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It’s Holiday Time 2014 – So Many Things to Do

By Chicago Splash Magazine Staff Writer

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The holiday season is here, and there is no shortage of terrific holiday productions.

 

Classic Chicago favorites include:

 

The Goodman Theatre brings back the beloved Chicago tradition A CHRISTMAS CAROL, Charles Dickens’ classic tale of hope and redemption. November 15 - December 28, 2014.

 

Capra’s holiday staple gets the 1940’s radio treatment with IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE: Live in chicago! presented by American Blues Theater at the Greenhouse Theater Center, November 21 – December 28, 2014.

 

The House Theatre presents its fantastical, fast-paced, and family-friendly version of THE NUTCRACKER at the Chopin Theatre, weaving dance, text, and songs to tell a story of magic and mystery, November 6 – December 28, 2014.

 

The Joffrey Ballet’s grand production of THE NUTCRACKER returns to the Auditorium Theatre, December 5 – 28, 2014.

 

Holiday-themed musicals include:

 

Broadway in Chicago premieres DEE SNIDER’S ROCK & ROLL CHRISTMAS TALE. Dee Snider, infamous lead singer of Twisted Sister, has created and stars in a VERY funny, VERY rocking and (sshhh!) VERY sweet new holiday musical, guaranteed to rock your holiday at the Broadway Playhouse! November 4 – January 4, 2015.

 

The classic Chicago musical THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER sets sail again at The Mercury Theater featuring a powerful, moving story, an exquisite score of original music and traditional holiday favorites, and a company of 25 actors and musicians. November 26 – December 28, 2014.

 

 

Holiday comedies include:

 

The Second City and Goodman present TWIST YOUR DICKENS. Scrooge, Tiny Tim, three ridiculous ghosts and a cast of The Second City’s funniest members take the Goodman by storm, as wicked parody, daring improve and a host of guest celebs run rampant. December 5 – 28, 2014.

 

David Sedaris’ classic comedy SANTALAND DIARIES returns to Theater Wit November 21 – December 28, 2014.

 

Nuns4Fun’s interactive bingo show. CHRISTMAS BINGO: IT’S A HO-HO-HOLY NIGHT runs at the Royal George Theatre Center November 28 – January 4, 2015.

 

 

Other notable works include:

 

Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents A Q BROTHERS’ CHRISTMAS CAROL, a hip-hop holiday treat set to a bangin’ beat. November 19 – December 31, 2014.

 

About Face Theatre presents BIG RED AND THE BOYS, a non-traditional, boozy night of songs, stories and spirits December 12 – 20, 2014.

 

Chicago a cappella presents HOLIDAYS A CAPPELLA. Enjoy this perfect mix of familiar holiday tunes, Renaissance Carols, Chanukah songs, Christmas spirituals and contemporary classics. December 5 – December 20, 2014

 

HELLCAB portrays the story of a cab driver in for the longest night of his life as he transports a bizarre and mysterious array of customers through the gritty streets of Chicago on Christmas Eve, at Profiles Theatre, November 7 – January 11, 2015.

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Charming Irish Men Performing Holiday Carols, Who Could Ask for More?

·         The international singing sensation Celtic Thunder is coming to the Chicago Theatre on Sunday, November 30 at 7:30pm. After the tragic passing of George Donaldson, the show’s newest member, New Yorker Emmett O’Hanlon, an Irish American baritone will join the group. The group performs with a full symphony orchestra and will perform songs from their new CD, Holiday Symphony. Celtic Thunder has consistently been one of the most popular entertainment programs on PBS, the group has sold over 2 million CDs, their music on YouTube has had over 28 million views, and they have 32,000 Twitter followers. For more information on the North American Symphony Tour, visit www.celticthunder.com/tour.

 

Scrooge comes for his annual visit at Drury Lane Theatre!

