Tuesday, December 6, 2022

A MAGICAL CIRQUE CHRISTMAS is now playing through December 11th, 2022

ChiIL Mama’s ChiIL Picks List




Caroline Rinny

Here at ChiIL Mama we adore circus arts and magic. We've had the chance to see both A Magical Cirque Christmas and Lucy Darling's solo shows many times and are eager to see the two together. I'll be out for opening night, December 6th, so check back soon for my full review. Don't sleep on this one, though. A MAGICAL CIRQUE CHRISTMAS is only in Chicago for a 1 week run. Make some family memories with this fun, all ages show.

Lucy Darling

Comedic Magician Lucy Darling - “a true original – hilarious and delightful;

An EXCEPTIONAL new talent in magic”

-- David Copperfield

Broadway In Chicago is thrilled to announce that A MAGICAL CIRQUE CHRISTMAS is now playing through December 11, for a limited one-week engagement at Broadway In Chicago’s CIBC Theatre (18 W. Monroe).

A MAGICAL CIRQUE CHRISTMAS features world-acclaimed performers and cirque artists who take audiences back in time, immersing them in the spirit of the season with comedy, music, and magic – performing Christmas classics through the decades. Tickets are available at BroadwayInChicago.com and range from $20-$80 with a select number of premium seats available. Tickets are available now for groups of 10 or more by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710 or emailing GroupSales@BroadwayInChicago.com.

Johnathan Rinny 

About A Magical Cirque Christmas

The Christmas tale begins as the Guardian of Time, who manages the changing of the seasons with his giant magical clock, finds himself less than thrilled to face the countdown to the 2022 holidays. In other words, he’s not feeling it. An optimistic, magical Christmas fairy played by the glamourous and comedic magician Lucy Darling whom David Copperfield calls “a true original – hilarious and delightful; An EXCEPTIONAL new talent in magic” appears to help but despite her best intentions, causes time to go haywire when she breaks the clock.

The story jumps along the time spectrum with visits to the rollicking 1920s a la The Great Gatsby style, the rockabilly 1950s, the boogie-oogie 1970s, and a classic Victorian 1890s London reminiscent of Charles Dickens, and is accompanied by beautiful holiday music from each period. To keep the clock ticking, Lucy Darling uses all her skills with jaw-dropping tricks and amazing feats of illusion, including a levitation that requires a bit of audience participation.

Acts returning for this season’s tour include audience favorites, Rola Bola performer and Unicyclist Jonathan Rinney, Juggler Christopher Stoinev and Foot Juggling Duo Ray Rodriguez Lara and Henry D’Boyd Collado Green. Attendees of all ages will be amazed and delighted by performances that have also entertained TV audiences on America’s Got Talent and The Late Show. Dazzling artists include Lyra hoop aerial acrobats, a high-flying foot juggling duo, a breathtaking aerial straps pair, a contortion flying streetlamp act, an internationally acclaimed high balancing rola bola artist, and much more. 

“A Magical Cirque Christmas is a great opportunity to bring friends and family together to reconnect, share laughs, and create new memories during the holiday season. We’ve assembled top-tier talent for an incredible evening of surprises that we think will bring a ton of joy during a cherished time of year,” said Director Louanne Madorma, who has directed cirque shows all around the world.”

For a complete tour schedule go to www.MagicalCirqueChristmas.com.

Follow @AMagicalCirqueChristmas on Facebook and Instagram and @CirqueChristmas on Twitter.

Magical Cirque Christmas Cast

Performance Schedule 

Tuesday, December 6 through Friday, December 9 at 7:30pm (2pm Matinee on Wednesday, Dec. 7)

Saturday, December 10 at 2pm & 8pm

Sunday, December 11 at 2pm

About MagicSpace Entertainment 

A Magical Cirque Christmas is produced by MagicSpace Entertainment, a boutique producing and presenting firm focused on first-class properties and productions. Based in Park City, UT, the company has produced and presented national tours, Broadway shows, concerts, museum exhibits and sporting events worldwide for over 40 years with a powerhouse producing team focused on providing creative, marketing, and general management expertise.  www.MagicSpace.net 

About Broadway In Chicago

Broadway In Chicago was created in July 2000 and over the past 22 years has grown to be one of the largest commercial touring homes in the country.  A Nederlander Presentation, Broadway In Chicago lights up the Chicago Theatre District entertaining up to 1.7 million people annually in five theatres. Broadway In Chicago presents a full range of entertainment, including musicals and plays, on the stages of five of the finest theatres in Chicago’s Loop including the Cadillac Palace Theatre, CIBC Theatre, James M. Nederlander Theatre, and just off the Magnificent Mile, the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place and presenting Broadway shows at the Auditorium Theatre.

COVID-19  Protocol

Masks are recommended for all audience members. For the latest health and safety procedures and guidelines, click here.

For more information, visit www.BroadwayInChicago.com

Follow Broadway In Chicago on: Facebook/@BroadwayInChicago ● Twitter/@broadwaychicago● Instagram/@BroadwayInChicago ● #broadwayinchicago

REVIEW: The Nutcracker by The Joffrey Ballet At Lyric Opera House December 3 – 27, 2022

ChiIL Mama’s ChiIL Picks List 

The Nutcracker by The Joffrey Ballet 

At Lyric Opera House 

The Joffrey Ballet, The Nutcracker

Photo by Todd Rosenberg


by Catherine Hellmann, Guest Critic 

“Everything is beautiful at the ballet,” goes the dreamy song from A Chorus Line, and that sentiment certainly applies to the Joffrey Ballet’s annual holiday production of The Nutcracker. The setting has a wonderful Chicago twist by occurring among the excitement of the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893. The background depicts the world’s first Ferris Wheel and the Statue of the Republic by Daniel Chester French. (a smaller replica of “the Golden Lady” stands at a traffic circle in Jackson Park--unless construction of the Obama Presidential Library has forced its temporary removal.)  

