The Christmas Schooner
Have yourself a City of Big Shoulders Christmas at the Mercury Theater, the current home of the beloved Chicago musical, “The Christmas Schooner.” Created by John Reeger and Julie Shannon, “Schooner” takes you on a sentimental journey back to the 19th century, when Christmas tree ships plied the gale-prone waters of Lake Michigan, bringing pines and spruce from the snowy North to homesick immigrants in Chicago. One of the most -staged musicals to come from Chicago, “Schooner” debuted in 1995. In a review of last year’s production, also at the Mercury, Tribune theater critic
TIP: Get into the spirit with a fisherman’s sweater, preferably in white, green or red.
— Nara Schoenberg
A Christmas Carol: Chicago actor Larry Yando recreates his role as
All That Jaws: an absurd, comical, and musical re-imagining of the 1975 summer blockbuster; theaterwit.org. 10:30 p.m., Runs Oct. 2-Dec. 7. Theater Wit, 1229 W Belmont, Chicago. $20; 773-975-8150.
At The Flash: LGBT history, condensed into the story of five characters; centeronhalsted.org. Runs Nov. 16-Dec. 16.. Hoover-Leppen Theatre, Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted, Chicago. $15-$25; 773-472-6469.
Fuddy Meers: an amnesiac awakens each morning as a blank slate on which her husband and teenage son must imprint the facts of her life; katettheatre.org. Runs Nov. 10-Dec. 8. City Lit Theater, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Chicago. $20; 800-838-3006.
It’s a Wonderful Life: Live at the Biograph!: The director and ensemble that have treated Chicago to Clarence, George and the characters of Bedford Falls for more than a decade; once again take the audience back to a 1940’s radio broadcast of
Long Day's Journey Into Night: James Tyrone, a semiretired actor, is vain and miserly; his wife Mary feels worthless and retreats into a
Metamorphoses: Ten-year anniversary production of Mary Zimmerman’s
Six Stories Tall: Inspired by Hispanic folklore, these six fantastical tales feature a live
Taiko Legacy 9: Perfect for families, Taiko Legacy bridges Japanese court music and jazz with giant drums, stylized kimono dance, and improvised music; mcachicago.org. Runs Dec. 21-Dec. 22. Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago. $15. 312-397-4010.
The Burnt Part Boys: Rural West Virginia, 1962. A young boy and his older brother embark on a life-altering journey to the coalmine that took their father’s life; theaterwit.org. Runs Nov. 3-Dec. 22; Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont, Chicago. $36. 773-975-8150.
The Christmas Schooner: Inspired by the 1912 shipwreck of “The Christmas Tree Ship,” which carried trees from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to Chicago’s German immigrants; mercurytheaterchicago.com. Runs Nov. 28-Dec. 30; Mercury Theatre, 3745 N. Southport Ave., Chicago. 773-325-1700.
The Dead: A reimagining of
The Nutcracker: A dark adaptation of the classic holiday tale by E.T.A. Hoffman features large-scale spectacle, songs, puppets and more; thehousetheatre.com. Runs Nov. 18-Dec. 30; Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St., Chicago. $25-$35; $10 for students; 773-278-1500.
The Nutcracker: The 25th anniversary of the Joffrey’s production. A grand production with Tchaikovsky’s score played live by a full orchestra; joffrey.org/nut. Runs Dec. 7-Dec. 27; Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Pkwy., Chicago. $31-$117. 312-386-8905.
The Odd Couple: When recently-failed marriages force slovenly Oscar to share an apartment with fastidious Felix, the pair must determine whether their differences are irreconcilable; northlight.org. Runs Nov. 9-Dec. 9; Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie. $25-$47. 847-673-6300.
The Santaland Diaries: David Sedaris’ beloved account of his time in the trenches as an Elf at Macy’s. A celebration of the desperation of unemployment, the insanity of Christmas shopping and the ineffable “cheer” of the holiday spirit; theaterwit.org. Runs Nov. 23-Dec. 30; Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. $24-$36. 773-975-8150.
Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind: The longest-running show in Chicago, TMLMBGB is a one-hour blitz of 30 extremely brief plays; neofuturists.org. Special 24th anniversary performances run Dec. 7-Dec. 9 and Dec. 14-Dec. 16. Special New Year’s Eve performance on Dec. 31; The Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago. $9 plus the roll of one die ($10-$15); 773-275-5255.