·         The annual holiday tradition, A CHRISTMAS CAROL, will be presented from November 18 through December 23, 2014 at Drury Lane Theatre, 100 Drury Lane. The timeless story is directed by Scott Calcagno (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Drury Lane Theatre, Legally Blonde at The Civic Theatre, Grease at The Long Lake Theatre, as well as the annual production of A Christmas Carol at Drury Lane Theatre). The hour-long Drury Lane production uses 14 of the most versatile Equity actors in Chicago to bring over 30 of the colorful Dickensian characters to life. Drury Lane Theatrealso offers families the special opportunity to have breakfast or dinner with Santa Claus on select performance dates in the dining room with a festive buffet-style menu complete with seasonal favorites. For reservations, call 630.530.0111 or visit www.ticketmaster.com or www.drurylane.com.

 

Enjoy the Tony Award-Winning Iconic Love Story, CAMELOT

·         Join King Arthur, Queen Guenevere, Sir Lancelot, and Merlyn in CAMELOT, the thrilling story of love and intrigue, chivalry and betrayal. Drury Lane Theatre’s production shines new light on this majestic musical that will feature new orchestrations by Matt Aument and a unique scenic approach that blends medieval fantasy with the opulence of the 12th Century court life. CAMELOT opens November 6 and runs through January 4, 2015. For reservations, call 630.530.0111 or visit www.ticketmaster.com or www.drurylane.com.

 

Not your typical holiday show..

·         Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont, puts a spin on the traditional holiday show with It's a Wonderful Santaland Miracle, Nut Cracking Christmas Story... Jews Welcome!. Directed by creative genius Brian Posen, the interactive show features original Christmas carols, dance numbers, spoken word, puppets and everything in between! Cookies and non-holiday-specific eggnog will be served. The perfect holiday show for the whole family,It's a Wonderful Santaland Miracle, Nut Cracking Christmas Story... Jews Welcome! runs from November 14 through December 28. Additionally, Stage 773 will serve as a drop-off site for the Greater Chicago Food Depository throughout the run of the production. For details and tickets, visit www.stage773.com.

 

Travel back in time to dazzling and exotic 19th Century Siam

·         The romantic and richly textured tale of East versus West, THE KING AND I, comes toThe Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire, from October 22 through January 4, 2015. Nick Bowling (Juno and The Normal Heart at Timeline Theatre) makes his Marriott Theatre directorial debut with a fresh take on this Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, merging history and romance with today’s social and political issues. THE KING AND I follows the tumultuous relationship of the strong-willed British GovernessAnna(Jeff Award-nominee Heidi Kettenring) and the larger than life King of Siam (Andrew Ramcharan Guilarte), as they try to find common ground between Siamese and British traditions. For tickets, call 847.634.0200 or visit www.MarriottTheatre.com

 

Take the kids to see the Wizard, the Wonderful Wizard of Oz!

·         Follow the yellow brick road to The Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences, 10 Marriott Drive in Lincolnshire, for the enchanting musical production of THE WIZARD OF OZ, running from November 7, 2014 through January 4, 2015. The Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences favorite Rachel Rockwell will direct and choreograph, with musical direction by Ryan T. Nelson.  Based on the classic 1939 MGM movie, this special one-hour presentation of THE WIZARD OF OZ features the classic songs "Follow the Yellow Brick Road," “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead," and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." A Question & Answer session with the cast will follow every performance.  For tickets, call 847.634.0200 or visit www.MarriottTheatre.com.

 

For a family-friendly Southern Christmas Tale

·         Theatre at the Center is pleased to present the regional debut of the musical adaptation of Truman Capote’s A CHRISTMAS MEMORY, November 13 through December 14, at 1040 Ridge Road, Munster.  Directed by William Pullinsi, A CHRISTMAS MEMORY is a labor of love for its Broadway veteran team, written by Duane Poole, with music by Larry Grossman and lyrics by Carol Hall. Based on Capote’s touching memoir of his own childhood, this wistful Southern Christmas tale is a tender portrait of a rare friendship across generations with a joyous score that will bring love and light to everyone’s hearts this holiday season. For tickets, visit TheatreAtTheCenter.com.

