So you’re not quite ready to carve the turkey with Ebenezer Scrooge or pirouette with some sugar plum fairies? Don’t worry—November is overflowing with great family entertainment that’s a bit more fun than fa-la-la-la-la.
Jack and Annie, those heroes of the Magic Tree House books, help audiences travel back in time to 1915 New Orleans—no time machine required. In Magic Tree House: A Night in New Orleans, you’ll meet a teenage Louis Armstrong, who needs a little help on his way to becoming the King of Jazz. Forget Thanksgiving—start counting down the days to Mardi Gras.
Recommended for families with kids 5-10. $15 and up. Check website for schedule. Emerald City Theatre Company, Apollo Theater, 2540 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. (773) 935-6100.
What do kids have in common with a china rabbit? Find out at The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, Chicago Children’s Theatre’s adaptation of Kate DiCamillo’s award-winning book. Edward gets lost at sea, then bounces from person to person until he discovers the power of love. Not a bad message to remember as the holidays approach! Recommended for families with kids 7 and up. $28 and up. Tuesdays-Sundays through Nov. 15. Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn, Chicago. (872) 222-9555.
It’s not easy being new. That’s the lesson that Nick learns in Adventure Stage Chicago’s production of New Kid, which follows Nick and his family as they move to America, learn a new language and get acquainted with something that transcends all cultures: bullying. Hopefully it will encourage your kids to roll out the welcome mat the next time they run into someone new. Recommended for families with kids 8 and up. $10-$17. 4 p.m. Saturdays through Nov. 21; 7 p.m. Nov. 20. Vittum Theater, 1012 N. Noble St., Chicago. (773) 342-4141.
Hope is a powerful thing, especially when you’re facing new challenges in a new place. Esperanza Rising follows a young girl who loves dresses, parties and all things pretty, but finds a much more difficult life when she’s forced to flee to the U.S. and start over with her family. Recommended for families with kids 8 and up. $10. 10 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and Nov. 6; 2 p.m. Saturdays and Nov. 1. Chicago Playworks at DePaul University, Merle Reskin Theatre at DePaul University, 60 E. Balbo Drive, Chicago. (312) 922-1999.
Long before he started selling fast-food fish sticks, Long John Silver was the famous pirate who led a band of rogues (and young Jim Hawkins) in Robert Louis Stevenson’s iconic Treasure Island. See the classic adventure come to life at Chicago’s storied Lookingglass Theater, and remember: X marks the spot. Recommended for families with kids 10 and up. $35 and up. Check website for schedule. Lookingglass Theatre in the Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago. (312) 337-0665.