Of course, the marvelous music by Tchaikovsky, played by the Lyric Opera Orchestra, remains. The dancing and choreography are, as expected, fabulous and inventive. Brian Selznick, the talented children’s author/illustrator, designed the story. The costumes and masks by Julian Crouch are wonderful. I loved the couples who had the men’s top hats and their vests matching their partner’s sashes at their waists. Adding to the magic are the Projection Designs by 59 Productions. 

The Joffrey Ballet, The Nutcracker
Photo by Cheryl Mann 

Clara has been changed to Marie, and her mother is a sculptress designing the famous “Golden Lady,” a neat feminist touch. They live in a rather primitive log cabin, where their sad little Christmas tree resembles a Charlie Brown tree, (Or as our brother Marty so eloquently phrased it, “Known by its Latin name,’Charlius Brownius,’” due to the ugly trees our father procured every year.) 

A very cute little girl sitting behind us offered an adorable commentary about the plot. “They’re playing games!” explained her grandma about the children at Marie’s cabin. When the bratty brother Franz breaks the Nutcracker gift (some things never change), our little friend blurted,”He broke it! She’s crying!” Then, The Great Impresario (with an awesome red cape he swept around to lovely theatrical  effect) “fixed it!” The gift was hidden in a cabinet, and it was  revealed. “The Nutcracker was in there! I knew it!” blurted our young theater goer. 

The scene with the rats was creepy, like being in our Chicago alley. (Another peculiar, perhaps unintended, reference to our beloved city…) I especially liked when the Rat King was stabbed and then dramatically hoisted off, twitching to the end, by his followers.   

Grandma behind us explained, ”The Nutcracker is a prince. They are falling in love!” (“I liked seeing the men’s butts!” declared my sister, with brutal, contrasting honesty about the pas de deux.) A gondola boat, resembling the ones from the Great Basin at the 1893 Fair, carries Marie and her prince away. There are projections of the German House, Moorish Palace, and Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show to remind us of the Chicago location. In fact, one of the traditional Nutcracker dance numbers was now performed by “Buffalo Bill” with his lasso and three rowdy cowgirls. (The real Buffalo Bill had the last laugh at the 1893 Fair. Refused admittance by the officials at the Fair, Buffalo Bill set up camp outside the fairgrounds, charged 50 cents to get in, same as Fair admission fee, and made a fortune.)    

One of the traditional dance numbers brought Little Egypt to mind. There was a scandalous belly dancer in 1893 named Little Egypt who performed just outside the fairgrounds. One of the ballet dancers was carried in by her partner and proceeded to perform a sensuous, sexy dance that had everyone riveted. She was amazing. My sister described them as “inspiring” and declared “what poise!” 

Our little friend in the row behind us was unhappy by Act II. At two hours, the show was simply too long for her. There was a lot of crying, whimpering, and shushing. “No child under ten should be allowed into this performance,” was my sister’s takeaway announcement.      

But that said, please make a family tradition of seeing Joffrey Ballet’s fantastic production of The Nutcracker. Get your mandatory photos in the lobby. You will make extraordinary memories. 

Catherine Hellmann is a theater junkie, a teacher, a mom of three, and a weirdo who keeps her Christmas tree up all year round. It makes her happy.    

Jeraldine Mendoza and Dylan Gutierrez. Photo by Cheryl Mann


The critically-acclaimed holiday classic highlighting Chicago’s famous World’s Fair of 1893 returns for 25 performances, 

December 3 – 27, 2022

The Joffrey Ballet’s critically-acclaimed reimagined classic, The Nutcracker by Tony Award®-winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, returns to the Lyric Opera House, 20 North Upper Wacker Drive, in 25 performances, December 3 – 27, 2022. Set in Chicago’s World’s Fair in 1893, Wheeldon’s The Nutcracker highlights the rich cultural heritage of Chicago and the wonder of the season.

“This glorious production only gets better with time,” said Ashley Wheater, The Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director. “Now, six years since its debut, the holiday magic of the Joffrey’s version of The Nutcracker is perhaps more poignant than ever, a story of family and adventure. But more than anything, it is an homage to a city we cherish so much, and we look forward to celebrating another incomparable holiday season in Chicago once more.”  

“I have many fond memories of watching The Nutcracker throughout my life, and even now, dozens upon dozens of viewings later,” Greg Cameron, President and CEO, added. “What I love most is that no matter how many times I see it, the spectacle and sheer wonderment still feels new. The Nutcracker has a way of reaching people, and we are most proud and fortunate that the Joffrey’s version continues to be a point of pride and joy for Chicagoans year after year.”

Alberto Velazquez and ensemble of The Nutcracker

Photo by Cheryl Mann 

Wheeldon’s American tale relocates Marie and her immigrant family to the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, and opens as young Marie and her mother, a sculptress creating the Fair’s iconic Statue of the Republic, host a festive Christmas Eve celebration. After a surprise visit from the creator of the Fair, the mysterious Great Impresario, Marie embarks on a whirlwind adventure with the Nutcracker Prince through a dreamlike World’s Fair.

