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Theater, dance spread holiday cheer

Stefan Karl as Grinch with Seth Bazacas as Young Max 'The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.'

Stefan Karl as the Grinch with Seth Bazacas as Young Max in "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas."

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Updated: December 24, 2012 6:06AM



The holiday theater season is always full of dependable classics and intriguing new offerings. “A Christmas Carol” and “The Christmas Schooner” are back, as well as three radio-play adaptations of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” There are offerings from Dr. Seuss, James Joyce, O. Henry and David Sedaris. Nostalgia, comedy and even a Liza sighting make this a holiday season one not to be missed.

HOLIDAY THEATER

“The Annoyance Christmas Project.” Two holiday icons — “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” — are combined into this family friendly show. Nov. 30-Dec. 28. $14, $18. Annoyance Theater, 4830 N. Broadway. (773) 561-4665; theannoyance.com.

“Bah Humbug!” Piccolo Theatre presents a kid-friendly retelling of “A Christmas Carol” in panto-fashion. To Dec. 22. $25; family of 4, $65. Evanston Arts Depot, 600 Main, Evanston. (847) 424-0089; piccolotheatre.com.

“A Beer Carol.” A radio play by Drinking & Writing Theater. To Dec. 17. $15. Haymarket Pub & Brewery, 737 W. Randolph. (312) 638-0700; drinkingandwriting.com.

“Best Musical! Holiday Edition!” Porchlight Music Theatre presents an improvised musical comedy for the holidays. Nov. 28-Dec. 26. $15. Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont. (773) 327-5252; porchlightmusictheatre.org.

“Charles Dickens Be­grudgingly Performs ‘A Christmas Carol.’ Again.” The author grows tired of his holiday classic. Created and performed by Blake Montgomery. Nov. 29-Dec. 24. $15-$30. The Building Stage, 412 N. Carpenter. (312) 491-1369; buildingstage.com.

“A Christmas Carol.” The Goodman Theatre’s annual staging of Charles Dickens’ classic holiday story stars Larry Yando as Scrooge, in a role he was born to play. To Dec. 29. $25-$82. Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn. (312) 443-3800; goodmantheatre.org.

“A Christmas Carol.” Drury Lane Theatre presents the holiday classic, directed by Scott Calcagno. Nov. 23-Dec. 22. 100 Drury Lane, Oak Brook. (630) 530-0111; drurylaneoakbrook.com.

“A Christmas Carol.” The holiday classic directed by Brad Dunn. Nov. 23-Dec. 24. $15.50, $28.50. Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, 111 W. Campbell, Arlington Heights. (847) 577-2121; metropolisarts.com.

“The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey.” Timothy Gregory’s musical adaptation of Susan Wojciechowski’s children’s book about a young boy who loses a wooden nativity set and the lonely woodcarver who creates a new one. Nov. 21-Dec. 23. $10-$32. Provision Theater, 1001 W. Roosevelt. (312) 455-0066; provisiontheater.org.

“The Christmas Schooner.” The musical about the first Christmas tree ship and the men who risked their lives to bring holiday spirit to Chicago. Nov. 23-Dec. 30. $29-$59. Mercury Theater, 3745 N. Southport. (773) 325-1700; mercurytheaterchicago.com.

“The ComedySportz Team Meets the Snow Queen.” A special take on the Hans Christian Andersen story. To Jan. 19. $7, $10. ComedySportz, 929 W. Belmont. (773) 549-8080; comedysportzchicago.com.

“A Dirty ’30s Christmas.” A prison break and a surprise visitor threaten to put a damper on the holidays in this original comedy. Dec. 7-29. $12. Chemically Imbalanced Comedy, 1422 W. Irving Park; cicomedy.com.

“Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical.” Broadway in Chicago presents the holiday tale about the scheming Grinch who decides to steal Christmas away from the Whos. Dec. 5-16. $18-$85. Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph. (800) 775-2000; broadwayinchicago.com.

“The Gifts of the Magi.” Porchlight Theatre presents Mark St. Germain and Randy Courts’ musical adaptation of O. Henry’s holiday story. To Dec. 23. $39. Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont (773) 327-5252; stage773.com.

“Hannukatz the Musical!” National Pastime Theater presents the only rock ’n’ roll Hanukkah musical. Nov. 29-Dec. 30. $10, $25. Preston Bradley Center, 941 W. Lawrence. (773) 327-7077; brownpapertickets.com.

