate scenery, props and costumes, eye-popping special effects and a supporting cast of twenty-eight.
"A Christmas Carol" (Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace)
A popular holiday tradition entertaining hundreds of children and families each year is back once again this Christmas season. In addition to a performance from a cast of top Chicago actors, Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace offers families the special opportunity to have breakfast or dinner with Santa Claus on select performance dates.