Few things are nicer at the holidays than wrapping yourself up in the classics and reconnecting with a time gone by. Here are three shows so full of that gingerbread feeling you’ll swear you hear jingle bells by bedtime.
Irving Berlin’s ‘White Christmas’
Feeling nostalgic for Christmases of yore? The tale of two showbiz Army buddies who team up with two sisters to save an inn is the epitome of the “hey gang, let’s put on a show” genre. Irving Berlin’s White Christmas will provide a much-needed Americana fix. Show tunes abound and will have “Sisters” and “Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep)”–not to mention the title song–in your head all month.
Seeing the glamorously staged production-within-a-production at the beautiful Cadillac Palace adds an even lovelier layer to a holiday gift of a show, but just like a fluffy snowflake, this limited two-week engagement won’t last nearly as long as you’d hope.
If you go
Through Dec. 3
Cadillac Palace Theatre
151 W. Randolph
Although the famed Joffrey Ballet staging was updated last year (and to massive acclaim, at that), the traditional story arc of the classic ballet remains as pivotal to Christmas Eve as visions of sugar plums. Like a little Chicago history with your fine arts? Instead of a glitzy party, the action in this version revolves around the preparations for Chicago’s 1893 World’s Fair and the children lucky enough to watch it come to life in real time.
But fear not, Tchaikovsky purists: the Sugar Plum Fairy is every bit as swoon-worthy as you’d hope, Godfather Drosselmeyer is as magical as ever (and, in fact, a performing magician in this incarnation), and Marie remains the spunky heroine who’s inspired countless tiny ballerinas for generations.
If you go
Through Dec. 30
Auditorium Theater, 50 E. Congress Parkway
It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago!
Quick, off the top of your head: name the holiday movies that, without fail, give everyone feelings upon feelings while firmly remaining an utter family favorite. (If you didn’t list Frank Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life, I have a few follow-up questions at a later time.) Now in its 16th season, American Blues’ live radio staging of the iconic film is every bit as marvelous as the original, with a stellar cast and Foley sound effects that’ll make you absolutely certain you’re in Bedford Falls during an evening of pure magic. Kids in attendance will receive special keepsakes on Dec. 16 (Hanukkah) and Dec. 24 (when Santa visits).
And, feel-good as it may be, does the movie version provide milk and cookies post-show the way that the radio broadcast does for each and every performance? We didn’t think so.
If you go
Through Jan. 6
1225 W. Belmont Ave.