Catch the holiday spirit with shows, fests
By Annie Alleman For Sun Times Media November 15, 2012 10:40AM
Mannheim Steamroller will appear at the Rialto Square Theatre. | File photo
Updated: December 4, 2012 11:52AM
Even if the weather outside is frightful, there is still plenty to do to celebrate the season. You’ll have so much fun you won’t even notice the cold.
From “A Christmas Carol” to holiday parades, you’ve got no excuse not to ring in the season merrily.
Here’s a roundup of some holiday events in the area to put you in the Christmas spirit. Events included were ones that we had been informed of as of press time. Watch the Weekend section and online for events up to and through the holidays.
Bolingbrook’s annual Symphony in Lights show runs evenings through Dec. 31 at the Promenade Bolingbrook. The spectacle includes 40 life-sized snowflakes dancing around a 48-foot tall tree in the center’s Village Green gathering area. The Symphony in Lights features more than 250,000 LED lights embedded in thousands of feet of holiday foliage and choreographed to the music of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. The Promenade Bolingbrook, 631 E. Boughton Road, Bolingbrook. Thepromenadebolingbrook.com.
Winter Lights and Holiday Walk will be from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 16 in downtown Aurora. Bring the family to celebrate the start of the holiday season. The walk starts at the David L. Pierce Art and History Center, 20 E. Downer Place and continues along streets lined with luminaria, carolers and artwork. The Miss Merry Christmas and Jack Frost winners will join Santa and Mayor Tom Weisner in lighting the City’s official holiday tree at 6 p.m. at North Island Center, 8 E. Galena Blvd. Santa will be available for photo opportunities with children at the Art and History Center. Aurora-il.org.
Nov. 16 to 18
Yorkville’s sixth annual free Holiday Under the Stars event features a traditional tree lighting ceremony, Kris Kringle Market, Chili Chase 5K run, visits with Santa, all-weather skating rink, River’s Edge Theatre holiday shows, Santa’s Workshop and cookie decorating, and a fireworks show at 9 p.m. Nov. 16. Downtown Yorkville at Route 47 and Hydraulic Street. (630) 553-2582. Yorkville.il.us.
Mokena’s annual Christmas Fest begins at 10 a.m. with a craft show and Santa’s Workshop at Mokena Elementary School, 11244 Willowcrest Lane. Other events include Lunch and Pictures with Santa, live entertainment, a community tree decorating, hot chocolate and cookies, a parade of lights, tree lighting ceremony and family Christmas Dance at the VFW Hall. (708) 479-2468. Mokena.org.
Nov. 17 to 18
The Lockport Women’s Club presents the 42nd annual Christmas Crossroads holiday craft show from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Nov. 17 and 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Nov. 18 at the Lockport Township East High School Field House, 1333 E. 7th St., Lockport. Free parking, free shuttle, food service, no strollers, and handicapped accessible. Admission, $1-$3; children 5 and under free. Christmascrossroads.com.
Nov. 17 to Dec. 23
“Sing Along with Santa” at the Steel Beam Theatre in St. Charles weekends through Dec. 23. This interactive musical features a lively cast of Santa’s elves, Frosty, Rudolph and Mrs. Claus all frantically searching for a missing Santa. Kids will have a chance to take a picture and visit with Santa. Performances are at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturdays, and 1 p.m. Sundays with a few additional performances at 11 a.m. Sundays. Tickets, $10-$15. Steel Beam Theatre, 111 W. Main St., St. Charles. (630) 587-8521. SteelBeamTheatre.com.
Steel Beam Theatre presents “Scrooge the Musical,” an upbeat, family musical adapted from the 1970 movie “A Christmas Carol.” Show times are at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and at 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays Nov. 17 through Dec. 23 at Steel Beam Theatre, 111 W. Main St., St. Charles. Additional performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Dec.13 and 20. Tickets, $23-$25. (630) 587-8521. SteelBeamTheatre.com.