 

Take your family on a captivating journey into the human mind this December with Mind Over Munster

·         A perfect show for the entire family, Mind Over Munster is presented by Theatre at the Center, on Friday, December 19 at 8 pm, Saturday, December 20 at 4 and 8 pm, and Sunday, December 21 at 2:30 pm. The popular series of mesmerizing “Mind Games” created and performed by mentalist Marc Salem has been hailed as “A SUREFIRE ‘you-gottaseethis show’ SHOW” by Variety and, “Not to be missed” by ABC News. Salem uses his famous psychological techniques, quick wit, and a sharp eye to “break the lock” on the brain and raise fascinating questions on the human psyche. For more information or tickets, visit www.theatreatthecenter.com.

 

Because you’ve never heard a “Hallelujah” Chorus like this one

·         Hailed as “Spirited!” by the Chicago Tribune, the Apollo Chorus’s rendition of Handel’s “Messiah” has been performed nearly every December since 1879—a track record unmatched by other city choral organizations. Few works today are as renowned or as beloved as Handel’s Messiah, and this annual performance has become a family holiday tradition for many Chicago families. As John von Rhein from the Chicago Tribune once said, ““The oldest musical organization in Chicago has much to sing "hallelujah" about.” Soloists include Elisabeth Marshall, J'nai Bridges, Samuel Levine, and David Govertsen. Handel’s “Messiahwill be performed at the beautiful Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave., on December 6, 2014 at 3:00 p.m. and at Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph Dr., on December 20, 2014 at 3:00 p.m.

 

For a family-friendly excursion to the Dells and visit from the world’s most beloved nanny

·         The Palace Theater, 564 Wisconsin Dells Pkwy South, a new, 800-seat, regional dinner theater in Wisconsin Dells, will kick off its first season with Disney’s MARY POPPINS, directed and choreographed by Multi Jeff Award-winner Marc Robin (co-directed by Walter Buddy Reeder), opening November 24 and running through January 3, 2015. Nationally known stand-up comedian and actor, Tom Dreesen, long time guest of The Tonight Show, and The David Letterman Show will serve as the emcee at the opening night performance. For more information, visit www.dellspalace.com.

 

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Test your creativity and support a great cause at The All Chocolate Kitchen’s First Annual Gingerbread House Competition

·         Join family, friends and neighbors in true holiday spirit to benefit a great cause at the 1st Annual Gingerbread House Competition to benefit the Saving tiny Hearts Society on Saturday, December 6 at 6:30 pm at the All Chocolate Kitchen. Participants are challenged to use their creativity to create gingerbread houses constructed and composed entirely of edible materials and showcased on a base measuring no more than 12 inches by 8 inches with a maximum height of 20 inches. The evening will also mark the two-year anniversary of the World’s Longest Candy Cane, made by Chef Roby in 2012 and reaching 52 feet long! What has become a beloved tradition in Geneva, Chef Roby will create a 10-foot replica of the Guinness World Record-breaking candy cane to commemorate the anniversary. Chef will then break the candy cane into tiny pieces with a “magical” golden hammer for guests to enjoy. For more information, visit www.allchocolatekitchen.com or call 630.232.2395.

 

The ultimate holiday gift ideas and stocking stuffers from the All Chocolate Kitchen

·         As the world’s real life Willy Wonka, Chef Alain Roby of the All Chocolate Kitchen has done it all – from making longtime friend Jenny McCarthy’s 6-tier wedding cake to winning three Guinness World Records, Chef Roby has now launched his Exclusive Chocolate Aroma Line. Featuring 20 exotic flavors from his travels around the world, from Japan Green Tea to Bangkok Basil Coconut, each truffle has been individually hand-painted by Chef Roby himself. In addition to being tasty, beautiful and unique, the Exclusive Aroma Line is a healthy alternative to commercial products, as Chef Roby uses only the finest Grand Cru chocolate, which is 80% pure chocolate. ($2 to $27 before tax and may be purchased by the piece or in a variety of different sized boxes)

