Theater in Chicago: Sixteen Shows Light Up the Holidays for the 2011-12 Season.

Theater in Chicago: Sixteen Shows Light Up the Holidays for the 2011-12 Season.
(center) Larry Yando (Scrooge) takes a look into his past as Nora Fiffer (Belle) tries to speak with Jarrod Zimmerman (Young Scrooge) during a recent rehearsal for Goodman Theatre’s 34th annual production of A Christmas Carol.

There is something for everyone in this holiday season’s versatile line-up of offerings.  A Christmas Carol makes its annual appearance on the Goodman Stage–the 34th year that this favorite returns; many Nutcrackers will abound throughout Chicago with the Joffrey Ballet’s production once again gracing the stage at the Auditorium Theatre; for those who like something less traditional David Sedaris’ holiday classic The Santaland Diaries will be playing at Theater Wit–or you can check out the Northlight Theatre’s Season’s Greetings that features a riotously hilarious take on the season with bickering relatives, drunken mishaps, and an ill-conceived puppet show that no one wants to see.  Donny and Marie will be at the Oriental Theatre with an Osmond Family Christmas; or people can see Frank Capra’s popular holiday classic It’s A Wonderful Life: The Radio Play at American Theater Company.

Some of the Top Holiday theater offerings in Chicago include:

1. The Goodman Theatre brings back a beloved Chicago tradition with Charles Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol, complete with ghosts, magic, love and the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge. November 18 – December 31.

2. The classic The Nutcracker returns to both the Joffrey Ballet and The House Theatre this holiday season. The Joffrey Ballet’s production, conceived and directed by Robert Joffrey with music by Tchaikovsky performed live by the Chicago Sinfonietta, runs from Dec 09 – Dec 27, 2011 at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University.

3. The Chicago Theatre opens A Christmas Story, The Musical!, produced by the film’s original Ralphie, Peter Billingsley. Ralphie Parker wants only one thing for Christmas: a Red Ryder BB Gun, and he’ll do anything to get it. December 14 – December 30.

4. David Sedaris’ holiday classic The Santaland Diaries returns to the Theater Wit stage for the eighth time, starring Mitchell Fain. November 25 – December 31.

5. Congo Square’s annual production of The Nativity returns to the Goodman Theatre with gospel music and modern dance. December 2 – December 31.

6. In the holiday tradition of the “Osmond Family Christmas” specials, Broadway In Chicago presents the Chicago premiere of Donny & Marie – Christmas in Chicago at the Oriental Theatre. December 6 – December 24.

7. Frank Capra’s holiday classic It’s A Wonderful Life: The Radio Play hits the stage at both American Theater Company, November 25-December 24, and the American Blues Theater at Victory Gardens, November 28-December 24.

8. A look at the ridiculous antics of an “average” family Christmas, Northlight Theatre presents Season’s Greetings, last season’s smash hit at London’s National Theatre, at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts. November 11 – December 18, 2011.

9. The heart-warming story of the first Christmas tree ship, the musical The Christmas Schooner returns to the Mercury Theatre.  November 16 – December 31.

10. Provision Theater opens The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, written by Tim Gregory and Michael Mahler and directed by Tim Gregory. November 23 – December 23.

11. Singer Lisa Rock and her 6-piece band keep The Carpenters’ holiday traditions alive with A Carpenters Christmas Special at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre.  December 14 – December 18.

12. The ComedySportz Theater uses their imagination to save Santa from the evil Expensivo in their family-friendly The Comedysportz Crew Saves Santa.  November 19 – December 23.

13. Redmoon Theater’s Winter Pageant 2011 presents an immersive family event for the young and young at heart. November 26 – January 8.

14. Annoyance Productions presents its annual The Annoyance Christmas Pageant featuring hilarious and family-friendly retellings of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “Rudolph.”  December 3 – December 18.

15. Stage Left Theatre presents The Eight: Reindeer Monologues at Theater Wit, a comical and horrific tale of scandal.  December 9 – December 31.

16. Created by Chicago comedian Leslie Nesbit, Chemically Imbalanced Comedy brings A Very Sci-Fi Christmas to the holiday season. Original and quirky, the show features Santa, space, love, and time travel. December 2 – January 14.

Filed under: Theater in Chicago

Tags: Holiday Theater

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