Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Holiday Roundup: Chicago Theatre Shows On Our Radar In November/ December

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar

Photo Credit for All: Bonnie Kenaz-Mara

Tis the season for a flurry of theatre in Chicago and shows are a great way to entertain family during the winter break, make memories with visiting guests, and take care of your holiday gift list in style. Theatre tickets make excellent presents that don't add to clutter or end up in a landfill. Think theatre for 2017. Here are some of our top picks here at ChiIL Mama (family friendly) and ChiIL Live Shows (adult). Check back early and often for our theatre news, original reviews, interviews, great ticket giveaways, and photo filled features. Use our side search bar and key words to make life easier.



This Wonderful Life
The Edge Theatre
Written by Steve Murray
Directed by Carmen Roman
Starring James Leaming
November 2 – 26, 2017
Tickets: $19 - $49

Founding Ensemble member and Chicago’s original “George Bailey” James Leaming inhabits every role in this hilariously touching stage adaptation of the iconic holiday film It’s a Wonderful Life. George Bailey, Clarence, Mr. Potter, and the gang come to life as a single actor creates a heartwarming story about the effect one hardworking man’s life has on the people around him.

16th Anniversary Production of
It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago!
Stage 773
From Frank Capra’s film
Directed by Producing Artistic Director Gwendolyn Whiteside
November 17 – December 30, 2017
Tickets: $19 - $49

For 16 years, the American Blues Ensemble has treated Chicago audiences to a live 1940s radio broadcast of holiday favorite It’s a Wonderful Life. The incredible cast recreates the entire town of Bedford Falls with Foley sound effects, an original score and holiday carols. The Bedford Falls “residents” extend their hospitality after every performance when audiences are treated to milk and cookies served by the cast.

4450 N Clark St., Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 769-4451
The Annual Black Ensemble New Year’s Eve Show
December 31, 2017

Like all Black Ensemble events, the New Year’s Eve celebration will be an occasion filled with joy and excitement. Guests at the celebration will enjoy a performance by the stars of Black Ensemble Theater, along with great entertainment, fabulous food, dancing with the stars and champagne flowing all night long!

800 E. Grand Ave., Chicago, IL  60611

Q Brothers Christmas Carol
The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare
Written by Q Brothers Collective (GQ, JQ, Jax, Pos)
Developed with Rick Boynton
Directed by GQ and JQ
November 21 - December 31, 2017
Tickets: $30 - $52

Throw your hands up, Chicago—the holiday treat set to a bangin’ beat is back! CST and Chicago hip-hop sensation the Q Brothers—creators of Othello: The Remix and Funk It Up About Nothin’—turn up the volume on Charles Dickens’ classic tale, mixing everything from reggae, dancehall, and dubstep to epic rock ballads. Brighten your festivities with some cheeky spirit and a whole lot of heart—complete with visits from a Jamaican Jacob Marley and that youngest of Cratchits, Lil’ Tim. The Q Brothers are joined by a live DJ as the ghosts of Hip-hop Past, Present, and Future lead Scrooge on a journey of rhythm, rhyme, and redemption.

Drury Lane Theatre
100 Drury Lane
Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181
(630) 530-8300

Drury Lane Theatre for Young Audiences presents
By Charles Dickens
November 15 - December 23, 2017
Tickets: $15

With a lively score and captivating choreography, A Christmas Carol will take families on a timeless holiday adventure with Scrooge as he travels through time with three special ghosts. Over 30 colorful Dickensian characters are brought to life on stage in this uplifting tale of hope and redemption. Complete with falling snow, magical illusions and special effects, the play is a visually-stunning experience, and at one hour long, perfect for children of all ages. On select performance dates, families will have the opportunity to have breakfast or dinner with Santa Claus in Drury Lane's elegantly decorated dining room. Tickets for Drury Lane Theatre productions are available by calling the box office at (630) 530-0111, TicketMaster at (800) 745-3000 or visiting

Thursday, November 23, 2017
10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Price:   Adults - $50
            Child 6 to 12 - $16
            Child 3 to 5 - $10
Child 2 and Under - FREE
Leave the cooking to Drury Lane this Thanksgiving! Start your morning off with our seasonal pumpkin chai latte before enjoying traditional favorites like roasted turkey, cranberry and apple stuffing, and roasted butternut squash. Then, stop by our dessert table to indulge in our warm bread pudding with caramel apple sauce or choose from our assortment of seasonal pies.

Saturdays, November 18 & 25 and December 2, 9, 16 & 23
11:00 a.m.
Price:   Adults - $20
            Child 4 to 12 - $15
            Child 3 and Under - FREE

Start your morning with Santa! Join us for our family-friendly breakfast before seeing our production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, the classic holiday tale of the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge. Stop by our yogurt bar, make your own donuts, and enjoy our holiday hot chocolate station. Let the little ones write out their holiday wishes in a letter to Santa that we send straight to the North Pole! 

