’Tis the Season for Holiday Shows in Chicagoland

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Chicagoland sets the stage for a host of holiday-themed performances, from the classics to comedies and back again!

Comedy
Jessica Thebus directs the world premiere of “The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley” at Northlight Theatre (through Dec. 22). “What a delightful and imaginative confection by these two smart and savvy creators,” says Artistic Director BJ Jones of the playwrights Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon, who begin their yarn after Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” leaves off.

The Second City lampoons made-for-TV holiday flicks in “Deck the Hallmark: A Greeting Card Channel Original” directed by Annelise Toft at the UP Comedy Club (through Dec. 31) while the world premiere of the family-friendly comedy “Cold Town/Hotline: A Chicago Holiday Story” performs at Raven Theatre (through Dec. 22).

Kids
“The Land of Forgotten Toys” by Jaclyn Enchin and Jennifer Enchin performs at Greenhouse Theater Center (through Dec. 29). Targeted at teens and tweens, the new 90-minute musical follows a savvy gal just out of high school and her quest to save Christmas. “We’re proud that we have created a female-driven show, a fun holiday musical that the whole family can enjoy year after year,” says Larry Little, who wrote the story the play is based on.

PlayMakers Laboratory (formerly Barrel of Monkeys) presents “That’s Weird Grandma: Holiday Extravaganza” at the Neo-Futurist Theater (Dec. 9-21). The production features adaptations of stories generated during creative writing residencies in Chicago elementary schools. Similarly, the world premiere of Collaboraction’s “All I Want for Chicago Is…” at the Flat Iron Arts Building (Dec. 7-15) showcases the wishes provided by Chicago high school students.

“The Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party” puppet show welcomes families to the Chicago Children’s Theatre (Dec. 7-29) as the Harris Theater for Music and Dance opens its doors to all interested in “Champions of Magic” (Dec. 23-29).

Classics
Goodman Theatre continues its tradition of staging the Charles Dickens classic “A Christmas Carol” starring Larry Yando as Ebenezer Scrooge (through Dec. 29). “So many families have made this production part of their annual holiday celebrations—resulting in thousands of Chicagoans being introduced to the magic of theater each year,” notes the show’s director Henry Wishcamper.

American Blues Theater presents “It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago!” at Stage 773 (through Jan. 4). “Though set in 1944, we see parallel themes in American society today,” explains Artistic Director Gwendolyn Whiteside. “From economic hardships, discussions of national identity, to basic acts of compassion exhibited towards others, we believe our production will provide needed relief to all.” The 1940s radio broadcast re-creation is followed by the American Blues Ensemble serving milk and cookies to the audience.

Irving Berlin’s musical “White Christmas” performs at Theatre at the Center in Munster (through Dec. 22), while Salt Creek Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” debuts at the McAninch Arts Center in Glen Ellyn (Dec. 14-15). The New Philharmonic performs Tchaikovsky’s score live. Plus, Santa will pose with patrons by a three-foot tall wooden Nutcracker one hour before each matinee.

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Photo of Netta Walker and Luigi Sottile in “The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley” by Liz Lauren. Courtesy of Northlight Theatre.

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Ms. Arvia is a freelance writer, former filmmaker, artist and Janet-of-all-trades who is pleased to serve as Arts & Culture Editor on our magazine since she’s always been Rebellious.