“Hellcab.” On Christmas Eve, a cab driver gets a glimpse at the array of humanity inhabiting Chicago in Will Kern’s classic play at Profiles Theatre. To Dec. 23. $35, $40. The Main Stage, 4139 N. Broadway. (773) 549-1815; profilestheatre.org.

“It’s a Bieberful Life.” ComedySportz gets in the holiday spirit with a parody of the classic story featuring a fictional Justin Bieber visited by an angel with a distinct resemblance to Robert Pattinson. To Dec. 29. $10. ComedySportz, 929 W. Belmont. (773) 549-8080; comedysportzchicago.com.

“It’s a Wonderful Life: The Radio Play.” The annual holiday show, featuring Mike Nussbaum and Cliff Chamberlain. Nov. 23-Dec. 30. $35, $40. American Theater Company, 1909 W. Byron. (773) 409-4125; atcweb.org.

“It’s a Wonderful Life: Live at the Biograph!” American Blues Theater presents a live-radio version of the classic story. Nov. 23-Dec. 30. $19-$49. Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln. (773) 871-3000; victorygardens.org.

“It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play.” The classic holiday story, based on the 1946 film. Nov. 30-Dec. 9. $22. Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 11th (773) 445-3838; beverlyartcenter.org.

“It’s a Wonderful Santa Land Miracle Nut Cracking Christmas Story … Jews Welcome.” Street Tempo Theatre presents a multimedia holiday extravaganza for the entire family. To Dec. 30. $28. Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont. (773) 327-5252; stage773.com.

“Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol.” Organic Theater presents the classic story. Dec. 13-16. $20, $30. North Central College, Melley-Swallow Hall, 31 S. Ellsworth, Naperville. (630) 637-7469; northcentralcollege.edu/showtix.

“James Joyce’s The Dead.” Richard Nelson and Shaun Davey’s musical adaptation of Joyce’s story about an Irish family gathering for a holiday celebration. To Dec. 9. $45-$65. Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis. (773) 753-4472; courttheatre.org.

“Junie B. in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells!” Alison Gregory’s adaptation of Barbara Park’s story about a little girl who loves everything about Christmas. Nov. 9-18. $5-$10. Northwestern University, Mussetter-Struble Theater, 1949 Campus, Evanston. (847) 491-7282; tic.northwestern.edu/imagineu

“Madeline’s Christmas.” Theatre of Western Springs presents a musical adaptation of the charming children’s story. Nov. 30-Dec. 9. $7, $15. Theatre of Western Springs, 4384 Hampton, Western Springs. (708) 246-3380; theatrewesternsprings.com.

“The Nativity.” Congo Square presents McKinley Johnson’s play that infuses gospel music and modern dance to tell the story of the journey of Mary and Joseph and the birth of Jesus. Dec. 13-23. $45. Kennedy-King College, 740 W. 63rd. (773) 296-1108; congosquaretheatre.org.

“The Nutcracker.” House Theatre of Chicago presents its annual staging of the classic story featuring puppetry, original songs and spectacle. To Dec. 30. $25, $35. Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division. (773) 769-3832; thehousetheatre.com.

“The Other Cinderella.” Black Ensemble Theater’s annual staging of Jackie Taylor’s musical adaptation of the classic fairy tale. Nov. 29-Jan. 13. $55, $65. Black Ensemble Theater, 4450 N. Clark. (773) 769-4451; blackensembletheater.org.

“Plaid Tidings.” The boys of “Forever Plaid” stage a nostalgic holiday show. To Dec. 23. $38-$42. Theatre at the Center, 1040 Ridge, Munster. (800) 511-1552; theatreatthecenter.com.

“Rudolph the Red-Hosed Reindeer.” Hell in a Handbag Productions’ annual adult parody of the classic television special, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Nov. 29-Dec. 30. Mary’s Attic, 5400 W. Clark. (800) 838-3006; brownpapertickets.com.

“The Santaland Diaries.” Theater Wit’s staging of Joe Mantello’s adaptation of David Sedaris’ humorous story about working as as elf at Macy’s. Nov. 23-Dec. 30. 1229 W. Belmont. (773) 975-8150; theaterwit.org.

“The Second City Dysfunctional Holiday Revue.” Seasonal satire from the comedy troupe. Dec. 13-23. $35. Paramount Theatre, Copley Theatre, 8 E. Galena. (630) 896-6666; paramountaurora.com.

“The Second City Dysfunctional Holiday Revue.” Holiday satire. Dec. 7-21. $42. Pheasant Run Resort, 4051 E. Main, St. Charles. (630) 584-6342; foxvalleyrep.org.

