To your list of things to be thankful for this holiday season, you may add the following: Theatre In Chicago's annual Holiday Shows Round-up! To help place you in the correct festive spirit, Theatre In Chicago has again made a full list (and yes, checked it twice) of all of the holiday-themed live theatrical offerings playing over the next several weeks in the Chicago area. As with all theatre in town, the shows range from timeless to timely, classic to brand new, family-friendly to not.
On the timeless/classic/family-friendly axis, there are multiple productions of A Christmas Carol. Everyone knows the Goodman Theatre puts on an extremely well-regarded production of the Dickens story every year, and if you didn't, well then I guess you heard it here first. But besides the Goodman, there are productions at Drury Lane in Oakbrook and Metropolis Performing Arts Center in Arlington Heights as well. In addition, there are also various non-traditional take-offs, including A Christmas Carl at RBP Rorschack Theatre and A Klingon Christmas Carol (performed "in the original Klingon with English supertitles") at the Greenhouse Theater Center. So whatever lands your spaceship...
American Blues Theater is again presenting its warmly received production of It's A Wonderful Life at Victory Gardens' historic Biograph Theatre. Billed as being "from the original director and ensemble that brought this holiday tradition to Chicago since 2004", It's A Wonderful Life: Live At The Biograph employs period costumes, sets, and authentic Foley sound effects to recreate a 1940s-era "radio broadcast" performance of the beloved Frank Capra film. There are also three other productions of the It's A Wonderful Life radio play showing, more or less concurrently with ABT, at American Theater Company, Overshadowed Theatrical Productions, and Noble Fool Theatricals in St. Charles.
A notable new offering this season comes from Northlight Theatre in Skokie. A Civil War Christmas: An American Musical Celebration, by playwright Paula Vogel, is set in 1864 Washington, DC, and weaves the story of a mother and daughter, both fugitives from slavery, in and around the lives of historical figures like Abraham and Mary Lincoln and Elizabeth Thomas as they prepare for Christmas. This is a brand new work by the Pulitzer Prize-winning Vogel (How I Learned To Drive), with a score composed of traditional carols and Civil War-era songs.
And for those who feel that this season always arrives with an excess of sentiment and solemnity, carpe diem and venture out to one or more of the "alternative" offerings that can be found all over Chicago. There is the aforementioned A Klingon Christmas Carol, of course, as well as The David Bowie Christmas Special 1977 (Network Edit) Or there's The Nutcracker. As adapted and performed by The House Theatre at their Chopin venue, this is not your little sister's Nutcracker ballet. And for improv lovers, The Second City presents another edition of their perennial Dysfunctional Holiday Revue, which plays at their home on Wells Street as well as four dates in the suburbs at Pheasant Run Resort.
As stated, many of these shows are perfect for the entire family, while others are most assuredly not. Please take the time to research individual plays you may be interested in. Information can be found by clicking on any of the titles listed on the TheatreInChicago site, and from there you can also navigate to the theatre's website.
For a complete list of the holiday shows go to the Holiday Plays page.