The season's best Theater events
The Annoyance Christmas Pageant It turns out somebody wants a Charlie in the box. The Annoyance stages back-to-back retellings of A Charlie Brown Christmas and The Year Without a Santa Claus. Annoyance Theatre, 4830 N Broadway (773-561-4665). Through Dec 19: Sat at 8pm. $16, kids $12.
The David Bowie Hepzikat Funky Velvet Flarney Solstice Spectacular, Live... From Space! Paul Lynde, Marianne Faithfull, Iggy Pop and Charo are among the Ghosts of Entertainment Past joining the Thin White Duke for this campy re-enactment of an actual 1977 TV special, in its third annual (and allegedly final) run. New Millennium Theatre Company at Theater Wit, 1229 W Belmont Ave (773-975-8150). Through Dec 18: Sat at 10:30pm. $20.
Float A quintet of women grapples with identity, sexuality and religion as it constructs a holiday parade float in the new play by Patricia Kane. About Face Theatre at Theater Wit (773-975-8150). Through Dec 12: Wed–Fri at 7:30pm; Sat at 3, 7:30pm; Sun at 3pm. $25, students $15.
It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas Meredith Willson (The Music Man) continued his obsessive exploration of the theme of the lovable con artist with this 1963 musical version of Miracle on 34th Street. Theatre at the Center, 1040 Ridge Rd, Munster, IN (219-836-3255). Through Dec 19: Wed at 2pm; Fri at 2, 8pm; Sat at 2:30, 8pm; Sun at 2:30pm. $36–$40.
Miracle on 34th Street Another musical based on the 1947 film. Porchlight Music Theatre Chicago at Stage 773, 1225 W Belmont Ave (773-327-5252). Through Jan 2: Fri at 8pm; Sat at 2:30, 8pm; Sun at 2:30pm. $38–$40.
The Nutcracker The House remounts its 2007 version of the E.T.A. Hoffmann tale, without ballet but with sugarplum fairies and the evil Rat King, and also a score by Kevin O’Donnell. The House Theatre of Chicago at Chopin Theatre, 1543 W Division St (773-251-2195). Through Dec 26: Fri, Sat at 3, 8pm; Sun at 7pm. $25, students $10.
Robin Hood: The Panto Jessica Puller’s Brit-style holiday show skewers the Merry Men of Sherwood Forest. Piccolo Theatre at Evanston Arts Depot, 600 Main St, Evanston (847-424-0089). Through Dec 19: Fri at 7pm; Sat at 3, 7pm; Sun at 3pm. $25.
Winter Pageant 2010 Seth Bockley, Frank Maugeri and Jim Lasko have concocted this year’s version of the freewheeling annual celebration, dedicated to the baby boomers’ soundtrack and the magic of mysterious contraptions. Redmoon Central, 1463 W Hubbard St (312-850-8440). Through Jan 2: Fri at 7:30pm; Sat at 1, 4, 7:30pm; Sun at 1, 4pm. $22, kids $10.
A Christmas CarolNow and forever, this time with John Judd debuting as Ebenezer. Goodman Theatre, 170 N Dearborn St (312-443-3800). Fri 26–Dec 31. Previews Fri 26–Sun 28: Fri at 8pm; Sat at 2, 8pm; Sun at 2pm. Opens Sun 28 at 6:30pm. Regular run: Tue–Thu at 7:30pm; Fri at 8pm; Sat at 2, 8pm; Sun at 2, 6:30pm. $25–$76.
It’s a Wonderful Life: The Radio Play ATC’s ninth annual outing to Bedford Falls stars Chris McLinden as George Bailey and Alan Wilder as greedy Mr. Potter. American Theater Company, 1909 W Byron Ave (773-409-4125). Fri 26–Dec 30: Thu, Fri at 8pm; Sat at 3, 8pm; Sun at 3pm. $35–$40.
Mother Superior’s Ho-Ho-Holy Night Mother Superior jumps the gun and dives headlong into the holiday pageant business in Vicki Quade’s Christmas offering. Royal George Theatre, 1641 N Halsted St (312-988-9000). Fri 26–Dec 19: Fri, Sat at 8pm; Sun at 3pm. $30.
Sanders Family Christmas Christmas carols, bluegrass tunes and knee-slapping yuletide gags make this holiday production a night you’ll remember. Provision Theater, 1001 W Roosevelt Rd (312-455-0065). Fri 26–Dec 19: Fri, Sat at 8pm; Sun at 3pm. $25–$28.