Nov. 19 to 25
Joliet’s annual Festival of Trees includes a display of holiday trees and wreaths that you can bid on and have delivered to your home in time for the holidays. Other activities include showings of holiday classic films, a wine tasting, Joliet Hospice Lights of Love ceremony, Teddy Bear Tea and Rialto Idol singing contest at the Rialto Square Theatre, 102 N. Chicago St., Joliet. Tickets, $5-$7. Children under 2 are free. (815) 726-6600. Rialtosquare.com.
Joliet’s Light up the Holidays Festival begins at 10 a.m. Nov. 23. Activities include free arts and crafts at the Joliet Area Historical Museum and entertainment by local bands, an ice sculpting demonstration, cookie decorating for children, brunch with Santa at the Joliet Junior College Renaissance Center, crafts and stories at the Joliet Public Library and crafts and treats at First and Santa Cruz Lutheran Parish. Free games and activities for children at the Renaissance Center as part of the Fantastic Fun Fair. The parade steps off at 5:30 p.m. immediately following the 5:15 p.m. tree lighting in Van Buren Plaza. Call (877) 456-5438 or visit Jolietdowntown.com.
Nov. 23 to Dec. 15
Williams Street Repertory takes you back to Christmas Eve 1949 and into the WSRP radio studio for “It’s A Wonderful Life: A Radio Play.” Performances are at 9 p.m. Nov. 23, 8 p.m. Nov. 24 and 30 and Dec. 1, 14 and 15 and 3 p.m. Dec. 1 at the Raue Center for the Arts, 108 Minnie St., Crystal Lake. Tickets, $6-$28. (815) 356-9212. Rauecenter.org.
Nov. 23 to Dec. 22
“A Christmas Carol” will be presented Nov. 23 to Dec. 22 at Drury Lane Theatre, 100 Drury Lane, Oak Brook. Performances are at 10 a.m., 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. Breakfast or dinner with Santa Claus on select performance dates. Tickets, $12. (630) 530-0111. Ticketmaster.com or www.drurylaneoakbrook.com.
Nov. 23 to Jan. 6
Travel along the enchanted railroad through an indoor winter wonderland at the Morton Arboretum from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 23 to Jan. 6. Stop in the Visitor Center first to get your free timed-tickets. Closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle. (630) 725-2066, Mortonarb.org.
Nov. 24 to Dec. 30
The McCormick Museum will feature seven “Community Trees,” each decorated for Christmas by a different local nonprofit organization. McCormick Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday. Parking at Cantigny is $5 per vehicle or $2 during non-peak hours. Cantigny.org.
Nov. 24 to Dec. 30
The final show in Fox Valley Repertory’s 2012 theater series is the nostalgic 1960’s holiday musical, “The Winter Wonderettes.” Performances will take place at the Pheasant Run Resort Mainstage, 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles. (630) 584-6342. Tickets, $32-$42; dinner theater from $52.
Von Heidecke’s Chicago Festival Ballet performs “The Nutcracker” at 2 p.m. Nov. 25 at the Rialto Square Theatre, 102 N Chicago St., Joliet. Tickets, $5. (815) 726-6600. Rialtosquare.com.
Nov. 30 to Dec. 9
Gallery Theater presents the holiday play, “Beasley’s Christmas Party.” Performances are Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays Nov. 30 through Dec. 9. Gallery Theater, 203 Turner Court, West Chicago. (630) 234-5919.
The Chorus of DuPage, a men’s a cappella barbershop chorus, presents its Christmas show at 8 p.m. Dec. 1 at Trinity Green Trails, 2701 Maple Ave., Lisle. The “Celebration of Christmas” concert will feature the Chorus of DuPage singing traditional secular and religious holiday selections arranged in four-part harmony. Several special guests will appear throughout the night. Tickets, $20. (630) 737-9199. Harmonize.com/dupage.