A ballet in two acts set to Tchaikovsky’s classic score, The Nutcracker features an award-winning creative team, including Tony Award®-nominated set and costume designer Julian Crouch, Caldecott Medal Award-winning author Brian Selznick, Obie and Drama Desk award-winning puppeteer Basil Twist, Tony Award®-winning lighting designer Natasha Katz and Tony Award®-winning projection designer 
Ben Pearcy/59 Productions. The production was adapted in 2021 by Wheeldon to fit the larger Lyric Opera stage.

The Nutcracker features live music performed by the Lyric Opera Orchestra, conducted by Scott Speck, Music Director of The Joffrey Ballet.

For the third year in partnership with Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, signature scenes from the production will be projected on the world’s largest canvas, Art on theMart. The digital art projection, designed by local production studio The Mill with music arranged by Joffrey Assistant Conductor & Company Pianist Michael Moricz, will be displayed on theMART’s 2.5 acre river-façade. It can be viewed nightly for free from the ‘Jetty’ section of the Chicago Riverwalk on Wacker Drive between Wells Street and Franklin Street November 19 – December 30, 2022, in two airings, at 7:30 and 8:00 p.m. More information can be found at artonthemart.com/programming

Jeraldine Mendoza and Dylan Gutierrez. Photo by Todd Rosenberg


The Joffrey Ballet performs The Nutcracker Saturday, December 3 through Sunday, December 27, 2022. The full schedule is as follows: Saturday, December 3 at 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM; Sunday, December 4 at 1:00 PM; Friday, December 9 at 7:00 PM; Saturday, December 10 at 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM; Sunday, December 11 at 1:00 PM and 6:00 PM; Thursday, December 15 at 7:00 PM; Friday, December 16 at 7:00 PM; Saturday, December 17 at 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM; Sunday, December 18 at 1:00 PM and 6:00 PM; Wednesday, December 21 at 7:00 PM; Thursday December 22 at 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM; Friday, December 23 at 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM; Sunday, December 24 at 11:00 AM and 4:00 PM; Monday, December 26 at 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM; and Tuesday, December 27 at 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM. 

Single tickets start at $36 and are available for purchase online at Joffrey.org/Nutcracker, by telephone at 312.386.8905 or at Lyric Opera Box Office located at 20 N. Upper Wacker Dr. 

About The Joffrey Ballet

The Joffrey Ballet is one of the premier dance companies in the world today, with a reputation for boundary-breaking performances for more than 60 years. The Joffrey repertoire is an extensive collection of all-time classics, modern masterpieces, and original works. 

Founded in 1956 by pioneers Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino, the Joffrey remains dedicated to artistic expression, innovation, and first-rate education and engagement programming. The Joffrey Ballet continues to thrive under The Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director Ashley Wheater MBE and President and CEO Greg Cameron.

Special thanks to 2022-2023 The Nutcracker Presenting Sponsor, Guarantee Trust Life Insurance, and Production Sponsors AARP Illinois and C.D. Peacock. The Joffrey gratefully acknowledges The Nutcracker Commissioning Sponsors: Margot and Josef Lakonishok; Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust; Hancher Auditorium, University of Iowa; and the many “Believers.”

The Joffrey Ballet is grateful for the support of its 2022–2023 Season Sponsors: Abbott Fund, Alphawood Foundation Chicago, Daniel and Pamella DeVos Foundation, The Florian Fund, Anne L. Kaplan, Nancy and Sanfred Koltun, and Live Music Sponsors Sandy and Roger Deromedi, Sage Foundation, and The Marina and Arnold Tatar Fund for Live Music. The Joffrey also acknowledges Season Partners Chicago Athletic Clubs, and Athletico Physical Therapy, official provider of physical therapy for The Joffrey Ballet.

For more information on The Joffrey Ballet and its programs, visit joffrey.org. Connect with the Joffrey on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn.

Yumi Kanazawa and Hyuma Kiyosawa

Photo by Todd Rosenberg

FREE TODAY! Chicago Theatres to perform at CHRISTKINDLMARKET 4pm To 6:30pm December 6, 2022

ChiIL Mama’s ChiIL Picks List: 

Free Family Friendly Fun

Outdoor performances at the Chicago market today include:

Broadway In Chicago’s Dear Evan Hanson, 

Cabaret ZaZou’s Luminaire

and performances from Broadway in Bronzeville,

A Theater in the Dark and Improv Playhouse

Join the League of Chicago Theatres on the Christkindlmarket Chicago stage for selections from holiday theatre favorites


4 PM – Holiday Variety, Broadway in Bronzeville

4:30 PM – A Christmas Carol in the Dark, A Theater in the Dark

5 PM – Dear Evan Hansen, Broadway In Chicago

5:30 PM– Cabaret ZaZou Presents Luminaire

6 PM – Holiday Favorites, Improv Playhouse

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

Holiday Variety, Broadway in Bronzeville

Broadway in Bronzeville presents holiday song and dance including holiday favorites “This Christmas,” “Doesn’t It Feel Like Christmas,” “Let it Snow” and a selection from their current production Queens of the Policy.

A Christmas Carol in the Dark, A Theater in the Dark

A Theater in the Dark presents a live excerpt from their audio adaptation of A Christmas Carol in the Dark.


Dear Evan Hansen, Broadway In Chicago

Performers from the cast of Dear Evan Hansen perform songs from the hit Broadway musical.


Cabaret ZaZou Presents Luminaire

Cabaret ZaZou presents vocalists James Harkness and Live Warfield for this special holiday presentation.

Holiday Favorites, Improv Playhouse

The Improv Playhouse Traveling Troupe presents Holiday Favorites, including "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," "Feliz Navidad," "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas," "We Need A Little Christmas," "Hannukah, O Hannukah," and "I Have a Little Driedel” plus two Disney Songs: "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes" and "When You Wish Upon a Star".