The Santaland Diaries David Sedaris has published eight books, but his enduring legacy may still turn out to be this sardonic look at life as a Macy’s elf. Theater Wit, 1229 W Belmont Ave (773-975-8150). Fri 26–Dec 31: Thu at 7:30pm; Fri, Sat at 7:30, 9:30pm; Sun at 3, 7pm. $18–$25.
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever Rotten kids get turned around by the power of faith in this uplifting musical fable. Provision Theater, 1001 W Roosevelt Rd (312-455-0065). Wed 1–Dec 22: Wed at 10am; Sat at 2pm; Sun at 12:30pm. $15, kids 12 and under $10.
Wicked The mean, green, tween-pleasing Oz prequel returns for a holiday sitdown. Cadillac Palace Theatre (312-902-1400). Wed 1–Jan 23. Previews Wed 1, Dec 2: Wed at 8pm; Thu at 2, 7:30pm. Opens Dec 3 at 8pm. Regular run: Tue at 7:30pm; Wed at 2, 7:30pm; Thu at 7:30pm; Fri at 8pm; Sat at 2, 8pm; Sun at 2pm. $35–$105.
The Flaming Dames in Naughtier and Nicer Need some spirits to wash down all this holiday spirit? Some sexy to cut the sweetness? Come get jolly with the venerable burlesque troupe’s holiday outing. Finn McCool’s 15 W Division St (888-326-3129). Dec 3, 4 at 9:30pm. $15.
Handel’s Messiah Rocks: A Joyful Noise If you think the Hallelujah Chorus could be improved with some shred guitar, this touring spectacle’s for you. Bank of America Theatre, 18 W Monroe St (312-902-1400). Dec 3 at 8pm; Dec 4 at 2, 8pm. $40–$75.
The Nativity After skipping 2009, McKinley Johnson’s gospel-tinged adaptation of Langston Hughes’s Black Nativity returns for a sixth holiday season. Congo Square Theatre Company at Goodman Theatre, 170 N Dearborn St (312-443-3800). Dec 3–31. Days and times vary. $25–$40.
A Christmas Carl Chicago Dell’Arte’s new honky-tonk riff on the archetype concerns the employees of Carl Scrooge’s Auto Body Shop in Cleburne, Texas. RBP Rorschach, 4001 N Ravenswood Ave (773-530-1040). Dec 7–22: Mon–Sat at 8pm; Sun at 2pm. $15 suggested donation.
Home for the Holidays Charming cabaret artists Beckie Menzie and Tom Michael perform holiday jingles both traditional (“Do You Hear What I Hear?”) and less so (Tom Lehrer’s “Hanukkah in Santa Monica”). Maxim’s: The Nancy Goldberg International Center, 24 E Goethe St (312-742-8497). Dec 8 at 7:30pm. $25.
That’s Weird, Grandma The Monkeys monkey around with special holiday editions of their kid-penned, much-loved show. Barrel of Monkeys at Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N Ashland Ave (312-409-1954). Dec 13, 20 at 8pm. $10, kids $5.
White Christmas While it’s one of our favorites, the 1954 Paramount film has just a tenuous connection to the holiday. But it’s filled with enough Irving Berlin gems to give this stage adaptation appeal. Bank of America Theatre, 18 W Monroe St (312-902-1400). Dec 15–Jan 2. Days and times vary. $25–$98.
Celebrate the Holidays with Marlene Despite (or maybe because of) her languid German version of “Little Drummer Boy,” we’ve never thought of Marlene Dietrich as a holiday icon. Perhaps cabaret artist Suzanne Petri’s tribute show can change our minds. Millennium Park, Pritzker Pavilion, 205 E Randolph St (312-742-8497). Dec 20 at 7:30pm. $15.
Jewmongous Former Rockapella singer and self-proclaimed “bar mitzvah Jew” Sean Altman brings his comic cabaret about the modern dilemmas of the chosen people to the North Shore. Skokie Theatre, 7924 N Lincoln Ave, Skokie (847-677-7761). Dec 25 at 7, 9pm. $20.
Hello, Dolly! Brassy widow Dolly Levi plays matchmaker for herself and others in the enduring musical. Light Opera Works at Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson St, Evanston (847-869-6300). Dec 26, 27 at 2pm; Dec 28 at 7pm; Dec 29 at 2pm; Dec 30, 31, Jan 1 at 8pm; Jan 2 at 2pm. $32–$92.