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;

 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;

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;

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

 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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