Like the creeping tinsel at the mall, holiday shows in Chicago seem to start earlier each year. This season, it was “White Christmas” at the
Of course, nobody wants to drag some reluctant relative to a holiday show that disappoints. So here are my 10 picks for seasonal fun and frolic, and even a few tears of emotion. Some of the shows are new; some are reprises. And I've tried to include at least a couple of titles for those who claim to despise the entire category of holiday shows. Not that I believe them.
Here’s my holiday top-10 list, in no particular order.
“Donny & Marie: Christmas in Chicago”: If you miss the days of television Christmas specials — those faux-domestic celebrations where celebrity friends would just happen to drop by and sing a few songs around
“A Christmas Carol”: Larry Yando, a proven
“White Christmas": Last year, a mediocre touring production of this 2004 musical, designed to capitalize on the popularity of the 1954 movie about a pair of song-and-dance men who head off to Vermont, played in downtown Chicago. We're happy to report that the new production at the Marriott Theatre is much, much better. The score features songs from the incomparable
The House Theatre’s “Nutracker” is not a ballet, but a warm and emotional original piece of Chicago theater where a quirky dude named Drosselmeyer teaches Clara and her grieving parents about the importance of moving on with life, and with Christmas. The show has a stronger emotional pull than most of the shows on this list and young children may find parts of it
, but the piece ends up as a celebration of the power of a family to pull together. If you have out-of-towners here and want them to see what handmade Chicago theater is all about — and yet still have a traditional kind of seasonal experience that will draw everyone closer — then this is the show to chose.
Through Dec. 30 by House Theatre of Chicago at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St.; $25 at 773-769-3832 and thehousetheatre.com