Entertainment for Holidays, Chicago 2012

Holiday Column 2012
 The Holidays bring us a season of joy and good will and also some of the best and most entertaining theater in Chicagoland. So grab a glass of wine, grog, hot chocolate or whatever your favorite choice and come along with us as we review and preview some of our best picks.
Broadway in Chicago (312) 902-1400. At The Broadway Playhouse
I Love Lucy Live on Stage is keeping audiences enthralled and has been extended until
03/03/13. Imagine that you have returned to 1952 and you’re at the real Desilu studios
watching and participating in the filming of the I Love Lucy shows with Lucy, Desi, Fred and
Ethel. This truly delightful comedy takes you back to that time and place, even featuring
commercials of the day. It’s a fun behind the scenes look at our favorite red head and her pals.

For the kids: Emerald City’s Cinderella until 1/06 is the timeless story of a cruel  step-mother and her daughters. It doesn’t stop the magic for a poor servant girl, who has a fairy Godmother in her corner, the night of the Royal Ball.

Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experiment-A Parody, now running at The Broadway Playhouse has been extended by popular demand and is moving to the Harris Theater and will run through 1/6. It is the unbelievable challenge of condensing all 7 'Harry Potter’ books into 70 minutes, using only costume changes, dazzling songs and a great heap of help of Hogwarts magic-sounds like FUN!

Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical at the Cadillac Palace
Theatre until 12/16 is a magical holiday classic, narrated by 'Max the Dog’, featuring songs such as, „You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and „Welcome Christmas”.
The Grinch’s heart grows from it’s usual '2 sizes too small’ to '3 x times’ it’s usual size, that magical day’; a family delight that kids of all ages will love. It will be followed by War Horse 12/18-1/5, currently playing to sold out houses in London, New York and Toronto. This is a brilliant musical story of the love of a boy and his horse, Joey, who is sold into the cavalry in England during WWI and shipped to France, never the less his friend, too young to enlist will follow him and try to bring him home. With puppets created by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Co., horses are created, so strong and life-like that they are able to carry men.

The Book of Mormon opens 12/14 at The Bank of America Theatre. The winner of 9 Tony’s including Best Musical, was created by South Park’s Trey Parker and Matt Stone. It’s an unequivocal hit sure to please-please note: contains explicit language.
A Christmas Carol at The Goodman Theatre (312) 443-3800 until 12/29 is a Chicago favorite, and has been for over three and a half decades. See the timeless story of loss and redemption, as Scrooge finally finds Christmas in his heart; you, too, like Tiny Tim will leave the theater saying, „God Bless us, every one”. Also soon to be featured, Other Desert Cities 1/12-2/17, a new drama that’s being hailed as 'the best new play on Broadway by The New York Times’, is a riveting story of a daughter’s tell-all manuscript and a family secret that the family wants to keep buried.
The Motherf**ker With The Hat at Steppenwolf Theatre (312) 335-1650 12/28-3/03,has already brought the house down in it’s New York premiere. Recovering alcoholics, Jake and his girlfriend Veronica, are doing o.k. That is until Jake finds a strange man’s hat in the apartment they share. What follows is his utterly incompetent quest for vengeance. Ensemble member, Anna D. Shapiro who premiered this play in New York to rave reviews has brought it home to Steppenwolf. It’s wildly fast paced adult humor and no holds barred language and poetry add to the fun. Please note: this play contains adult themes, language, poetry and profanity. At The Garage: About Face Theatre’s holiday musical, We Three Lizas until 12/23. In the Upstairs Theatre: Jeff Garland’s Closer Than I Appear 12/6.
Timeline Theatre’s (773) 281-8463, 53rd production is world premiere, Wasteland until 12/30. During the Vietnam War a man is confined to an underground cell. He discovers another man on the other side of a thick dirt wall. Though, they differ in just about everything they find a common ground and rely on one another. This is a touching and very real drama, proving that under all circumstances we all need one another, if for no other reason than hope. Following on 1/24, Concerning Strange Devices From the Distant West.
Theater Wit (773) 975-8150 in their newly renovated multiple venue intimate theater bring us many marvelous shows that include for the eighth year The Santaland Diaries by David Sedaris until 12/30 on Stage I. It has been called the perfect antidote to holiday cheer and „the 24 funniest pages ever written in the English language”. The story is that of an Elf at Macy’s at Christmas and his adventures therein. Stage II presents the adaptation of Trainspotting and Stage III The Burnt Boys.

