Showing posts with label Joffrey Ballet Nutcracker. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Joffrey Ballet Nutcracker. Show all posts

Saturday, December 13, 2014

League of Chicago Theatres’ annual Holiday Guide highlights seasonal productions


With over 60 live theatre shows currently playing, Chicago's theatre scene is second to none. Check back with ChiIL Live Shows and ChiIL Mama like we vote in Chi, IL... early and often. We'll be featuring openings, closings, news, and original reviews and coverage. Still, it's not humanly possible to make it around to every show currently playing, so check in with the fabulous League of Chicago Theatres for a comprehensive guide.

Act Out:  Chicago Theatre openings, closings, reviews, giveaways, ticket sale dates and more via ChiIL Live Shows. 

The Chicago theater community will present a wide variety of festive plays and musicals, as well as dance and concert offerings this Holiday season.  In support, the League of Chicago Theatres will once again create a comprehensive Holiday Theater Guide that will be available at hotels, theaters, events, and destinations across the Chicago area.  An updated list of holiday shows with additional details about each production will be available throughout the season at They even have a downloadable guide. 

The following is a selection of Holiday-themed work playing in Chicago this season.
*We've marked our favorites below. Click the links and scroll down for some of our original coverage, reviews, interviews & videos from ChiIL Live Shows (all) & ChiIL Mama (family friendly productions).

Classic Chicago favorites include:

*The Goodman Theatre brings back the beloved Chicago tradition A CHRISTMAS CAROL, Charles Dickens’ classic tale of hope and redemption. through December 28, 2014.

Capra’s holiday staple gets the 1940’s radio treatment with IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE: LIVE IN CHICAGO! presented by American Blues Theater at the Greenhouse Theater Center, through December 28, 2014.

*The House Theatre presents its fantastical, fast-paced, and family-friendly version of THE NUTCRACKER at the Chopin Theatre, weaving dance, text, and songs to tell a story of magic and mystery, through December 28, 2014.

*The Joffrey Ballet’s grand production of THE NUTCRACKER returns to the Auditorium Theatre, through 28, 2014.

Holiday-themed musicals include:

*Broadway in Chicago premieres DEE SNIDER’S ROCK & ROLL CHRISTMAS TALE. Dee Snider, infamous lead singer of Twisted Sister, has created and stars in a VERY funny, VERY rocking and (sshhh!) VERY sweet new holiday musical, guaranteed to rock your holiday at the Broadway Playhouse, through January 4, 2015.

*The Mercury Theater remounts The classic Chicago musical,THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER. It sets sail again for 2014 featuring a powerful, moving story, an exquisite score of original music and traditional holiday favorites, and a company of 25 actors and musicians, through December 28, 2014.

Holiday comedies include:

The Second City and Goodman present TWIST YOUR DICKENS. Scrooge, Tiny Tim, three ridiculous ghosts and a cast of The Second City’s funniest members take the Goodman by storm, as wicked parody, daring improve and a host of guest celebs run rampant, through December 28, 2014.

*Theater Wit features David Sedaris’ classic comedy SANTALAND DIARIESthrough December 28, 2014.

Nuns4Fun’s interactive bingo show. CHRISTMAS BINGO: IT’S A HO-HO-HOLY NIGHT runs at the Royal George Theatre Center, through January 4, 2015.

Other notable works include:

*Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents A Q BROTHERS’ CHRISTMAS CAROL, a hip-hop holiday treat set to a bangin’ beat, through December 31, 2014.

About Face Theatre presents BIG RED AND THE BOYS, a non-traditional, boozy night of songs, stories and spirits, through December 20, 2014.

Chicago a cappella presents HOLIDAYS A CAPPELLA. Enjoy this perfect mix of familiar holiday tunes, Renaissance Carols, Chanukah songs, Christmas spirituals and contemporary classics, through December 20, 2014.

*Profiles Theatre remounts their annual hit, HELLCAB, which portrays the story of a cab driver in for the longest night of his life as he transports a bizarre and mysterious array of customers through the gritty streets of Chicago on Christmas Eve, through January 11, 2015.

