holiday shows Angela Ingersoll in “The 12 Dames of Christmas”
Angela Ingersoll in “The 12 Dames of Christmas” Credit: JPM Photography, courtesy of Artists Lounge Live

Across Chicagoland, venues are reopening to give the gift of live performances. Whether attending a holiday show for adults or a festive event designed for families with children, audience presence is the best present of all.

For Grownups
Veronica Garza portrays a 40-something Cindy Lou Who in the Chicago premiere of “Who’s Holiday!” (Nov. 26 – Dec. 26) at Theater Wit. The adults-only comedy has the once-animated character drinking, smoking, and reminiscing about The Grinch.

Fans of the British holiday rom-com “Love Actually” (2003) will appreciate “Love Actually? “The Unauthorized Musical Parody” (through Jan. 2). The ensemble spoof makes its Chicago debut at the Apollo Theater before heading to New York.

The Second City performs sketches and songs in its holiday revue “It’s A Wild, Wacky, Wonderful Life” (Dec. 12) at the McAninch Arts Center (MAC) in Glen Ellyn. “We’re so thrilled to return to in-person performances in time for our 35th Anniversary,” says MAC Director Diana Martinez.

Emmy nominee Angela Ingersoll performs holiday hits in the style of iconic American women, from Judy Garland to Janis Joplin, in “The 12 Dames of Christmas” (Dec. 6 – 7) at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire. The venue also hosts “Merry Christmas, Darling: Heidi Kettenring Sings Karen Carpenter” (Dec. 13 – 14).

Chicago Philharmonic celebrates the season with a “Holiday Brunch Concert” (Dec. 12) at City Winery Chicago – West Loop. The musical event features a harp trio by French composers, festive carols, and food specials.

Photo by Michael Brosilow of puppeteer Roxy Adviento with actress Vero Maynez in “The Snow Queen”

For Kids
City toddlers and their parents are invited to Chicago Children’s Theatre for “The Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party” (through Dec. 24) while, in the suburbs, Paramount Theatre presents the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “Cinderella” (through Jan. 9) for guests aged 5 and up. The theater’s Grand Gallery is decked with a two-story Christmas tree for family photos.

The House Theatre of Chicago launches its 20th Anniversary Season with “The Snow Queen” (through Jan. 2) at Chopin Theatre. AmBer D. Montgomery directs the re-imagined classic adapted by House Theatre Artistic Director Lanise Antoine Shelley.

Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp. and Cirque du Soleil present “’Twas the Night Before…” (Nov. 26 – Dec. 5) at The Chicago Theatre. The international cast includes Canadian Alicia Beaudoin performing acrobatic bicycle; Russian Suren Bozyan and Ukrainian Karyna Konchakivska in duo straps; Brazilian Danila Bim performing hair suspension; Italians Holler Zavatta and Kimberly Zavatta roller skating, and more.

Strawdog Theatre Company welcomes live audiences to Rivendell Theatre for its annual holiday show “Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins” (through Dec. 12) directed by Hannah Todd.“This incredibly imaginative retelling of ‘Hershel’ will truly captivate and entertain in ways unparalleled,” says Strawdog Artistic Director Kamille Dawkins. “Hannah Todd’s direction and our amazingly skilled designers and performers are crafting something heartfelt, fun and exciting.” Entrance is free yet guests 2 years and older must wear masks.

Ms. Arvia is a Rebellious columnist and movie critic; entertainment ghostwriter; award-winning artist; and grant-winning filmmaker.