 Metamorphoses again brought to the stage by ensemble member, Mary Zimmerman is at Lookingglass Theatre (312)337-0665. When Zimmerman first mounted this play in 2002 in New York it garnered her a Tony, the production here is just as breathtaking. The first thing you see is the pool, from which Ovid’s myths become beautiful imagery and incredible storytelling.

 It’s A Wonderful Life The Radio Play at American Theatre Co. (773) 409-4125 until 12/30. A Chicago Holiday favorite, the audience is transported back to 1948 and a live radio broadcast. Adapted from the Frank Capra classic, the show includes audiograms and commercials of the day. The true story is not lost, one man’s impact on the world around him and those he loves, and Mike Nussbaum who is featured this year, does a masterful job. Free milk and cookies with each broadcast…er show.
Failure: A Love Story at Victory Gardens (773) 871-3000 until 12/30 is the enchanting tale of three sisters living on the riverfront in Chicago in 1928. It’s a funny and moving holiday story reminding us that in the end love is always what’s most important. Also featured is, American Blues Theater Co.’s productions of It’s A Wonderful Life: Live at The Biograph until 12/30.

 Hellcab at Profiles Theatre (773) 549-1815 until 12/23. This is the 20th Anniversary productions of one of Chicago’s longest running plays. Set on a Christmas Eve, it tells the story of a cab driver’s night ferrying his passengers everywhere in and around Chicago. This production has 34 players, the largest group of players in the production’s history. They include a trio of drug addicts, an amorous couple, a smug lawyer and so many more. It’s relevant, it’s funny and you’re in for quite a ride the evening you stop in to see Hellcab. It will be followed by the Midwest Premiere of The Dream of the Burning Boy. A teacher looses, through his sudden death one of his favorite and most promising students. Though there are many tries this teacher and the boy’s sister are having emotional problems far deeper than anyone can help with.

 The School for Lies at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre on Navy Pier (312) 595-5600 12/4-1/20, is David Ives wonderful off-color tribute to Moliere’s The Misanthrope. A 17th Century farce stuffed with contemporary slang that almost turns into a Baroque reality show. Staged by Barbara Gaines and featuring the Stratford Festival actors and real-life husband and wife team Ben Carlson and Deborah Hey, this promises to be an unforgettable evening. Also Dicken’s Women featuring Miriam Margolyes 12/18-22; Annual Family Concert 1/19 & 1/20.
The Dead by James Joyce at Court Theatre (773) 753-4472 until 12/9. A heartwarming story of family and friends gathering for the Feast of The Epiphany in Dublin at the turn of the last century to sing and dance in celebration, is beautiful and joyful Holiday fare. It will be followed by Skylight 1/10-2/10.

 A Chicago favorite and tradition, The Christmas Schooner returns this year to The Mercury Theatre (773)325-1700 until 12/30. This is the 100th year anniversary of the historic voyage that brought the first Christmas trees across treacherous Lake Michigan to bring Christmas to Chicago. With a cast of 25 actors and musicians singing and playing an original score and traditional seasonal songs this is family fare for the holidays at its finest.

 The Greenhouse Theater Centre (773)404-7336 The Greenhouse ishome to many new productions and Chicago favorites such as Remy Bumppo’s production of George Bernard Shaw’s You Never Can Tell until 1/6. This play is Shaw’s poke at Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, it’s packed with wit and plenty of digs and zings at turn of the century British society…great Holiday fare for the whole family. Also at the Greenhouse: American Storm until 12/16; Over My Dead Body until 1/6 and lots more entertainment in this multi-venue theater space.