The Naperville Chorus will present “A Jazz Christmas” at 8 p.m. Dec. 1 in North Central College’s Wentz Concert Hall, 171 E. Chicago St., Naperville. The chorus will be joined by the Pete Ellman Big Band and will perform selections such as “A Christmas Cantata” by Nils Linberg, as well as seasonal selections in classic jazz and pop arrangements. Tickets, $15-$20. (630) 637-7469. http://finearts.northcentralcollege.edu.
Indian Valley Theatre brings its zany, holiday-themed improv show to River’s Edge Theatre in Yorkville for an 8 p.m. show Dec. 1. Tickets, $12. Rivers Edge Theatre, 217 S. Bridge St., Yorkville. (630) 882-0035. Riversedgetheatre.com.
The 36th Festival of the Gnomes will be at 1 and 3:30 p.m. Dec. 1 at the Billie Limacher Bicentennial Park, 201 W. Jefferson St., Joliet. The 90-minute live, indoor show explores gnome lore, and its cast outsmarts the trolls (including the infamous Snotgurgle). Visit the “gnomemade” gift shop and get your very own gnome cap. Returning visitors receive a free tassel sewn by Grandma Gnome herself. Tickets, $5. (815) 724-3760. Bicentennialpark.org
Dec. 1 to 23
Have breakfast with Santa at the Morton Arboretum, 9 to 11 a.m. Dec. 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 21, 22 and 23. Tickets, $21-$29; children under 2 are free. Arboretum admission included with ticket price. 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle. (630) 725-2066. Mortonarb.org.
Dec. 1 to 2
The Naperville Men’s Glee Club presents its 2012 holiday concert series, “Christmas Presence,” at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 1 at St. Margaret Mary Church, 1450 Green Trails Drive, Naperville. “Christmas Presence II” is at 3 p.m. Dec. 2 at Knox Presbyterian Church, 1105 Catalpa Lane, Naperville. Children will be invited to the stage to accompany with handheld percussion instruments. Tickets, $10-$15. (630) 448-0518. Nmgc.org.
Dec. 1 to 31
Holiday Magic at the Brookfield Zoo runs from 4 to 9 p.m. weekends in December, plus Dec. 26 and 31. The light festival has more than one million twinkling lights, animated light displays and a laser light show. In addition to many of the indoor exhibits staying open, there will be music, live entertainment, ice carving, a magic show, tree trimming events, and Brunch and Breakfast with Santa events. 3300 Golf Road, Brookfield. (708) 688-8000. Brookfieldzoo.org.
Theatreworks USA’s “A Christmas Carol,” a spirited holiday production for young audiences and families, will be at 1 and 3 p.m. Dec. 2, in North Central’s Pfeiffer Hall, 310 E. Benton Ave., Naperville Tickets, $5-$10. (630) 637-7469. Northcentralcollege.edu/showtix. For an additional $4 per ticket, patrons may add an ice cream reception, taking place from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. the day of the performance.
Dec. 2 to 9
Deck the halls with your own natural ornaments this holiday season. Families with children ages 2 to 10 are invited to the Morton Arboretum from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Dec. 2 and 9 to use natural materials to create ornaments. Tickets, $10-$17. 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle. (630) 725-2066. Mortonarb.org.
It’s a “Mannheim Steamroller Christmas” by Chip Davis. Grammy Award winner Chip Davis has created a show that features the beloved Christmas music of Manheim Steamroller along with dazzling multimedia effects performed in an intimate setting. The show is at 8 p.m. Dec. 5 at the Rialto Square Theatre, 102 N Chicago St., Joliet. Tickets, $56-$66. (815) 726-6600. Rialtosquare.com.
The traditional holiday Beer & Baubles shopping event is from 5 to 8 p.m. Dec. 6 at the Morton Arboretum. Enjoy shopping, live music, a beer from Two Brothers Brewery and appetizers. There will be a jewelry trunk show with free gift wrapping. 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle. (630) 725-2066, Mortonarb.org.