 Christkindlmarket Chicago, Daley Plaza

Saturday, December 3, 2022

REVIEW: The Sparkle Light Festival at Impact Field in Rosemont Now Open Through January 1, 2023

ChiIL Mama’s ChiIL Picks List

Photo Credit for all: Kimberly Robb Baker 

Tickets On Sale Now for Chicago’s Premier Holiday Festival Featuring
Five Illuminated Villages, Winter Tubing Slide, Train Rides and
Mazes Alongside Festive Food & Drink Options

New Attractions This Year Include “Rudolph’s Kids Zone” and “Deck The Walls” Maze  

Guest Review 

By Kimberly Robb Baker

If you’re looking to make lasting memories this holiday season, grab some tickets to the Sparkle Light Festival at Impact Field in Rosemont. It’s truly a taste of the North Pole right here in Chicagoland.

Our party of four ranged in age from 7 to 47, and a magical time was had by all. Of course, the stars of the show are the millions of lights that make up the many holiday scenes. This experience is perfect for family photos you’ll treasure forever with sparkling features including horse-drawn carriages, a giant Christmas tree, ornaments you can explore from the inside, a gorgeous tunnel of lights and many, many more. The light decorations cover most of the field with plenty of open space for kids of all ages to explore.

The two-story ice slide was also a favorite of our group. We were delighted to get endless rounds of sledding in—especially since our all-inclusive tickets covered hot drinks and a very tasty buffet at Rivers Stadium Club onsite, looking out across the lights. The kids loved the mac-n-cheese, hotdogs, bottomless hot chocolate and tasty desserts. After warming up and refueling, we returned to the field for more sledding and a few rides on the Holly Trolly train.

Adding greatly to our experience was the absolutely fantastic staff. From ticket takers to ride operators to the catering team, every interaction was full of warmth. My twelve-year-old said the staff reminded her of “those friendly neighbors in old Christmas movies.”

The kids went to bed with full bellies and happily exhausted. We’ll definitely be back again!

This holiday season, Rosemont’s Impact Field (9850 Balmoral Ave.) will shine a little brighter with the debut of Sparkle Light Festival. Visitors can enjoy a breathtaking immersive display of millions of holiday lights amongst outdoor holiday activities including train rides, winter tubing and themed mazes. Tickets are now available at www.sparklerosemont.com.  

While visiting Sparkle Light Festival, guests are invited to explore five illuminated villages: the Frozen Forest, Snowflake Circle, Winter Wonderland, the North Pole and Deck the Walls, an all-ages maze of lights. Families can also visit “Rudolph’s Kids Zone” and enjoy a children’s maze, see-saws and other interactive activities. Additional attractions include winter tubing on the “Alpine Slide” and free train rides on the “Holly Trolly.” A special menu of festive food and beverage options will also be available.  

“This season, we’ve reimagined our holiday light experience at Impact Field to create the ultimate destination for holiday magic,” said Rosemont Mayor Brad Stephens. “We are thrilled to partner with the Chicago Dogs to bring what is sure to be the area’s premier light festival to Rosemont.”   

Sparkle Light Festival will be open through January 1, 2023. General admission tickets will be available for $25 for adults and $20 for children ages two through 12. 

Premium ticket packages and add-on experiences are also available and include:

Tubing rides on the "Alpine Slide" ($22 per person): allows unlimited rides on the Alpine Slide during designated timeframe. 

Rivers Stadium Club Tickets ($70 per person): this all-inclusive ticket allows access to Impact Field's "Rivers Stadium Club" complete with a premium buffet, house beer and wine, non-alcoholic beverages and unlimited tubing.

Parking is available at Impact Field’s onsite parking garage for $5 per vehicle. 


About Impact Field 

Impact Field is a 6,300-seat stadium located in Rosemont at the intersection of Balmoral Avenue and Pearl Street, west of I-294, at 9850 Balmoral Avenue. The ballpark serves as the home of the American Association of Professional Baseball team, the Chicago Dogs. Sponsored by Impact Networking, Impact Field offers a variety of different spaces and experiences for visitors including a private club, suites, field-level experience and more.  


About The Village of Rosemont 

Rosemont, Illinois, Chicagoland’s business and entertainment suburb, is conveniently

located five minutes from O’Hare Airport and twenty minutes from Chicago’s downtown. Easily accessible via the area’s major highways, Rosemont is home to the Allstate Arena, Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, a wide variety of hotel and dining options, Rosemont Theatre, Fashion Outlets of Chicago, Parkway Bank Park entertainment district and Impact Field. Rosemont continues to grow and evolve based on the new vision of Mayor Bradley A. Stephens. For more information, visit Rosemont.com. 

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Hot Holiday Themed Shows in Chicago 2022

How can it be December already?! If you're looking for some fun ways to entertain family and friends or clutter-busting, experiential gift ideas, check out Chicago's theatre scene. After years of pandemic induced theatre closures, the lights are back on and audiences and actors alike appreciate live theatre more than ever. Here at ChiIL Mama, we catch hundreds of shows a year and these are a few of our holiday favs. 

