Floral Shakespearian, Queer Cheer, Stripping Steelworkers, a Classic Carol Crooner, and Family Betrayals of Biblical Proportions
Chicago's theatre scene is ramping up for the holidays in a big way. Whether you're jazzed for the season and ready to embrace everything holly jolly, or you're looking for an escape from deck the halls hell, here are two Christmas themed shows and three that aren't. Perfect for clutter busting gift ideas, or a great distraction for entertaining visiting family and friends, there's a little something for everyone on this list.
BARNEY THE ELF
Pride Films and Plays
The Broadway, Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway
December 14, 2018 – January 6, 2019
Book and Lyrics by Bryan Renaud and Emily Schmidt
Directed by Michael D. Graham
We caught this irreverent gem last year. It's sweet, funny and LGBTQ positive. Read our review HERE.
For its fourth annual Chicago production, Chicago drag queen sensation Dixie Lynn Cartwright again takes the lead of this cheeky musical twist on the modern holiday fave about "embracing your inner elf." After Santa Claus retires, his wicked son begins a not-so-jolly reign as the new head of Christmas. The North Pole begins to crumble under his tyrannical rule, and Barney the Elf is forced to leave his home. Soon he embarks on a fabulous journey of self-discovery (or is it elf-discovery?) that lands him in one of Chicago's hottest drag bars. But can he truly leave Christmas behind for a new life in the big city? BARNEY THE ELF brings choreographed musical numbers galore and plenty of queer holiday cheer to the Pride Arts Center for the first time, in a new staging by Michael D. Graham.
AN UNFORGETTABLE NAT KING COLE CHRISTMAS
STARRING EVAN TYRONE MARTIN
Michael Ingersoll’s Artists Lounge Live
Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire
Tuesday, December 18, 3:00pm and 7:30pm.
If Christmas Carols are your jam, or you're looking for something to appeal to the parents or more traditional family and friends on your gift list, check out Evan Tyrone Martin singing Nat King Cole favorites for 2 shows, one night only.
Chicago musical theatre sensation Evan Tyrone Martin (JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, SIDE SHOW, OKLAHOMA!) warmly resonates the velvety vocal style of musical legend Nat King Cole. Chicago Tribune calls the Award-nominated Martin “Destined for Stardom: One of the Hot New Faces of Chicago Theatre,” Chicago Sun-Times raves, "Evan Tyrone Martin is a golden-voiced actor of sweetness and grace,” and BCR News praises, "Martin's vocal ease would have done Nat King Cole proud." Martin intimately relates Cole’s personal journey, while presenting a festive cocktail of hit including “L-O-V-E,” “Mona Lisa,” “The Christmas Song,” and “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth.”
JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT
CITADEL THEATRE, 300 S. Waukegan Road, Lake Forest
Through Sunday, December 23, 2018
This is a great bet for the keeping Christ in Christmas crew. In a season full of over tellings of Jesus' birth stories, Citadel's taking the way back machine to the good book, with plenty of song and dance moves to keep things interesting.
Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Book and Lyrics by Tim Rice
Directed by Robert D. Estrin
Ryan Brewster, Musical Director
Jake Ganzer, Choreographer
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s family musical about the trials and triumphs of Joseph, Israel’s favorite son! One of the most enduring shows of all time, JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT is a reimagining of the Biblical story of Joseph, his father Jacob, eleven brothers and the coat of many colors.
Pictured above: Jacob Barton is fitted for his "Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat."
TWELFTH NIGHT, OR WHAT YOU WILL
at Lincoln Park Conservatory, 2391 N. Stockton Drive
Through Sunday, December 16
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Ian Damont Martin
Original Music by Elizabeth Rentfro and Alex Mauney
If all this early winter darkness and cold has you S.A.D. then this is the perfect remedy. Midsommer Flight’s show is IN the Lincoln Park Conservatory where there's plenty of light, green space, extra oxygen and Shakespearian theatre too. It's an excellent way to battle the seasonal blues. And if the holidays have your wallet a bit thin, the “pay-what-you-can” price point leaves no excuse. Big fun with or without funds!
One of the hottest tickets of past holiday seasons - Midsommer Flight’s “pay-what-you-can” production of TWELFTH NIGHT, performed in the beautiful Show House Room of the Lincoln Park Conservatory - will return for its fourth year on November 29, 2018. Shakespeare’s delightful comedy of mistaken identity and gender switching has a strictly limited seating among the lush flowers of the Show House Room. The production is part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s “Night Out in the Parks” initiative that provides world-class performances in Chicago's neighborhood parks throughout the year.
Pictured above: Amanda Forman (left) and Tarina Bradshaw.(right) Photo by Zack Whittington.
THE FULL MONTY
Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre, 721 Howard St., Evanston
December 7, 2018 – January 27, 2019
Music and Lyrics by David Yazbek, Book by Terrence McNally, based on the motion picture released by Fox Searchlight Pictures and written by Simon Beaufoy, produced by Uberto Pasolini and directed by Peter Cattaneo
Directed by Fred Anzevino
Music Directed by Jeremy Ramey
Choreography by Sawyer Smith
THE FULL MONTY is more "birthday suit" than santa suit, and sounds like a fun escape from too much saccharine sweet holiday drivel. THE FULL MONTY will be Theo Ubique's first production in their new home at 721 Howard St. in Evanston.
Based on the cult hit film of the same name, THE FULL MONTY follows a group of unemployed steelworkers from Buffalo who while spying on their wives at a "Girls' Night Out," see how much their wives enjoy watching male strippers. Jealous, out of work and feeling emasculated, the men come up with a bold and unclothed way to make some quick cash. In preparing, they find themselves extremely exposed; not merely physically but emotionally. As they conquer their fears, self-consciousness and prejudices, the men come to discover that they're stronger as a group, and the strength that they find in each other gives them the individual courage to "let it go."