Dec. 6 to 7
Naperville Garden Club’s Cup of Cheer House Walk, Holiday Market and Tea is Dec 6-7. Participants receive a souvenir English bone china tea cup and saucer and tea or coffee served with home baked cookies. Preview day is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 6 and only 200 tickets are sold for $55. Tour the homes from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 7 for $35. The public is invited to shop at the Holiday Market on from noon until 6 p.m. Dec. 7 without an event ticket. Tickets are sold at area vendors or online through Pay Pal. Napervillegardenclub.org.
Dec. 6 to 8
Celebrate the season with the 8th annual Holiday Spectacular at Lewis University. Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6 to 8 and 4 p.m. Dec. 8 in the Philip Lynch Theatre. The 90-minute show includes funny holiday-themed sketches, music and the return of the “Charlie Brown Christmas” sketch. At 7 p.m., digital photos on stage with Santa and his holiday helpers will be available. Tickets, $10; $5 with a donation of non-perishable foods. 1 University Parkway, Romeoville. (815) 836-5500. Lewisu.edu.
St. Joseph Academy Community Choir and the First Class Brass present “An Evening of Christmas Music and the Spoken Word” at 7 p.m. Dec. 7 at the Billie Limacher Bicentennial Park Theatre. Tickets, $4-$8. (815) 723-4567.
Dec. 7 to 9
Vex Theatre Company presents a new holiday show, “Twist-a-Carol III: All About Eves.” The show consists of several short, original plays about the holidays, interspersed with live music. Show times are at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7 and 8, and 3 p.m. Dec. 9 at the Elgin Art Showcase, 164 Division St., Elgin. Tickets, $10. (847) 991-808.Vextheatre.org.
Dec. 8 to 22
“A Christmas Carol” will be presented by the Drama Guild Studio in conjunction with St. Joseph Academy at 7 p.m. Dec. 8, 15 and 22 and at 2 p.m. Dec. 9, 16 and 22 at St. Joseph Academy School of the Arts, 51 W. Jackson St., Joliet. (815) 723-4567.
Dec. 8 to 9
The Ruth Page Civic Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” will be at 3 p.m. Dec. 8 and 9 at the Elgin Community College Arts Center, 1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin. Tickets, $20-$32. (847) 622-0300 Tickets.elgin.edu. For an additional price, get tickets to Clara’s Christmas Tea Parties at 1 p.m. Dec. 8 and Dec. 11. Tickets, $15-$18.
Celtic Woman returns to North Central College with two performances of “A Christmas Celebration — The Symphony Tour.” Performances begin at 8 p.m. Dec. 8 and at 6 p.m. Dec. 9 in the College’s Pfeiffer Hall; 310 E. Benton Ave., Naperville. Tickets, $80-$95. (630) 637-7469. Northcentralcollege.edu/showtix.
The Joliet American Legion Band presents its annual free holiday show, “The Sounds of Christmas,” at 2 p.m. Dec. 9 at the Rialto Square Theatre, 102 N Chicago St., Joliet. Admission is a donation of canned goods. (815) 726-6600. Rialtosquare.com.
The Fox Valley Festival Chorus’ annual holiday concert “Just Believe: Snow, Santa, and the Rutter Requiem” will be at 3 p.m. Dec. 9 at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 10 N. Edgelawn Ave., Aurora. The concert will feature a jazzy version of “Up on the Housetop,” a medley of Irving Berlin favorites, “Home on Christmas Day” and a number sacred and secular works. A reception with English tea, mulled cider and holiday cookies will follow the performance. Tickets, $5-$12. Foxvalleyfc.org.
Chicago a cappella presents “Navidad en México,” a show dedicated to Mexican Christmas music, at 4 p.m. Dec. 9 at North Central College’s Wentz Concert Hall, 171 E. Chicago Ave., Naperville. The program will include Renaissance and Baroque masterpieces, traditional Christmas songs, lullabies and new choral compositions. Tickets, $12-$35. (773) 281-7820. Chicagoacappella.org.