Chronological Order:

Elf the Musical, Drury Lane Theatre, November 9, 2022 – January 8, 2023

It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago!, American Blues Theater, November/December 2022

What the Elf?, The Second City, November 17-January 1

The Best of The Second City Holidays, November 21-December 31

A Christmas Carol, Drury Lane Theatre for Young Audiences, November 25 - December 30, 2022

Georgiana and Kitty: Christmas at Pemberley, Northlight Theatre, November 25 – December 24, 2022

The Second City’s Holiday Improv Bruch, The Second City, Sundays November 27, 2022-January 1, 2023 

Manual Cinema’s Christmas Carol, Writers Theatre, November 29-December 24, 2022

Jackie Taylor’s Joy to the World: A Holiday Celebration, Black Ensemble Theater, December 10, 11, 17 and 18, 2022

Cirque Dreams Holidaze, Auditorium Theatre, December 22-24, 2022


It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago!

From Frank Capra’s film

Directed by Artistic Director Gwendolyn Whiteside

Music Direction by Ensemble Member Michael Mahler

November/December 29 at Location TBD

(773) 654-3103; www.americanbluestheater.com

 Recommended for all ages

George Bailey, the Everyman from small town Bedford Falls whose dreams of escape and adventure were stopped by family obligation and civic duty, has fallen onto desperate times. Only a miracle can save him from despair. Filled with original music and classic holiday carols, this critically acclaimed, warm “holiday favorite makes the bell ring every time.” (Chicago Tribune) For 21 years, American Blues has treated audiences to a live retelling of the Frank Capra classic in a 1940s radio broadcast tradition, making It's a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! the second longest-running holiday play in Chicago!



4450 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60640

(773) 769-4451


 Recommended for all ages

Jackie Taylor’s Joy to the World: A Holiday Celebration

December 10, 11, 17 and 18, 2022

Tickets: $55 ($50 for seniors; ½ price for children under 18).  

An uplifting, inspirational and fun musical tribute to the holiday, written and directed by Jackie Taylor, featuring Robin DaSilva, Rhonda Preston, Vincent Jordan, Jim Wynton, Dwight Neal, Colleen Perry and a live band.



Auditorium Theater

50 E Ida B. Wells Dr in Chicago

(312) 341-2342; auditoriumtheatre.org

Tickets start at $45


Cirque Dreams Holidaze

December 22-24

Thursday, December 22 at 7:30pm; Friday, December 23 at 11am, 3pm and 7:30pm; Saturday, December 24 at 11am and 3pm.

 Recommended for all ages

Cirque Dreams Holidaze lights up the stage in this popular and dazzling family holiday spectacular. This annual tradition wraps a whimsical, Broadway-style musical infused with contemporary circus artistry into the ultimate holiday gift for the entire family! This critically acclaimed extravaganza is sure to dazzle any audience as Broadway World proclaims it, “The Perfect Holiday Gift… a show that everyone will enjoy.” Audiences of all ages will marvel at soaring acrobatics, gravity defying feats and extravagant theatrical production numbers the Boston Globe hails as “Entrancing… Las Vegas meets family entertainment.”



Drury Lane Theatre

100 Drury Lane

Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181

(630) 530-8300; http://drurylanetheatre.com

A full schedule of holiday events, including Afternoon Tea and Brunch/Dinner with Santa at Drury Lane’s Lucille Restaurant, is available here: https://lucillerestaurant.com/holiday-events/

 Recommended for all ages

Elf the Musical

Book by Thomas Meehan and Bob Martin

Music by Matthew Sklar

Lyrics by Chad Beguelin

Based upon the New Line Cinema film written by David Berenbaum

November 9, 2022 – January 8, 2023

Schedule: Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m., Thursdays at 1:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Tickets:  Single Tickets: $69 – $84*


After discovering he is really a human raised as an elf, Buddy makes the journey from the North Pole to New York City to find his birth father, sharing the true meaning of Christmas along the way. Elf the Musical brings heart, hilarity, and holiday joy—after all, “the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!” Based on the hit Christmas film, the musical adaptation was nominated for one Drama League Award.


Drury Lane Theatre for Young Audiences presents  


By Charles Dickens 

November 25 - December 30, 2022

Performances: Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10:00am; Fridays and Saturdays at 10:00am and 12:00pm      

Tickets: Start at $26

Set in Victorian-era London, Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol tells the classic tale of Ebenezer Scrooge and the ghosts that visit him one fateful Christmas Eve, hoping to change his miserly ways. Continue your tradition or start a new one by gathering the whole family for Drury Lane Theatre's heartwarming production. Complete with falling snow, magical illusions and special effects, the play is a visually-stunning experience, and at one hour long, perfect for children of all ages. On select performance dates, families will have the opportunity to have breakfast or dinner with Santa Claus in Drury Lane's elegantly decorated dining room.


9501 Skokie Blvd in Skokie, IL 60077

(847) 673-6300


Previews: $30-$61; Regular run: $30-$89

Student tickets are $15, any performance (subject to availability)


Georgiana and Kitty: Christmas at Pemberley

By Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon

Directed by Marti Lyons

Rolling World Premiere

November 25 – December 24, 2022

Recommended for adults

The beloved characters from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice return for a third and final installment of the Pemberley trilogy (Miss Bennet, The Wickhams). The youngest Darcy and Bennet sisters have become fast friends, and eagerly await the arrival of Georgiana’s secret correspondent. Mixups of manners and an overprotective Mr. Darcy keep romance from unfolding easily. But music, ambition, friendship, and sisterhood lead to happiness—and a love story that spans a lifetime.




230 W North Ave, Chicago



Recommended for adults


What the Elf?

Running November 17 – January 1 

Thursdays-Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 7pm.

Tickets start at $29

It’s just not the holidays without hot cocoa…and hot takes! Make merry at The Second City with this original sketch, variety, and improv celebration of the season. After all, what better time to look back and laugh at 2022? Let’s toast to the best…and roast all the rest.


