Scrooge, Rudolph, and all your Christmas favorites
The holidays crept up quickly this year thanks to an impressive stretch of unseasonably warm temperatures. Believe it or not, Thanksgiving is only a week away with Christmas soon to follow. If you’re looking for holiday performances to help get you into the “spirit,” here are a few ideas, including a heavy dose of Nutcracker variations.
1. The Theatrical, Ballet-Free Nutcracker
The modern, ballet-free theatrical version of The Nutcracker, put on by The House Theatre of Chicago, is playing at The Chopin Theatre now through December 30. The plot of this version differs from the original Nutcracker, telling a story of young Clara fighting to save Christmas in the wake of her brother Fritz’ death. The production is a play/musical combination incorporating puppetry to tell the dark but heartwarming tale. See the House Theatre of Chicago’s website for more details.
2. Ballet Chicago’s The Nutcracker
Ballet Chicago’s Nutcracker, playing at The Athenaeum Theatre, presents a more traditional retelling of the story. In this version, young Marie travels on Christmas Eve to The Kingdom of Snow and The Land of Sweets.
Most Nutcracker buffs might be surprised to know that in the novella The Nutcracker and the Mouse King by E.T.A. Hoffmann, (the story on which The Nutcracker Ballet is based), the young girl is actually named Maria and her doll, Clara. The theater will host only five performances from December 10 through December 18. More detailed information can be found at Ballet Chicago.
3. World Premiere of The Joffrey Ballet’s The Nutcracker
This year, The Joffrey Ballet will unveil their long-anticipated version of choreographer Christopher Wheeldon’s The Nutcracker. This variation is the first and only ever to take place at the scene of The World’s Fair of 1893. The story, presented from the eyes of an impoverished, immigrant child, will be the first ever “unique-to-Chicago” retelling of the classic Christmas tale.
Joffrey will host 27 performances at the Auditorium Theatre beginning on December 10 through December 30.
4. Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol
The Goodman Theatre presents a theatrical performance of A Christmas Carol that runs from November 20 through December 4. No Christmas is complete without a retelling of Ebenezer Scrooge’s Christmas haunting and the magical lesson, or the real meaning of Christmas, he learns as a result. There will only be eight showings so make sure to get tickets soon if you plan to attend. More information can be found at The Goodman Theatre website.
5. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical
For only four days next week, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical will be playing at The Chicago Theatre. The musical, based on the 1964 stop-motion animated Christmas classic, will make a quick stop in Chicago on its nationwide tour November 17 – November 20. Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius and, of course, Rudolph come together in a holiday performance teaching that differences can be positive. More details can be found at The Chicago Theatre website.