·         For the obsessive chocolate lover: Known for always setting the bar high, Chef Roby has created the ultimate chocolate creation, the Big Bar, made entirely of Grand Cru Milk Chocolate. The Big Bar is available in both dark and milk chocolate and is 9 inches of the world’s finest chocolate, making it the perfect stocking stuffer. ($15)

·         For the pastry chef in your life: After the major success of his first book, Alain Roby’s American Classics, Casual and Elegant Desserts”, Roby has released a second edition featuring some of the most popular recipes from the original and unveiling new ones. The perfect holiday gift, this mouth-watering book is sure to please even amateur chefs with its simple yet unique recipes. Chef’s first edition was hailed as elevating “even a simple dessert into a work of art” and was chosen as an editor’s top ten pick on The Food Channel. ($39.95)

·         For the collector: Full-blown Sugar Art – Another one of Chef Roby’s famous creations is his full-blown sugar art, starting at $39.50. Known for being able to make practically anything out of sugar, Chef Roby has previously made a huge blown sugar pumpkin, blown sugar snowman, little robins and nests, poinsettias, candy canes, penguins – you name it, Chef Roby can make it.

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Suggestions for a wonderful NEW YEAR’S EVE

When the clock strikes 12, everyone has a chance to start the year anew – but half the fun is ending the old one in style. Here are some great suggestions for celebrations that start well before midnight in this ultimate guide to New Year’s Eve in Chicago. Looking to watch the fireworks from a spectacular view? Check out the breathtaking views from El Tapeo, located on the 9th floor of Chicagoland’s hottest new hotel Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center. Want a relaxing, romantic way to end the year with your loved one? Look no further than Geja’s Café’s intimate NYE dinner. From hotel extravaganzas and fabulous champagne toasts to prix-fixe dinners and special one-night concerts, Heron PR has found an event for everyone looking to ring in 2015 in style.

 

Ring in the New Year in the heart of Downtown Chicago…with a romantic dinner at Aria Restaurant at the Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park.Aria Restaurant will offer guests a divine dinner prepared by the hotel’s Executive Chef. Choose from savory appetizers like Truffled Parsnip and Apple Bisque or Seared Foie Gras, followed by an Intermezzo course of a West Coast Oyster, Hackleback Caviar and Raspberry Champagne Shooter. Entrée selections include Surf & Turf, Seared Filet Mignon or Atlantic Salmon Crusted with Panko and Peppercorns. Finish your meal with the Chocolate Decadence or Bubbles and Raspberry desserts and complimentary freshly-brewed coffee, decaffeinated coffee and hot tea. The dinner is $62 plus tax and gratuity. For reservations, please call 312-444-9494.

 

For the best views of the New Year’s Eve fireworks… head to El Tapeo, located on the 9th floor of Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center. With floor-to-ceiling, wrap around windows, El Tapeo invites guests to kick off the evening with a festive al-la-carte dinner. The restaurant will offer two seatings at 5 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.  The second seating will include live entertainment by James Carnolo, a glass of sangria, midnight champagne toast and party favors at an additional $35 cover charge.  Guests of the first seating are invited to stay for the party following their dinner reservation at the additional $35 cover charge as well. Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center has also created an Overnight Package for guests who would like to make a night of it, starting at $299. The Overnight Package includes a $150 credit towards a luxurious dinner at El Tapeo beginning at 8:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve as well as the festivities included in that seating. The $35 cover charge is waived for guests participating in this exclusive package. For more information or to make a reservation, visit www.lemeridienoakbrook.com.

 

For a frighteningly fun twist on the traditional NYE party… Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont, will thrill patrons with the third annual New Year’s Eve Monster’s Ball Wednesday, December 31 from 9 pm-1 am. At this one-of-a-kind event, guests dressed in their most horrific, startling attire ring in 2015 with the ghosts and ghouls of Stage 773. Starting at just $70 per person and $120 per couple, the New Year’s Eve Monster’s Ball will feature unlimited specialty drinks, diabolically delicious appetizers, live music and a haunted house. The event will also include a “Cham-PAIN” toast to ring in the New Year. For tickets, call 773.327.5252 or visit at www.Stage773.com.

