A Christmas peril
These holiday shows won't make you want to bludgeon yourself with the nearest Yule log. Now that's a true Christmas miracle.
A Very Neo-Futurist Christmas Carol
During this time of year, it’s pretty much impossible to avoid the story of Ebenezer Scrooge and his three emotionally manipulative ghosts. Even if you steer clear of the theater, you’re bound to come across that Susan Lucci version on TV. One of the more engaging interpretations promises to be the Neo-Futurists’ deconstruction, which adds political commentary and, as narrator, the grim reaper. This being the Neo-Futurists, you can also expect lots of short scenes and self-contemplation. The Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N Ashland Ave (773-275-5255). Through Dec 23. $15. See “Midnight express.”
Soireé Dada: Schmück der Hallen
WNEP Theater’s Dadaist revues consistently manage to amuse despite employing such surefire irritants as audience participation and performers in whiteface. This time, the group turns its derisive, destructive glee to the task of dismantling Christmas. Storefront Theater, 66 E Randolph St (312-742-8497). Through Dec 21. $20.
After spending last season battle-royaling in August: Osage County on Broadway, Steppenwolf’s Amy Morton returns to Chicago to direct local-actor-turned-CSI-star William Petersen in a drama by Conor McPherson. Petersen plays an alcoholic Dubliner estranged from his family. Oh, and he works in a funeral home. So, basically, the play has every element needed for a traditional Irish Christmas. Morton’s directorial work is usually as intense as her performances, so this one might be worth worsening your holiday depression. Steppenwolf Theatre Company, 1650 N Halsted St (312-335-1650). Through Dec 28. $50.
The Snow Queen
Victory Gardens again presents its musical adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale about a young girl who sets out to rescue her friend from the icy clutches of the titular monarch. Given that cold weather is the villain, the story’s not exactly an endorsement of winter wonderlands. But at least this time Andersen doesn’t let his heroine freeze to death as in The Little Match Girl (perhaps Hans was a summer person?). Frank Galati’s production charms with help from eerily lovely puppets and, above all, a witty pop-folk score. Victory Gardens Theater at the Biograph, 2433 N Lincoln Ave (773-871-3000). Friday 28–Dec 28. $37–$48.