Sunday, December 14, 2014

ChiIL Mama's Top Fam Friendly Holiday Picks: The House Theatre Nutcracker


Here at ChiIL Mama we dig our live holiday shows with a touch of the macabre, to balance out the festive songs and merriment. The House Theatre's ballet free, dead Marine mourning, multiheaded rat infested Nutcracker fits the bill. We're huge fans of House Theatre and greatly anticipate their fabulous Nutcracker production every time the holidays roll around. I know it's a crazy busy time for many families, but if you just make time for a few live shows this season, make this one of them. Highly recommended! Click here for loads of our past House Nutcracker coverage.

Book by Jake Minton and Phillip Klapperich
Music by Kevin O’Donnell, Lyrics by Jake Minton
Based on the story by E.T.A. Hoffmann 
Directed and Choreographed by Tommy Rapley    

PRICES: $15 - $45
TIMES: Thursdays & Fridays 7:30, Saturdays 3:00 & 7:30, Sundays 3:00 & 7:00
SEATS: Performed in the round, with seats on all sides, and always general admission
RUN TIME: 2 hours, including one 15 minute intermission
AGES: 5 to 105! Read more in the Parent's Guide from co-writer Jake Minton.

We bring this wholly original, ballet-free show back year after year because it truly has something for everyone. The show is fast-paced, beautifully choreographed, family-friendly, and moving for even those of us that might be on the grinch’s side from time to time.

The House’s fantastical expansion of this holiday classic centers on young Clara’s journey to save Christmas in the face of grief. With the help of a magical nutcracker, this brave girl will risk the darkness, fight the Rat King, and save her family! This modern holiday production weaves together riveting dialogue, astonishing puppetry, original song, and spellbinding spectacle to tell a heartwarming, darkly moving story of magic and hope -- a fun outing fit for the whole family.

“Imaginative and inventive! It's more than earned a place in the roster of EXCEPTIONAL Chicago holiday shows. I was teary-eyed in less than five minutes.”
- Chicago Reader

- The Chicago Sun-Times

- The Chicago Tribune

Show Dates: Through Dec 28 2014 Location:

Chopin Theatre, 1543 W Division St., Chicago

Now in it’s fifth year, House’s adaptation written by Company Members Jake Minton and Phillip Klapperich with music by Kevin O’Donnell and, directed and choreographed by Company Member Tommy Rapley
Returns to the Chopin Theatre

The House Theatre of Chicago brings holiday cheer with its fifth annual return of their all-original, family-friendly The Nutcracker playing at The Chopin Theatre Upstairs Theatre, 1543 W. Division, through December 28. The book is written by Company Members Jake Minton and Phillip Klapperich with music by Kevin O’Donnell. Company Member Tommy Rapley once again reprises his role as director and choreographer of the holiday production based on the story by E.T.A. Hoffmann. 

Regular performances are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m. with 3 p.m. matinees on Saturday and Sunday. Regular run tickets range from $25 - $45. Student and industry same-day discounted tickets are available for $10 for all dates, based on availability. 

Tickets may be purchased by calling 773.769.3832 or by visiting

The Nutcracker is adapted by Jake Minton and Phillip Klapperich from “The Nutcracker and the Mouse,” a story by E.T.A. Hoffmann. The production is directed and choreographed by Tommy Rapley with original music by Kevin O’Donnell.

The cast for The Nutcracker features the return of House Company Member Michael E. Smith in the role of Monkey, and welcomes back past cast members and guest artists Ericka Ratcliff (first appearing in the premiere 2007 cast and recently seen in Rose and the Rime) as Martha/Really Scary Rat and Karl Potthoff (reprising his role from last year as Uncle Drosselmeyer/Really Quite Scary Rat). Returning guest artist Paul Fagen (last seen in 2008’s The Attempters) plays David/Quite Scary Rat. Guest artists rounding out the cast include Jacklyn Hennell (Clara), Andrew Lund (Hugo the Robot), Krystal Worrell (Phoebe the Babydoll) and Shaun Baer (Fritz the Nutcracker).

The House is Chicago's premier home for intimate, original works of epic story and stagecraft. Founded and led by Artistic Director Nathan Allen and driven by an interdisciplinary ensemble of Chicago’s next generation of great storytellers, The House aims to become a laboratory and platform for the evolution of the American theatre as an inclusive and popular artform.

The House was founded in 2001 by a group of friends to explore connections between Community and Storytelling through a unique theatrical experience. Since becoming eligible in 2004, The House has been nominated for 60 Joseph Jefferson Awards (21 wins) and became the first recipient of Broadway in Chicago’s Emerging Theater Award in 2007, and was awarded a 2014 National Theatre Company Grant by the American Theatre Wing, founder of the Tony Awards. Now in its 13th year of original work, The House continues its mission to unite Chicago in the spirit of Community through amazing feats of Storytelling.

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