“The Second City’s Holidays in the Heights.” Holiday traditions are skewered in this show filled with skits and songs. Nov. 23-Jan. 4. $29.50; $34.50. Metropolis Performing Arts Center, 111 W. Campbell, Arlington Heights. (847) 577-2121; metropolisarts.com.

“The Second City’s Nut-Cracking Holiday Revue.” Holiday mischief from the comedy troupe. Nov. 22-Dec. 30. $25. UP Comedy Club, 230 W. North. (312) 662-4562; upcomedyclub.com.

“Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Goose.” Michael Menendian and John Weagly’s radio-style adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s story about the disappearance of a valuable gem hidden inside a Christmas goose. Dec. 14-30. $15, $20. Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark. (773) 338-2177; raventheatre.com.

“We Three Lizas.” About Face Theatre blends classic Christmas tales with queer pop culture for this holiday musical. Nov. 30-Dec. 22. The Steppenwolf Garage, 1624 N. Halsted. (312) 335-1650; steppenwolf.org.

“The Winter Wonderettes.” Fox Valley Repertory presents Roger Bean’s nostalgic holiday musical set in the ’60s. To Dec. 30. $32, $42. Pheasant Run Resort, 4051 E. Main, St. Charles. (630) 584-6342; foxvalleyrep.org.

HOLIDAY DANCE

“Dance-Along Nutcracker.” Now in its 9th year, this popular event invites folks of all ages to join the professionals for two performances of the beloved ballet at noon and 3 p.m. Dec. 9 in the Chicago Cultural Center. Workshops precede performances at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Free. 78 E. Washington, (312) 744-6630; explorechicago.org.

“Duke It Out.” The Mu­s­ic Institute of Chicago presents the classical (Tchaikovsky) and jazz (Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn, transcription by James Stephenson) versions of “The Nutcracker,” performed by Music Institute ensembles-in-residence Axiom Brass and Quintet Attacca and dance students from Foster Dance Company. At 9 a.m. Dec. 8. $10 for family of 6 or fewer; larger groups call the box office. Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago, Evanston. (847) 905-1500, ext. 108; musicinst.org.

“Great Russian Nutcracker.” Presented by the Moscow Ballet. 3 p.m. Dec. 2. $26-$86.50. Akoo Theatre at Rosemont, 5400 N. River, Rosemont. (847) 671-5100; ticketmaster.com.

“The Nutcracker.” Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino’s classic presented by the Joffrey Ballet with musical accompaniment by the Chicago Philharmonic. Dec. 7-27. $31-$117. Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress. (800) 982-2787; ticketmaster.com.

“The Nutcracker.” Performed by the Ruth Page Civic Ballet of Chicago at the following venues: 7 p.m. Dec. 1 and 1 p.m. Dec. 2., $5-$25, Northeastern Illinois University Auditorium, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr, (773) 442-4636, boxoffice.neiu.edu/civic_ballet ; 3 p.m. Dec. 8-9, Elgin Community College, 1700 Spartan, Elgin, (847) 622-0300, $15-$32, tickets.elgin.edu ; 1 and 5 p.m. Dec. 15 and 3 p.m. Dec. 16, College of Lake County, 19351 W. Washington, Grayslake, $12-$30, (847) 543-2300 ; jlcenter.clcillinois.edu.

“The Nutcracker.” Presented by the Von Heidecke Chicago Festival Ballet. 2 p.m. Nov. 25, $30-$38. Rialto Square Theatre, 15 E. Van Buren, Joliet, (815) 726-6600; rialtosquare.com.

“The Nutcracker.” The Salt Creek Ballet showcases its students during performances at several venues: 1 p.m. Nov. 24-25. Hinsdale Central High School Auditorium, 5500 S. Grant St., Hinsdale, $15-$37, (630) 769-1199, saltcreekballet.org; 1 and 5 p.m. Dec. 8, Center for the Performing Arts, Governors State University, 1 University Parkway, University Park, $15-$50, (708) 235-2222, centertickets.net ; 1 and 5 p.m. Dec. 15 and 2 p.m. Dec. 16, North Shore Center for Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie, $31.50-$39.50, (847) 673-6300; northshorecenter.org.

“Tidings of Tap.” Chicago Tap Dance Theatre celebrates winter and the holidays with toe-tapping dance set to live music. 8 p.m. Dec. 14-15, 3 p.m Dec. 16. $20-$35. UIC Theater, 1044 W. Harrison. (800) 838-3006; chicagotaptheatre.com .

Mary Houlihan is a local free-lance writer.



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