 

Ring in 2015 with romance... at Geja’s Café, 340 W. Armitage Ave, where Chicago’s most romantic restaurant will offer New Year’s Eve revelers an intimate repast featuring fondue and champagne, complete with classical/flamenco guitar music. Guests will enjoy a four-course fondue dinner complete with cheese fondue appetizer, salad, lobster, shrimp and beef entrée, and Geja’s famous flaming chocolate dessert fondue. Geja’s will offer diners 3 seating options: The 5:00 p.m. seating is $75 per person and includes a glass of Lamberti Sparkling Rosè. The 7:30 p.m. seating is $95 per person and includes a glass of JJ Vincent Cremant. The 10:00 p.m. seating is $125 per person and includes a bottle JJ Vincent Cremant per couple and party favors galore for the countdown to midnight. Reservations will be taken from 9 am – 4 pm, Monday through Friday beginning Monday, December 8 at 9 am. For more reservations, visit www.gejascafe.com or call 773.281.9101.  

 

End 2014 with the classic and romantic tale of East versus West…  as The Marriott Theatre presents a special NYE performance of THE KING AND I on December 31 at 8 p.m. Nick Bowling (Juno and The Normal Heart at Timeline Theatre) makes his Marriott Theatre directorial debut with a fresh take on this Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, merging history and romance with today’s social and political issues. THE KING AND I follows the tumultuous relationship of the strong-willed British GovernessAnna(Jeff Award-nominee Heidi Kettenring) and the larger than life King of Siam (Andrew Ramcharan Guilarte), as they try to find common ground between Siamese and British traditions. For tickets, call 847.634.0200 or visit www.MarriottTheatre.com

 

For a sumptuous dinner followed by a special performance… head to Drury Lane Theatreon December 31 from 6 to 8:30 pm and indulge in a three-course New Year’s Eve Dinner and performance of CAMELOT! As midnight approaches, celebrate with a complimentary champagne toast and dancing throughout the night. Add to the festivities with a special performance of the Tony Award-winning musical, CAMELOT. Tickets begin at $55. For more information or to make a reservation, call 630.530.8300.

 

Ring in 2015 and pay homage to the beloved Beatles… with Theatre at the Center’s special one-night presentation of American English, as the Beatles tribute band magically perform “The Complete Beatles Tribute!” on Wednesday, December 31 at 6 and 10 pm. To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of The Beatles’ first visit to America, American English will feature the entire “Hard Day’s Night” album with precise attention to every musical detail, vintage instruments and special effects. Costume changes to represent the Beatles’ different stages of musical evolution are a staple of American English shows, which include the rich sound of Keyboard-dueled horn and strings. Tickets are $20 for the student show (6 pm) and $40 for the adult show (10 pm). Dinner and adult performance tickets are $63 plus tax; dinner and student performance are $48 plus tax. For tickets or more information see the Theatre at the Center website.

 

Hot Tix

Hot Tix offers half-price tickets to more than 200 Chicago area theaters, full price tickets to all Ticketmaster events including concerts and sports, and Play Money gift certificates. Hot Tix tickets are always half-price and may be purchased up to a week in advance of the performance.  Hot Tix ticket centers are located in the Loop at 72 E. Randolph Street, the Chicago Tourism Center and on North Michigan Ave. at the Waterworks Visitors Center located at 163 E. Pearson andBlock Thirty Seven, located at 108 N. State St.  Hot Tix are available for purchase online at the Hot Tix website

 

And finally, NOTE:

Chicago Loop Alliance (CLA) creates, manages and promotes high-performing urban experiences, attracting people and investment to the Loop. For more information, please visit:Loop Chicago website

 

 

Published on Nov 23, 2014

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