Tomorrow Never Knows
You don’t have to wait for summer to get your music festival fix. From January 16 to 20, the Tomorrow Never Knows Festival showcases almost 50 acts in what Schubas talent booker Matt Rucins calls “a human mix-tape.”
Launched by Schubas eight years ago as a record release party for the local band Paper Airplane Pilots, Tomorrow Never Knows has since spread to five venues — Lincoln Hall, Metro, Hideout and Smart Bar as well as Schubas — featuring indie rock bands, dance DJs and stand-up comedians from around the world. The 2013 lineup includes Canadian indie rock band Born Ruffians, Swedish harmonica trio Niki and the Dove, British pop singer-songwriter Jessie Ware and Chicago psychedelic reggae duo Wild Belle.
“Middle of January is dead as far as touring bands go, but people in Chicago are getting stir crazy,” Rucins said, so these up-and-coming performers are able to lure a larger crowd than usual. Info at Tnkfest.com
Tip: Check out bands you’ve never heard of because, as the festival’s title suggests, you never know if superstardom is around the corner (
— Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz
Nathan Pacheco: harristheaterchicago.org. 7:30 p.m. Nov. 13; Harris Theater for Music and Dance in
Catherine Russell: evanstonpace.com. 8 p.m. Nov. 14; SPACE, 1245 Chicago Ave., Chicago. $17-$30. 847-492-8860.
Mary Wilson: finearts.northcentralcollege.edu. 8 p.m. Nov. 17; Wentz Concert Hall, North Central College, 171 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago. $45-$50. 630-637-7469.
The Doug Banks Fantastic Funk Jam: horseshoehammond.com. 8 p.m. Nov. 17; The Venue at Horseshoe Hammond, 777 Casino Center Dr., Hammond. $63-$84.50. 219-473-7000.
Bravura Bach, Orchestra Works: harristheaterchicago.org. 7:30 p.m. Nov. 19; Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennium Park, 205 E. Randolph Dr., Chicago. $27-$75. 312-334-7777.
Chicago Human Rhythm Project: ScrapArtsMusic: harristheaterchicago.org. 7:30 p.m. Nov. 24; 3p.m. Nov. 25; Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennium Park, 205 E. Randolph Dr., Chicago. $15-$55. 312-334-7777.
Winer Wine Pairing: 20 songs and 20 wines: citywinery.com. 8 p.m. Nov. 28; City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph St., Chicago. $30. 312-733-9463.
Chick Corea and Gary Burton: northshorecenter.org. 8 p.m. Dec. 1; North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie. $60-$80. 847-673-6300.
Lindsay and The Shimmies: wilmettetheatre.com. 10 a.m. Dec. 1; Wilmette Theatre, 1122 Central Ave., Wilmette. $10-$12. 847-251-7424.
Klezmer Brunch: Ensemble M'Chaiya: citywinery.com. 11 a.m. Dec. 2; City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph St., Chicago. $10 + food, free for kids under age 10. 312-733-9463.
Empire Brass Presents:The Sound of Christmas featuring Elisabeth Von Trapp: ravinia.org. 8 p.m. Dec.6; Bennett-Gordon Hall, Ravinia, 200
The Blind Boys of Alabama Christmas Show: Go Tell it on the Mountain, w/Ernie Hendrickson: citywinery.com. 8 p.m. Dec. 8. City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph St., Chicago. 312-733-9463.
Celtic Woman: finearts.northcentralcollege.edu. 8 p.m. Dec. 8; Pfeiffer Hall, North Central College, 310 E. Benton Ave., Naperville. $80-$95; 630-355-2665.
Straight No Chaser: thechicagotheatre.com. 3 p.m. Dec. 9. The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St., Chicago. $29.50-$49.50. 800-745-3000.
Beckie Menzie and Tom Michael: driehausmuseum.org. 6:30 p.m. Dec. 13. The Driehaus Museum, 40 E. Erie St., Chicago. $35-$45. 312-482-8933.
Evanston Symphony Orchestra: An Evanston Symphony Christmas: The Christmas concert features performances by the North Shore Choral Society and Evanston Dance Ensemble, plus an audience singalong and a visit from Santa and his elves; evanstonsymphony.org. 3 p.m. Dec. 4; Evanston Township High School, 1600 Dodge Ave., Evanston. $10-$40; 847-424-7000.