 The Other Cinderella at The Black Ensemble (773) 769-4451 in their new state of the art, theater space, is one of our all-time favorites; and in Jackie Taylor’s inimitable style, has taken the classic and added music and her wonderful humorous touches…it’s joy not to be missed.
 Purple Heart by recent Pulitzer Prize winning author, Bruce Norris (for Clybourne Park) at Redtwist Theatre (773) 728-7529 opening 12/22, is a deliciously, dark, funny and twisted tale of one woman and her family. It’s diabolically funny, in most un-expected ways and touching at the same time.
Just a blink from Chicago:
 At Writers’ Theatre (847) 242-6000 Glencoe, now with 35,000 patrons that regularly enjoy the quality and intimacy of their two venues. At 644 Vernon Ave; The Letters until 3/13. Is a taut political thriller set in 1930’s Russia. A routine meeting with a superior quickly disintegrates into a game of who knows what…the answers can not only surprise but they can hold the keys to life and death. Sweet Charity will be at 325 Tudor Court 1/22-3/31. Sweet Valentine’s tale will come to life in an intimate jazz setting that promises to be lots of fun.
Oliver at Light Opera Works (847) 920-5360 Evanston, in their 32nd Anniversary season, will run 12/22-31. Enjoy being transported back to 1800’s London, with this wonderful, full orchestration musical version of Charles Dicken’s Oliver Twist. The story, the music and dance are perfect family fare.
The Odd Couple at Northlight Theatre (847) 673-6300 Skokie until 12/16 proves once again-that funny (even more than 50 years old funny) is still wonderfully funny…see it and have a good laugh. Coming soon, The Whipping Man 1/18-2/24 is the tale of a Jewish Confederate and two former slaves sharing the rebuilding of their lives after the Civil War. Secrets unfold and nothing for them will ever be the same.
Also check out North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, Centre East where there’s always terrific entertainment.
Pippin a Bollywood Spectacular at Circle Theatre (708) 660-9540 Oak Park until 12/23. With Bollywood’s wild colors and a new style, the Stephen Schwartz classic will be seen in a whole new light. Warning: Adult content and language.
 Akoo Theatre-Rosemont(800) 745-3000 brings The Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring The Rockettes back to Chicagoland 12/14-12/30.
 Metropolis Performing Arts Centre (847)577-2121 Arlington Heights will present, A Christmas Carol until 12/24; and Second City’s Holidays in the Heights until 1/4.
 Welcome Home, Jenny Sutter at Next Theatre (847) 475-6763 Evanston until 12/23. At once darkly funny and deeply tender-hearted, returning Iraq veteran Jenny is in need of healing.
Last But Not Least:
 Joffrey Ballet’s The Nutcracker 12/7-27 at Auditorium Theatre (312) 341-2310.
Hoover-Leppen Theatre’s (773) 250-3117 Jeff-recommended At The Flash.
Royal George’s (312) 988-9000. Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody; Superior Donuts; Put the Nuns in Charge; Mother Superior’s Ho-Ho- Holy Night; Late Nite Catechism, Sunday School Cinema, Saints and Sinners.
Provision Theatre’s (312) 455-0066 hit, The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey. Lifeline Theatre’s (773) 761-4477 Kidseries: Mystery of the Pirate Ghost 1/12-2/17.

Piccolo Theatre’s (847) 424-0089 Evanston, the only theater in an operating train station, Bah Humbug until 12/22.
 Apollo Theatre (773) 6100 extends it’s standing ovation, The Million Dollar Quartet. Red Orchid’s (312) 943-8722 The Opponent until 12/15 by Brett Neveu; Blue Man Group (with new material) at Briar Street Theatre (773)348-4000.
House Theatre’s (773) 251-2195 The Nutcracker. Paramount Theatre (630) 896-7676, Aurora-lots of great entertainment.
Drury Lane Oak Brook’s (630) 530-0111 Singing In The Rain.
At Stage 773 (773) 327-5252, there’s lot’s of great entertainment in their new renovated space with multiple stages, including Porchlight Music Theatre’s (773) 327-5252 Holiday Musical The Gift of the Magi until 12/23. Red Moon’s (312) 859-8440 wonderful puppets.
Theo Ubique’s (773) 347-1109 Smokey Joe’s Café & Joy To The World. City Lit Theater’s Fuddy Meers by Ka-Tet Theatre Co.until 12/8. Den Theatre’s hit production, The Quality of Life until 12/9 and Faith Healer opening 12/20.
Comedy, Concerts & More:
At Second City’s (312) 337-3992 100th Revue, Who Do We Think We Are, Second City etc.: We’re All In This Room Together, Nut Cracking Revue, The Best of The Second City & Letters To Santa.
Zanies, the home of Stand-Up comedy, with locations in Chicago and St. Charles, and now new in Rosemont.
The Venue at the Horseshoe Casino, Hammond, In. has some terrific shows, for example: The Moody Blues 12/8; Kenny G 12/20; Boyz II Men      
with Mint Condition 12/27 & Aretha Franklin 12/29.

Rich Gore
TSP Productions & TSP News
[email protected]