Sundays, November 26 and December 3, 10 & 17
10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Price:   Adults - $50
            Child 6 to 12 - $16
            Child 3 to 5 - $10
Child 2 and Under - FREE
Celebrate the holiday season with our exquisite brunch! From eggnog and cinnamon rolls to green bean casserole and hand-carved roasted turkey, we have all your holiday favorites. Gather around our 20-foot sparkling Christmas tree for a family photo before seeing our toe-tapping production of 42nd Street. Don’t forget to say “hi” to Santa! 

Saturdays, December 2, 9, 16 & 23
3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Price:  Adults - $35
Child 4 to 12 - $25
Child 3 and Under - FREE

Take a break from holiday shopping and indulge in our special holiday afternoon tea. Listen to Christmas favorites played by our classical pianist and enjoy seasonal specialties under the twinkling lights of Drury Lane’s festive 20-foot Christmas tree. Featuring freshly baked breads and scones, holiday tea sandwiches, enticing desserts, as well as an assortment of seasonal teas, including harvest apple spice and spiced ginger plum, and hot chocolate for the children. Champagne is also included!
Reservations must be made 24 hours in advance!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017
5:00 p.m.
Price:   Adults - $25
            Child 4 to 12 - $15
            Child 3 and Under - FREE

Treat the whole family to a festive evening with a savory dinner before the December 13th evening performance of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, the classic holiday tale of the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge. Stop by our holiday hot chocolate station before enjoying our seasonal quiche, honey-glazed ham, and whipped potatoes with gravy. Take a photo with Santa (or write him a letter!) and then gather the whole family for a photo in front of our elegant 20-foot Christmas tree!

Monday, December 25, 2017
10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Price:   Adults - $50
            Child 6 to 12 - $16
            Child 3 to 5 - $10
Child 2 and Under - FREE
On Christmas Day, bring the whole family to our special Christmas Brunch Buffet. Enjoy our elegant holiday decor including a 20-foot tree with sparkling lights. Sip our holiday eggnog or pumpkin chai latte while enjoying our savory Italian sausage with sweet bell peppers and roast prime rib with chestnut stuffing. Satisfy your sweet tooth with our assortment of holiday treats including Christmas cookies, cranberry-apple pie, and warm vanilla bread pudding with caramel bourbon sauce.

Saturday, December 31, 2017
3:00 pm, 3-course meal, $40
6:00 pm, 4-course meal, $70*
9:00 pm, 4-course meal, $65*
6pm and 9pm seatings include a commemorative flute
Ring in 2018 with Drury Lane’s New Year’s Eve Celebration. Gather your friends and indulge in a decadent four-course dinner at Lucille. As midnight approaches, celebrate with a complimentary champagne toast and dancing with our live band until 1 am.  Add to the celebration with a performance of the beloved tap classic 42nd Street.


4450 N Clark St., Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 769-4451

Sammy: The Story of Sammy Davis Jr.
Written and Directed by Daryl Brooks
December 9, 2017 - January 21, 2018
Previews: December 9, 10, 15 and 16
Tickets: $45 - $65


Drury Lane Theatre
100 Drury Lane
Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181
(630) 530-8300

42nd Street 
Music by Harry Warren
Lyrics by Al Dubin
Book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble
Based on the Novel by Bradford Ropes
Original Direction and Dances by Gower Champion
Originally Produced on Broadway by David Merrick
October 26 – December 21, 2017
Tickets: $42 - $62

Tap through this year’s holiday season with the 1980 Tony Award winner for Best Musical, 42nd Street! In this Broadway favorite, aspiring chorus girl Peggy Sawyer lands a bigger break in New York City than expected. When the leading lady injures her ankle, Peggy gets the chance of a lifetime to rise from showgirl to star of a glitzy new Broadway musical. With show stopping tap numbers and unforgettable hits such as “We’re In The Money,” “Lullaby of Broadway,” and “Shuffle Off to Buffalo,” Warm your Chicago winter with 42ND Street – a love letter to the Great White Way. The creative team and cast for 42nd Street will be announced at a later date. 42nd Street is suitable for all audiences but most enjoyable for ages 5 and up.

821 N Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 337-0665

Hard Times
Adapted and Directed by Ensemble Member Heidi Stillman
From the Book by Charles Dickens
In Association with The Actors Gymnasium
Playing until January 14, 2018
Featuring Ensemble Members David Catlin, Raymond Fox and Artistic Associate Troy West
Tickets: $40 - $85 ($20 Student Rush Tickets)

Lookingglass launches its 30th Season with the return of the award-winning, circus-infused Hard Times.  

A Dickensian carnival of characters inhabits the streets of smoke-choked Coketown: grim Mr. Gradgrind’s school churns out joyless students; poor Stephen Blackpool toils in the nearby mines; and mill-owner Mr. Bounderby, full of bluster and bombast, presides over it all. Only when a traveling circus alights nearby, and young orphan Sissy Jupe enters their world, does a ray of hope shine through. 