The Best of The Second City Holidays

Running November 21 – December 31

Mondays at 8pm & Saturdays at 3pm.

Tickets start at $29


We guarantee yule laugh a whole latke as The Second City unwraps the most wonderful time of the year in our nut-cracking-est, jingle-bell-ing-est revue ever! Celebrate over sixty years of sketches, songs, and comedic conviviality as the next generation of comedy superstars perform our greatest holiday hits. Plus, The Second City’s famous improvisation means every show is like a snowflake: no two are alike--or are impervious to climate change.


The Second City’s Holiday Improv Brunch

Running November 27 – January 1 

Sundays at noon

Tickets are $35 (menu items sold separately)

From uproarious laughter to limitless libations, The Second City’s Holiday Improv Brunch is the gift that keeps on giving! Bring your band of merrymakers as we scramble together two of everyone’s favorites, comedy and brunch, for a scrumptiously seasonal breakfast with a totally improvised experience from the city’s finest. Whether you side on the Naughty or the Nice List, come enjoy mimosas...we don’t judge.


Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre

325 Tudor Court, Glencoe



Manual Cinema’s Christmas Carol

Presented LIVE on stage for the first time

November 29-December 24, 2022

Tickets: $35-$90

 Manual Cinema’s Christmas Carol is recommended for patrons ages 12+

Told through puppetry and music, this striking holiday experience comes to brilliant life on stage for the first time!

An avowed holiday skeptic, Aunt Trudy has been recruited to channel her late husband Joe’s famous Christmas cheer over a Zoom call with family. But as Trudy becomes more absorbed in her own version of the Ebeneezer Scrooge story, the puppets take on a life of their own, and the family’s call transforms into a stunning cinematic adaptation of Dickens’s classic ghost story.

After the stunning success of its online Christmas Carol, Manual Cinema uses its groundbreaking creativity and powerful storytelling to elevate one of the most famous holiday stories ever told to new heights in this unique theatrical experience. Featuring the combined talents of actors, puppeteers and musicians, come experience a new holiday tradition unlike anything else you’ve seen before. 

The cast included Lizi Breit (Puppeteer), Sarah Fornace (Puppeteer), Ben Kauffman (Guitar, Piano, Lead Vocals), N. LaQuis Harkin (Aunt Trudy, Puppeteer), Julia Miller (Puppeteer), and Kyle Vegter (Cello, Keys, Vocals).

The creative team includes Drew Dir (Storyboards), Ben Kauffman and Kyle Vegter (Original Music and Sound Design), Drew Dir with Lizi Breit (Puppet Design), Sarah Fornace and Julia Miller (Puppet Build Assistants), Julia Miller and Kyle Vegter (Set Design), Julia Miller (Costume Design), Mike Usrey (Technical Director and Sound Engineer), Shelby Sparkles (Stage Manager), and Ben Kauffman (Streaming and UX).


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Evening’s honorees include CYSO alum, visionary artist/musician

Laurie Anderson 

who will also perform with CYSO’s Symphony Orchestra

Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras (CYSO) hosts its 2023 gala “Women in Music” at The Geraghty, 2520 S. Hoyne Avenue, Saturday, Feb. 25 beginning at 6 p.m. This is CYSO’s largest fundraising event of the year. Attendees will enjoy cocktails, gourmet dinner provided by Boka Catering, live auction, and performances from more than 100 of CYSO’s talented young musicians, including orchestra, steelpan, and jazz ensembles. Proceeds from the evening directly support CYSO’s award-winning music education programs for dedicated young musicians from across the Chicago region.

This evening of glamour and music will highlight the achievements of the many pioneering women who continue to pave the way for the future of music. The event will feature three inspiring honorees including groundbreaking artist/musician and CYSO alum, Laurie Anderson, who will also join the organization’s flagship Symphony Orchestra for a live performance of one of Anderson’s pieces; CEO of Mesirow Natalie A. Brown; and CYSO Director of String Ensembles Daniella Valdez. Event chairs are Laura Mandel & Richard Blessen and Pamella Der & Wei Shih. WGN anchor and investigative reporter Lourdes Duarte will once again emcee the event.

Individual tickets to the gala are $450 per person. Standard and VIP tables are available. Cocktail attire, black tie optional. Valet parking available. Rideshare options also recommended.  For more information visit cyso.org/gala or contact Marc Bitler by email at mbitler@cyso.org or by phone at 312.939.2207, ext. 200.

Sponsors for CYSO’s “Women in Music” Gala: Premium Level - Sheppard Mullin; Gold Level - Jenner & Block and The Bricker Vinik Family and Cynthia Van Osdol & John Sandwick; and Silver Level – Conagra Brands, Mesirow, Pritzker Traubert Foundation and Stephen & Terry Schwartz.

About Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras

Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras’ mission is to inspire and cultivate personal excellence through music. After more than 75 years of music-making, CYSO continues to shape generations of young leaders and musicians. Students collaborate and create in a learning environment like no other, developing fundamental skills including leadership, teamwork, and resilience. We are committed to educating, encouraging, and empowering each young musician so that they may pursue personal excellence both on and off stage.

CYSO works with young musicians ages 6-18 in on-site and school-based ensembles, and offers community programming reaching audiences of all ages across the Chicago region. Our programs include symphony orchestras, string orchestras, steelpan, jazz band, chamber music, and music composition. We invest in our community through CYSO@CPS school-based ensembles and free concerts that reach more than 10,000 young people annually. 