Dec. 9 to 18
The Albright Theatre Company presents “The Family Fruitcake,” a comedic holiday play by Rebecca Frohling. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Fridays, 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays, and 2:30 p.m. Sundays Dec. 9 to 18 at the Albright Theatre, 100 N. Island Ave., Batavia. Tickets, $10-$13. (630) 406-8838. Albrighttheatre.com.
John Tesh and his Big Band Orchestra perform holiday classics with all new big band arrangements, including “Sleigh Ride,” “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “Let it Snow” and more at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 12 at the Rialto Square Theatre, 102 N Chicago St., Joliet. Tickets, $25-$59. (815) 726-6600. Rialtosquare.com.
There’s no need to “wine” about the Holiday Shopping and Spirits event from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13 at the Morton Arboretum. Enjoy live holiday music, food, drinks, shopping and more. Aperitifs include samples of traditional holiday drinks; historic and vintage holiday cocktails; fresh, light, and lower calorie holiday concoctions; and, new, cutting edge holiday mixes. In addition, a cash bar and food will be available. Advance tickets, $20-$25; at the door, $25-$30. 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle. (630) 725-2066. Mortonarb.org.
Dec. 13 to 15
Chicago’s Organic Theater Company returns to North Central College with its fan-favorite holiday show “Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol.” Five performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13, 14 and 15 and at 2 p.m. Dec. 15 and 16 in the College’s Theatre at Meiley-Swallow Hall, 31 S. Ellsworth St., Naperville. Tickets, $20-$30. Call (630) 637-7469. Northcentralcollege.edu/showtix.
Dec. 13 to 23
The Second City Dysfunctional Holiday Revue is a comedy act that delivers a healthy dose of seasonal satire. Performances are Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 5 p.m. Dec. 13 to 23 at The Copley Theatre, 8 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora. Tickets, $35. (630) 896-6666. ParamountAurora.com.
Dec. 14 to 16
Wheaton Drama Guild presents “It’s A Wonderful Life (Radio Show)” at 8 p.m. Dec. 14 and 15 and 3 p.m. Dec. 16 at Wheaton Drama’s Playhouse 111, 111 N. Hale St., Wheaton. Tickets, $8.75-$10. (630) 260-1820. Wheatondrama.org.
The Oak Ridge Boys celebrate the holiday season with their show “Christmas Time’s a Comin’” at 8 p.m. Dec. 21, in North Central College’s Pfeiffer Hall, 310 E. Benton Ave., Naperville. Tickets, $45-$60. (630) 637-7469. Northcentralcollege.edu/showtix.
Dec. 21 to 23
The Joliet Drama Guild presents “A Traditional Madrigal Dinner” to celebrate the season at 5 p.m. Dec. 21 and 22, and at 1 p.m. Dec. 23 at Bicentennial Park Theatre, 201 W. Jefferson St., Joliet. Included is a full sit-down dinner with performances by singers and instrumentalists; entertainment from jesters, jugglers, minstrels and magicians, and other performers of the time. (877)534-1933. Jolietdramaguild.org.
Come enjoy Supper with Santa at The Morton Arboretum and then do holiday nature crafts and visit the holiday trains display. Supper with Santa is from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Dec. 20 in the Ginkgo Restaurant. The Arboretum Store will be open from 5 to 8 p.m. for shopping. The Enchanted Railroad will extend its hours until 5:30 p.m. Tickets, $22-$32. Free entry to the Arboretum after 4 p.m. for shoppers only. 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle. (630) 725-2066. Mortonarb.org.
Come out for the 35th annual Hunt for the Yule Log from 2 to 4 p.m. Dec. 30 at the Morton Arboretum. Participants receive a list of clues to find the Yule Log. Once found, join in a log-sawing celebration, bonfire, caroling by the Frozen Robins singers, and wassail. Children can participate in the pint-sized “Yule Twig Hunt” from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Children’s Garden. Both activities are free with admission. 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle. (630) 725-2066. Mortonarb.org.