Sing-Along Sound of Music: musicboxtheatre.com. 4 p.m. Nov. 23;
Music Box Christmas Show: Sing
Do-It-Yourself Messiah: Be a participating chorus member in this traditional, annual public performance of Handel’s “Messiah”; imfchicago.org. 7 p.m. Dec. 17-Dec. 18; Harris Theater for Music and Dance at Millennium Park, 205 E. Randolph St., Chicago. $10; 312-334-7777.
Run, walk or wobble before you gobble. The 2012 Life Time Turkey Day 5K hustles adults through Lincoln Park and along the lakefront to Recreation Drive and back. Kids ages 2-12 can race in the short-course Plymouth Rock Ramble. 9 a.m. Nov. 22; Cannon Drive and Fullerton Parkway. $20-$30 in advance; $40 race day. $12 for kids ages 2-12; turkeyday-5k.com. 773-404-2372.
TIP: Bring two cans of food (or more) to packet pickup to receive a long-sleeve technical shirt and to benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
— Wendy Donahue
Tinley Turkey Trot: A 5K run and walk through residential streets includes refreshments and awards for top finishers; tinleyparkdistrict.org. 7 a.m. Nov. 11; Vogt Woods Park, 6527 W. 171st St., Tinley Park. $16-$25; 708-342-4200.
Friday Night Meltdowns:
Ice skate to dance music on the indoor rink; glenviewparks.org. Oct. 5-April. Glenview Ice Center, 1851 Landwehr Rd., Glenview. $7.50 admission; $4.50 skate rental; 847-724-2800.
Dan Gibbons Turkey Trot:
The 29th annual 5K benefit run founded by Gibbons, the executive director of the Chicago Anti-Hunger Federation, features a flyover by the
Lima Flight Team at 8:50 a.m. Registration fees include an event T-shirt; dangibbonsturkeytrot.com. Nov. 22; Vallette and York Streets, 550 S. York St.,
, IL 60126. $30-$35; 630-415-2816.
TD5K, Turkey Day 5K:
Run or walk through Lincoln Park on Thanksgiving morning. The 35th annual event, expected to draw more than 5,000 participants, also features a Plymouth Rock Ramble for kids ages 2-12. Canned food donations benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository; turkeytrotchicago.com. 9 a.m. Nov. 22; Fullerton Parkway and Cannon Drive, 200 W. Fullerton Pkwy., Chicago. $20-$40. 773-404-2372.
Santa Hustle 5K:
The winter walk and run returns for a third year with
and decorations, and a Santa hat, beard and shirt for every participant. An awards ceremony honors top finishers; an afterparty includes a buffet and drinks; santahustle.com. Dec. 1;
, 1410 Museum Campus Dr., Chicago. $40; 847-829-4536.
Dress up in holiday costume and tie bells on your shoes for the annual 5K benefit jaunt. Snow or shine; jinglebellrunchicago.kintera.org. 9 a.m. Dec. 15;
, 2430 N. Cannon Drive, Chicago. $20-$45; 312-880-4735.
Snowshoe and crosscountry ski:
Explore the 91-acre peninsula with ease when the snow is at least three-inches deep. Equipment rentals are available on a first-come, first served basis and can be checked out for up to two hours; chicagoparkdistrict.com; Northerly Island, 1400 S. Linn White Drive, Chicago. Free; $5 rental fee for equipment; 312-745-2910.
An 8K run and walk through Lincoln Park. The course includes a Donner Dash for kids ages 2-12 years old. Toy donations benefit Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago; fleetfeetchicago.com. 9 a.m. Dec. 9; Fullerton Parkway and Cannon Drive, 200 W. Fullerton Pkwy., Chicago. $35-$40; $12-$15 for kids ages 2-12; 773-561-3338
8th annual Polar Adventure Days
Step 1: Swaddle in subzero-rated gear. Step 2: Slather Aquaphor on lips and nose. Step 3: Repeat for whole family — turning a muffed ear to any protests. Then follow the tracks to Polar Adventure Days at Northerly Island on Dec. 8, Jan. 19 and Feb. 16. In its 8th year, the
TIP: Bring 3 bucks and arrive early to snag one of the cash-only spots in the parking lot just south of the visitor center.
— Wendy Donahue
Maharaja: The Splendor of India’s Royal Courts: Pomp, from processions to palaces; fieldmuseum.org. Oct. 17-Feb. 3.
Breakfast with Santa: Breakfast, breathtaking views, and the big guy himself; jhochicago.com. Dec. 1-Dec. 23. John Hancock Observatory, 875 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago. $15-$45; 888-875-8439.