CYSO promotes and provides ensemble-focused programming because we believe in the power of community. A young musician’s time at CYSO is a pathway of opportunity and growth, but they do not walk it alone. By bringing together young people from across the region, CYSO students build bonds with those who come from different backgrounds and share a passion for music. They develop the skills necessary to thrive as an ensemble. Whether or not a student continues musical studies after their time in CYSO, young people leave with increased self-confidence and a deep appreciation for music and the arts.

Major support for CYSO's 2022-2023 season is provided by: the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, Ross Bricker and Nina Vinik, Dr. Louanne Carabini and Shawn O'Leary, Pam and Dave Conroy, J. Lawrence and Susan Costin, Crown Family Philanthropies, the Julius N. Frankel Foundation, Kelly and Dennis Howe, the Illinois Arts Council Agency, The MacArthur Fund for Culture, Equity, and the Arts at Prince, Jim and Ginger Meyer, Ms. Jennifer Myerberg and The Alvin and Louise Myerberg Family Foundation, Inc., the Negaunee Foundation, Angela and Dana O’Banion, Bonita and Delano O’Banion, John and Joyce Schladweiler, Mr. and Mrs. Stephen L. and Terry Schwartz, Brittany Viola and Justin Bernbrock, and the Zell Family Foundation.

Honoree Biographies


Artist, composer, director and 1965 CYSO alum

A native of Glen Ellyn, Laurie Anderson’s five-decade career spans the worlds of art, theater, experimental music, and technology, with live shows ranging from simple spoken word to elaborate multi-media stage performances. Her recording career was launched by the hit ‘O Superman’ in 1981 and she was appointed the first artist-in-residence of NASA. Earlier this year, Anderson opened her largest solo exhibition at The Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum titled "The Weather."


CEO of Mesirow

Natalie A. Brown is Chief Executive Officer of Mesirow, just the 6th CEO in the company’s 85-year history and the first woman to serve in the role. She is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago and the Executives’ Club of Chicago and sits on the boards of multiple youth education nonprofit organizations.


CYSO Director of String Ensembles

Daniella Valdez has led CYSO’s string orchestra programs for the past 17 years. She oversees three on-site ensembles, engaging with hundreds of string players each season. Valdez is an active clinician working with fellow music educators, including playing an important role as mentor to members of CYSO’s artistic staff.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Top Chicago Holiday Theatre Offerings And Half Price Tickets For 2022

ChiIL Mama’s ChiIL Picks List 



League of Chicago Theatres’ annual Holiday Guide highlights seasonal productions

Here at ChiIL Mama and ChiIL Live Shows, we're huge fans of experiential gifts. Theatre tickets are a great, clutter busting way to make lasting memories. As always, check in with Hot Tixs for half price deals on shows all year long. Remember, too, to check in with my two sites, ChiILLiveShows.com (adult) and ChiILMama.com (family friendly) for original reviews, interviews, entertainment news, ticket giveaways and more, for Chi, IL and beyond.  

Chicago theatres will present a wide variety of festive plays, musicals, dance, and comedy offerings this Holiday season. In support, the League of Chicago Theatres will create a comprehensive Holiday Theatre Guide that will be available for distribution in mid-November. The online Holiday Guide is available at https://chicagoplays.com/chicago-theatre-guide/.

An updated list of holiday shows with additional details about each production will be available throughout the season at www.chicagoplays.com. Additionally, many holiday shows will be available at Hot Tix (HotTix.org), Chicago’s local, half-price ticketing service.


The following is a selection of Holiday-themed work playing in Chicago this season:

Several theatres present the holiday favorite, A Christmas Carol. Goodman Theatre’s must-see annual production has enchanted audiences for more than four decades, runs through December 31. Metropolis Performing Arts Centre presents an adaptation filled with warmth, humor, music, and holiday cheer, December 1 – 24. Complete with falling snow and magical illusions, Drury Lane Theatre for Young Audiences brings a visually stunning one-hour experience for children of all ages, November 25 -December 30. Told through puppetry and music, the striking holiday experience of Manual Cinema’s Christmas Carol comes to brilliant life on stage for the first time at Writers Theatre, November 29 – December 24. A Theater in the Dark presents A Christmas Carol in the Dark, a streaming audio drama perfect for those who love the spookier elements of Dickens’ story, through January 1.

Family-favorite holiday movies come to life in the suburbs with Elf The Musical at Drury Lane Theatre through January 8, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas from Music Theater Works at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, December 15 - January 1, and two productions of A Christmas Story, the Musical – Jedlicka Performing Arts Center, November 25 – December 10, and Marriot Theatre in Lincolnshire through January 1.

For over 20 years, American Blues Theater has treated audiences to a live retelling of the Frank Capra classic in a 1940s radio broadcast tradition, making It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago!, the second longest-running holiday play in Chicago. Running November 23 – December 23 at the Chopin Theatre. Oil Lamp Theater will perform its version of It’s a Wonderful Life: Live Radio Play on stage November 25 – December 30.

Journey to Chicago’s 1893 World’s Fair with The Joffrey Ballet’s reimagined The Nutcracker at Lyric Opera House, December 3 – 27, while Ballet Chicago will perform its production of The Nutcracker at the Athenaeum Theatre, December 9 – 18.

The beloved characters from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice return for the third and final installment of the Pemberley trilogy, Georgiana & Kitty: Christmas at Pemberley, at Northlight Theatre, November 25 – December 24.