Hot Tix
Hot Tix offers half-price tickets to more than 200 Chicago area theaters, full price tickets to all Ticketmaster events including concerts and sports, and Play Money gift certificates. Hot Tix tickets are always half-price and may be purchased up to a week in advance of the performance.  Hot Tix ticket centers are located in the Loop at 72 E. Randolph Street, the Chicago Tourism Center and on North Michigan Ave. at the Waterworks Visitors Center located at 163 E. Pearson and Block Thirty Seven, located at 108 N. State St.  Hot Tix are available for purchase online at  

About Chicago theater
Chicago theater is the leader in the U.S. with more than 250 theaters throughout Chicagoland, comprising a rich and varied community ranging from storefront, non-union theaters to the most renowned resident theaters in the country, including 5 which have been honored with Regional Tony Awards, and the largest touring Broadway organization in the nation. Chicago’s theaters serve 5 million audience members annually and have a combined budget of more than $250 million. Chicago produces and/or presents more world premieres annually than any other city in the nation. In 2009-10 alone Chicago theater companies produced more than 130 world premiere productions and adaptations. Each year Chicago theaters send new work to resident theaters across the country, to Broadway, and around the world. 

The League of Chicago Theatres’ Mission Statement
The League of Chicago Theatres is an alliance of theaters which leverages its collective strength to promote, support and advocate for Chicago's theater industry locally, nationally and internationally. The League of Chicago Theatres Foundation is dedicated to enhancing the art of theater in the Chicago area through audience development and support services for theaters and theater professionals.

For a comprehensive list of Chicago productions, visit the League of Chicago website,  Discounted tickets are available at

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


ChiILpicks--ChiIL Mama's Great Gifts List

It may be hard to think beyond the holidays at the moment, but tickets are on sale now for the 8th annual “Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah,” January 19 and January 20.   Tickets are great clutter busting gifts that create lasting family memories.

The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. with this annual, aural, all ages, celebration.

Chicago favorites Rodrick Dixon, Alfreda Burke and Karen Marie Richardson join 200 of Chicago’s finest musicians and vocalists, under the direction of Bill Fraher and Suzanne Mallare Acton, for two public performances only—filling the historic landmark theater with the joyous sounds and exuberance of this All-American reinvention of Handel’s “Messiah.”

200 Musicians and Vocalists With Soloists Rodrick Dixon, Alfreda Burke and
Karen Marie Richardson Pay Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. with the 8th annual “Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah,” January 19 and January 20. Chicago favorites Rodrick Dixon, Alfreda Burke and Karen Marie Richardson join 200 of Chicago’s finest musicians and vocalists, under the direction of Bill Fraher and Suzanne Mallare Acton, for two public performances only—filling the historic landmark theater with the joyous sounds and exuberance of this All-American reinvention of Handel’s “Messiah.” Tickets ($30 – $74) are on sale now and available online at, by calling (800) 982-2787 or at the Auditorium Theatre Box Office (50 E Congress Pkwy). 

A one-hour Student Matinee performance is offered on Friday, January 18, open to any student elementary through high school for $10 each. Tickets are available by calling (312) 341-2357.

Performance Schedule and Ticket Information

Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah” performs at the Auditorium Theatre:
Friday, Jan. 18, 2013 at 11 a.m. (one hour Student Matinee Performance*)
Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 20, 213 at 3 p.m.**

Tickets to the Jan. 19 and 20 performances are $30 - $74, available online at, by calling (800) 982-2787 or in-person at the Auditorium’s Box Office (50 E Congress Pkwy).

*The Friday, Jan. 18 student matinee is available to elementary through high school student groups of 10 or more people. Group tickets are $10 each and available by calling
(312) 341-2357.

**A free Q&A with “Too Hot to Handel” artists immediately follows the Sunday afternoon performance.

Since its 2006 Chicago debut, “Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah” has continued to reinvigorate audiences while paying tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

This show provides our community with a truly unique way to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, not only because of Dr. King’s deep love of gospel and jazz music but the way in which it represents Chicago’s diversity in both performers and audience members,” said Executive Director Brett Batterson. “It’s incredible to see an entire audience brought to their feet with such vigor and excitement. It is a true celebration of music, and of a man so important to United States history.”