Santa in the Sky: Visit with Santa every Saturday and Sunday from 1 p.m.-5 p.m. and take home a free keepsake photo; jhochicago.com. Throughout the week, see Santa’s sleigh and watch the holiday train roll through a decorated cityscape. Adult admission includes one free youth admission for kids ages 3-11; John Hancock Observatory, 875 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago. $11.50- $17.50; 888-875-8439.
Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light: Two annual displays (in their 71st and 17th years, respectively) feature more than 50 decorated trees representing diverse holiday celebrations around the globe. The centerpiece is a 45-foot tree with more than 30,000 lights and 1,000 ornaments. Falling “snow” and music and dance performances round out the festivities; msichicago.org. Nov. 15-Jan. 6;
Chicago Toy and Game Fair: Check out hundreds of new toys and games from more than 150 exhibitors at the tenth annual preview-and-play event, billed as the largest expo of its kind in the nation. Also, meet inventors and sports mascots, participate in tournaments and kids activities and watch continuous live entertainment; chitag.com. Nov. 14-Nov. 18;
Santa House: Pose for photos with St. Nick and explore his North Pole workshop at this annual attraction; explorechicago.org. Nov. 21-Dec. 24; Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington St., Chicago. Free; 312-744-3316.
McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade: Watch iconic helium balloons float along State Street, from Congress Parkway to Randolph Street, at the 79th annual parade. Marching bands, equestrian units, performers and others join the fun. Want a good spot? Arrive early to beat the crowds. 8 a.m. Nov. 22; State Street and Congress Parkway, 500 S. State St., Chicago. Free.
Enchanted Railroad: Nine model trains -- including one equipped with a tiny camera that imagines a passenger’s view -- roll through a winter village during this annual holiday display; mortonarb.org. Nov. 23-Jan. 6;
Wonderland Express: Miniature trains chug past waterfalls, bridges and dozens of Chicago landmarks inside the Regenstein Center. Outside, 750,000 holiday lights add a festive feel to the grounds; chicagobotanic.org/wonderland. Nov. 23-Jan. 6;
ZooLights: About two million lights add holiday cheer to the zoo grounds. Ice-carving demonstrations, kids craft activities and photos with Santa (through Dec. 23) round out the festivities.
Winter Wonderland Holiday Light Show: The annual drive-through display on the grounds of the mansion features thousands of lights, animated figures and holiday decorations; vernonhills.org. Nov. 23-Dec. 31; Cuneo Mansion and Gardens, 1350 N. Milwaukee Ave., Vernon Hills. $5-$10; 847-362-3042.
Winter Flower and Train Show: An old-fashioned steam engine and other model trains wind through a miniature village dotted with Chicago landmarks and surrounded by red, white and pink poinsettias; chicagoparkdistrict.com. Nov. 24-Jan. 6;
Winter WonderFest: Holiday decor, an indoor ice rink, inflatable slides, rides and video games highlight the 12th annual event, along with new attractions such as sleigh rides on Dock Street and live music in the beer garden; navypier.com. Nov. 30-Jan. 6; Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. Free entry; $10-$15; 312-595-7437.
Holiday Magic: The
NEW YEARS EVE
Bass Drop 2013
New Years Eve, aka the most disappointing night of the year, gets a kick of creativity at Bass Drop, a high-energy party now in its fourth year at the historic Portage Theater. The party, organized by an artist and musician collective-cum-production company called Funky Boosters, features break dancing, poi, live painting, interactive projects and bands and DJs playing a mix of electronic fusion, dub step, jam, funk and hip hop. The 18+ party tends to draw a young crowd, averaging 18 to 25, who prefer to hear the bass drop than see the ball drop. Organizers expect the 1,300-seat theater to sell out. Doors open at 7 p.m., party goes until 2 a.m. Up to $40. bassdropchicagonye.com
Tip: Buy early next year for a steep discount. Purchasing through tickscale.com, the ticket cost starts at $5 and nudges up a few cents with each purchase until reaching its regular price of $40.
— Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz
Eve of the Eve: Ring in the new year a little early at the 18th annual, black-tie optional benefit event. Tickets include an open bar, appetizers and live music by Pat McKillen and South of 80; highsight.org. 8 p.m. Dec. 30; Great Hall, Union Station, 210 S. Canal St., Chicago. $125-$140; 312-787-9824.