Artistic Director Heidi Stillman adapts and directs this timeless love-letter to the power of beauty, hope, and imagination.  

9501 Skokie Blvd in Skokie, IL 60077
(847) 673-6300

The Book of Will
By Lauren Gunderson
Directed by Jessica Thebus
November 9 – December 17, 2017

William Shakespeare wrote some of the world’s most beloved plays – but without his friends, they may have been lost to history! Follow the members of Shakespeare’s own company as they cunningly navigate the production of the First Folio in 1623. They may not have any money or clear-cut rights to his work, but they’re armed with wit, humor, a deep camaraderie and a passion to preserve the plays that shaped their lives. With the help of their wives and colleagues, two actors set out not only to print a collection, but to uphold a legacy for the world.

1616 N. Wells St.
(312) 337-3992
The full schedule at The Second City, including holiday programing, is available online.

Dream Freaks Fall From Space

In one of the comedy industry’s most anticipated traditions, iconic Chicago comedy institution The Second City is proud to announce the opening of its upcoming 106th Mainstage revue, Dream Freaks Fall From Space. The all-new show is written and performed by second-time Mainstage cast member Kelsey Kinney and new cast members Ryan Asher, Tyler Davis, Jeffrey Murdoch, Tien Tran, and Nate Varrone. Jeff Award winner Ryan Bernier returns to direct his sixth resident show. Vinnie Pillarella returns as music director, as does longtime stage manager Craig Taylor, who has been at the technical helm of shows featuring legendary alumni including Chris Farley, Tina Fey, and Stephen Colbert over the course of his storied career at The Second City.


Victory Gardens Biograph Theatre
2433 N Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 871-3000

By Victory Gardens Theater Ensemble Playwright Tanya Saracho
Directed by Teatro Vista Ensemble Member Sandra Marquez
A Co-Production with Teatro Vista
November 4-December 23, 2017
Tickets: $15 - $56

In this witty behind-the-scenes drama, Mexican-born Lucia is hired to write for a ruthless Hollywood TV series. She soon discovers that the Mexican American custodian, Abel, has a windfall of plot ideas. As their friendship grows, his stories start to blur with hers with unexpected consequences. Fade, directed by Sandra Marquez, is an acclaimed new play from Tanya Saracho (How to Get Away with Murder, Looking, Girls) whose writing “lands in that sweet spot between comedy and drama” (Chicago Tribune).

325 Tudor Court, Glencoe, IL 60022
(847) 242-6000

The Importance of Being Earnest
Written by Oscar Wilde
Directed by Artistic Director Michael Halberstam
November 8 – December 23, 2017
Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre | 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe
Tickets: $35 - $80

One of the cleverest comedies by one of the greatest writers in the English language, The Importance of Being Earnest introduces us to Jack and Algernon, two charming bachelors who are each living a double life, aided by a fictional alter ego called “Ernest.” But when they fall truly in love with a pair of proper young women, will they be able to bring an end to the charade and convince the formidable Lady Bracknell that they are suitable candidates for marriage? After all, “the one charm about marriage is that it makes a life of deception absolutely necessary for both parties.”

More Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Ruth Page Civic Ballet’s The Nutcracker, 
December 2 - 3

The House Theatre of Chicago’s The Nutcracker, 
Through December 30

Lifeline Theatre Kidseries’ Arnie The Doughnut,

Through November 26

Pegasus Theatre Company’s Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery, 
November 8 - December 10

Porchlight Music Theatre’s Porchlight Revisits…Woman of the Year, November 14 - 16 at 7:15 p.m.

The Agency Theatre Collective’s Hellcab 
November 11 - December 17

The House Theatre of Chicago’s The Magic Parlour, Open Run, tickets now on sale through July

The Neo-Futurists’ The Infinite Wrench, 

Porchlight Music Theatre’s Billy Elliot
Through December 31

Theatre Y’s Yerma, 
Through December 10

The Factory Theater’s Captain Steve’s Caring Kingdom, 
Through December 9

Pegasus Theatre Company’s Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery, 
Through December 10

Porchlight Music Theatre’s Porchlight Revisits…Woman of the Year, November 14 - 16 at 7:15 p.m.

The Agency Theatre Collective’s Hellcab, 
Through December 17

The Neo-Futurists’ Best of 2017: The Infinite Wrench, 
December 1 - 10

Chicago Tap Theatre’s Tidings of Tap!
Sunday, Dec, 10 at 3 p.m.

The Neo-Futurists’ 60 Sings in 60 Minutes: Mayfly’s Childhood Torn Into Traffic Light Cycles, 
December 14 - 16 at 7:30 p.m.

The Neo-Futurists’ New Year’s Party and Performance, 
Sunday, Dec. 31 at 9:30 p.m.

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