Ingeniously re-imagined to embrace black musical tradition, the aptly named ‘Too Hot to Handel’ proved that even the most revered classical masterpieces can be taught to swing.” (Chicago Tribune’s Howard Reich). Mixing gospel and jazz stylings, “Too Hot” brings music lovers of all genres to their feet. Brought to life onstage by 200 Chicago musicians including 150 voices from the citywide “Too Hot” Choir under the direction of Old St. Patrick’s Church music director Bill Fraher, and a 50-piece symphony orchestra and jazz ensemble under the baton of conductor Suzanne Mallare Acton. “Too Hot to Handel” then brings the powerhouse voices of Rodrick Dixon, Alfreda Burke and Karen Marie Richardson to lead the group through the incredible music that fills the Auditorium Theatre. The show is enhanced through LED screens that will not only display historical photos of Martin Luther King Jr. but will also capture the performers and audience members during the performance. Video Production made possible through the generosity of Bill & Shelley Farley.

In tandem with “Too Hot to Handel,” the Auditorium’s Department of Creative Engagement utilizes innovative programming to involve the community by teaching Chicago students about Martin Luther King Jr. and the power of music and celebration. For the 4th consecutive year, the Auditorium invites Chicago Public School students, grades 3-12, to write an original poem celebrating Dr. King's vision of the beloved community. Finalist’s poems will be published in “N’DIGO” Magazine. In addition, the grand prize-winner will receive 4 free tickets to the “Too Hot to Handel” opening night performance and will recite their poem on stage before the show.  Poems must be sent via mail to Attn: THTH Poetry Contest, 50 E Congress Pkwy, Chicago, IL 60605, and received by Friday December 7, 2012.
Auditorium Theatre’s Department of Creative Engagement is also reaching out to CPS High School Choirs and inviting them to apply to a “Too Hot to Handel” Master Class facilitated by the “Too Hot to Handel” stars. Students will have the opportunity to work with “Too Hot” conductor Suzanne Mallare Acton, perform a solo piece and receive coaching from “Too Hot” vocalists Alfreda Burke and Rodrick Dixon and are invited to attend the Student Matinee performance. Please contact for more information on the Master Class.

The Auditorium also offers the “Too Hot” Residency Program, bringing together the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jrand the music of “Too Hot to Handel.” A free program for CPS Grades 3 – 8, students will examine Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of the beloved community while gaining a basic understanding of musical composition. Under the guidance of “Too Hot” Teaching Artists, students will create a final musical composition reflecting on and musically articulating their own vision of what Dr. King’s beloved community means to them now. Residencies take place in December and early January. No musical training or instruments necessaryAlso available free to CPS Grades 3 – 8, is a One-Day Workshop where students will study elements of “Too Hot” to understand how small personal choices have a big impact the community.  Students will use this knowledge to create a quilt that will be displayed in the Auditorium lobby expressing how they individually can make a positive difference.  Contact Christina BournéDirector of Education and Creative Engagement at (312) 341-2353 or

Too Hot to Handel” is presented by Exelon. “Too Hot to Handel” educational outreach programs are made possible through the JPMorgan Chase Foundation with additional support from The PrivateBank and The Robert Thomas Bobins Foundation for the student matinee performances.  Additional support provided by Friends of “Too Hot to Handel”, “N’DIGO”, and “Chicago Jazz Magazine”.

We also highly recommend America's #1 Nutcracker, running through the 27 at Auditorium Theatre.   Check out our video interviews with some of the Joffrey Nutcracker kids and our original dress rehearsal footage (2011) right here.

Auditorium Theatre 2013 Subscriptions

Subscriptions for the Auditorium Theatre’s current season are now on sale. For more information or to purchase a subscription call (312) 341-2356 or visit
The Auditorium’s season packages include:

2-Show Jazz Series – Save 10% when you purchase tickets to both “Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz Gospel Messiah” on January 19 – 20, 2013 and River North Dance Chicago with Orbert Davis’ Chicago Jazz Philharmonic - The Cuban Project on April 13, 2013.

About the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University

The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, located at 50 E Congress Pkwy, is an independent, not-for-profit organization committed to presenting the finest in international, cultural and community programming to Chicago, and to the continued restoration and preservation of the National Historic Landmark Auditorium Theatre. The Auditorium Theatre is generously supported by the Illinois Arts Council, CityArts, and the Palmer House Hilton. For more information about programming, volunteer and donor opportunities or theater tours, call (312) 341-2310 or visit

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