Holiday spectacle comes to Downtown with A Magical Cirque Christmas, featuring an evening of dazzling performers and breathtaking cirque artists, accompanied by live holiday music at Broadway In Chicago at the CIBC Theatre, December 6 – 11. Then Cirque Dreams Holidaze wraps a whimsical, Broadway-style musical infused with contemporary circus artistry into the ultimate holiday gift for the entire family, December 22 – 24 at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. The Steadfast Tin Soldier, based on Hans Christian Andersen’s story about a little tin soldier who never gives up, brings gorgeous spectacle of music and movement to Lookingglass Theatre, through January 8. 

Four Beatrix Potter favorites come to life in The Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party, a mesmerizing, interactive trunk and puppet show at Chicago Children’s Theatre, through December 24.

In this adaptation of the Caldecott Honor-winning book, Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins, a traveling troupe of actors comes to town to find no one celebrating Hanukkah. Will they bring back the spirit of Hanukkah to the town? Will Hershel of Ostropol outsmart the goblins who haunt the old synagogue? Presented by Strawdog Theatre Company at The Edge Off-Broadway, December 11 – January 1.

Watch as the improvisers at ComedySportz sing and dance their way through a made up Hallmark-channel style spectacle that YOU help create in Trapped in a Holiday Musical!, through December 17.

Enjoy some adult comedy this holiday season when Cindy Lou Who, now 40, retells the story of the sordid events after she met the Grinch in the adults-only romp Who's Holiday! Presented at Theater Wit, November 25 – December 30. Then it is guaranteed yule laugh a whole latke as The Second City unwraps the most wonderful time of the year in their nut-cracking-est, jingle-bell-ing-est revue ever, Best of the Holidays, November 21 – December 31, and What The Elf?, the original sketch, variety, and improv celebration of the season, through January 1. At UP Comedy Club.

Holiday concert offerings include Merry, Merry Chicago!, a program of traditional carols and festive holiday songs performed by Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus at Orchestra Hall, December 16 – 23; enjoy one of Chicago’s greatest holiday traditions with the Apollo Chorus of Chicago’s thrilling rendition of Händel’s Messiah at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, December 10 – 11, while Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah brings a totally reinvented rendition to the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, December 3 – 4. Plus, Black Ensemble’s Christmas Cabaret is a musical celebration with Black Ensemble Theater performers and a live band, December 10 – 18.

Popular performers will also present Holiday concerts, including Merry Christmas Darling starring Chicago’s favorite leading lady Heidi Kettenring performing the timeless treasures and holiday hits of Karen Carpenter, November 25 – 27 at the Venus Cabaret at Mercury Theater Chicago. Acclaimed singer, storyteller, and multi-instrumentalist John-Mark McGaha shares Stevie’s musical messages of joy, love, and peace on Earth with Someday at Christmas at the Marriott Theatre, December 12 – 13. Emmy-nominee Angela Ingersoll captures the voices of a dozen divas in a hilarious and heart-warming holiday romp The 12 Dames of Christmas, at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, December 13.

The holidays take an unexpected turn for everyone’s favorite Golden Girls when they find out that the infamous Shady Pines Retirement Community is on the verge of closing, leaving most of Sophia’s friends homeless for the holidays. Can the girls step in and save the day in time for Christmas? The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes, The Obligatory Holiday Special is presented by Hell in a Handbag Productions at Center on Halsted Hoover-Leppen Theatre, November 26 – December 30.

Some notable non-holiday offerings this season include:

Celebrated director Henry Godinez sets Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure in the turbulence of 1959 Cuba, during the pivotal moments before Fidel Castro seizes power, running at Chicago Shakespeare Theater through November 27.

Porchlight Music Theatre presents RENT, the Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical that has become a cultural phenomenon, through November 27 at the Ruth Page Theater.

The world premiere of Vichet Chum’s Bald Sisters at Steppenwolf Theatre, December 1 – January 15.

Court Theatre’s production of The Island, a sobering glimpse into the social, physical, and psychological wounds of Apartheid, through December 4.

A Mile in the Dark is about the people we think we know but don’t and the hard truth sitting in plain sight. Presented by Rivendell Theatre Ensemble and Interrobang Theatre Project through December 11.

About Face Theatre in partnership with Silk Road Rising presents Mosque4Mosque, a family comedy about a queer Arab-American Muslim man navigating his first real relationship, playing at The Den Theatre through December 17.

TimeLine Theatre Company presents Trouble in Mind, a cutting yet humorous behind-the-curtain drama that examines pervasive racial dynamics within the American theatre and the tolls of superficial representation on stage, through December 18.

For a comprehensive list of Chicago productions, visit the League of Chicago Theatres website, www.chicagoplays.com. Available half-price tickets will be listed at HotTix.org.

Chicago theatres prioritize safely gathering. Patrons are encouraged to confirm current protocols at each theatre. Shows and protocols are subject to change.

About Chicago theatre 

Chicago theatre is the leader in the U.S. with more than 250 theatres throughout Chicagoland, comprising a rich and varied community ranging from storefront, non-union theatres to the most renowned resident theatres in the country, including 6 which have been honored with Regional Tony Awards, and the largest touring Broadway organization in the nation. Chicago’s theatres serve 5 million audience members annually and have a combined budget of more than $250 million. Chicago produces and/or presents more world premieres annually than any other city in the nation. Each year Chicago theatres send new work to resident theatres across the country, to Broadway, and around the world. For more information, visit www.chicagoplays.com.

The League of Chicago Theatres’ Mission Statement

Theatre is essential to the life of a great city and to its citizens. The League of Chicago Theatres is an alliance of theatres, which leverages its collective strength to support, promote and advocate for Chicago’s theatre industry. Through our work, we ensure that theatre continues to thrive in our city.