Chicago's Resolution Gala: five-hour open bar and hors d'oeuvres at Navy Pier; chitownevents.com. 9 p.m. Dec. 31; Grand Balroom at Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. $85-$395. 773-516-5767.
NYE 2013 at Palmer: party in one of Chicago's most luxurious hotels; chicagonye.com. Dec. 31; Palmer House, 17 E. Monroe, Chicago. $125-$155.
NYE 2013 at Hilton: live music from well-known artists; clubzone.com. Dec. 31; Hilton, 720 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago. $115-$165.
NYE 2013 at Hard Rock Hotel: kicktickets.com. Dec. 31; Hard Rock Hotel, 230 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago. $150+.
NYE 2013 at the Hyatt
Alejandro Escovedo & The Sensitive Boys: evanstonspace.com. 10 p.m. Dec. 31; SPACE, 1245 Chicago Ave., Evanston. $65-$95; 847-492-8860.
Zoo Year's Eve: Young party animals can ring in the new year with music, games, favors and a countdown to 2013 at 8 p.m.; czs.org. 6 p.m. Dec. 31; Brookfield Zoo, 8400 31st St., Brookfield. Free with general admission, $10.50-$15; 708-688-8000
Gazebo Holiday Market: Browse jewelry, home decor and other gifts from more than 40 merchants at the 41st annual shopping party. On Friday, enjoy a Martinis and Mistletoe preview cocktail party while you shop; jlchicago.org. 7:30 p.m. Nov. 16; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 17;
Randolph Street Holiday Market: Shop for antiques, vintage wares and modern gifts at the annual sale from the producers of the Randolph Street Market Festival. Estate jewelry, indie fashions, decorative objects, housewares and more are on offer. Admission includes free parking and gift wrapping, plus a discount shopping voucher; randolphstreetmarket.com. Nov. 17-Nov. 18; Dec. 15-Dec. 16; Journeymen Plumbers Hall, 1340 W. Washington Blvd., Chicago. $8-$10. 312-666-1200.
Winter Arts and Crafts Expo: The tenth annual showcase features handmade, original works by dozens of artisans. Browse jewelry, ceramics, fiber, metal, glass, painting, photography and more; evanstonartcenter.org. Nov. 17-Dec. 24; Evanston Art Center, 2603 Sheridan Rd., Evanston. Free; 847-475-5300.
Bucktown Bazaar: Make a dent in your holiday shopping with handmade gifts from DIY crafters and established artisans, including many participants in the annual
One of a Kind Show and Sale Chicago: Shop for holiday gifts from more than 650 artists and designers from around the world at the 12th annual sale, featuring accessories, fashion, furniture, jewelry, kids items, photography, paintings, ceramics, glass, metal and more; oneofakindshowchicago.com. Dec. 6-Dec. 9;
Old Town School Holiday Craft Bazaar: Browse fiber arts, jewelry and other handmade gifts at the seventh annual sale, presented as part of the school’s Open House Friday, which features live music and activities; oldtownschool.org. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 8;
Native Arts Holiday Bazaar: Native American artists exhibit and sell their handmade creations and discuss their work with visitors. Expect to find an array of jewelry, beadwork, feather work, dolls, ceramics, drawings and more; mitchellmuseum.org. Dec. 1-Dec. 2; Mitchell Museum of the American Indian, 3001 Central St., Evanston. $5; 847-475-1030.
Renegade Craft Fair Holiday Sale: The ever-popular indie and DIY fair returns to the fieldhouse for a seventh year. Expect a wide range of wares, from clothing and accessories to jewelry, paper goods, housewares, artwork, bath and body products, plush toys and more. Food and drink vendors are on hand; renegadecraft.com. Dec. 1-Dec. 2; Pulaski Park Fieldhouse, 1419 W. Blackhawk St., Chicago. Free; 312-496-3215.
Dose Market: A new, monthly European-style market boasts a well-edited assemblage of vendors, spanning fashion, food and design; dosemarket.com. Nov. 11 & Dec. 9 River East Art Center, 435 E. Illinois St., Chicago. $8-$10.
The Holiday Show: Browse gifts made by more than 75 artists, including jewelry, ceramics, paintings, textile art, paper goods and more at the eighth annual holiday sale in the building’s atrium. A benefit auction for the Chicago Park District features additional works of art; graziaproductions.com. Dec. 9; Architectural Artifacts, Inc., 4325 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago. Free; 773-263-5882.