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updated: 11/29/2011 1:25 PM

Best bets: Feel magic of Dancenter North's 'Nutcracker'

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  • Emily Smith of Gurnee stars as the Sugar Plum Fairy in Dancenter North's production of "The Magic of the Nutcracker," which plays at Libertyville High School this weekend before moving to the Genesee Theatre in Waukegan.

      Emily Smith of Gurnee stars as the Sugar Plum Fairy in Dancenter North's production of "The Magic of the Nutcracker," which plays at Libertyville High School this weekend before moving to the Genesee Theatre in Waukegan.

  • Straight No Chaser performs in concert at The Chicago Theatre in Chicago and at the Rosemont Theatre in Rosemont.

      Straight No Chaser performs in concert at The Chicago Theatre in Chicago and at the Rosemont Theatre in Rosemont.

  • Comedian and Bolingbrook High School graduate Lenny Schmidt performs at Zanies in Chicago and St. Charles.

      Comedian and Bolingbrook High School graduate Lenny Schmidt performs at Zanies in Chicago and St. Charles.

  • The great-grandchildren of Captain Von Trapp (made famous by "The Sound of Music") perform as The Von Trapp Children at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora.

      The great-grandchildren of Captain Von Trapp (made famous by "The Sound of Music") perform as The Von Trapp Children at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora.

  • Support food pantries at the Empty Bowls ceramic exhibit and fundraiser at Oakton Community College in Des Plaines.

      Support food pantries at the Empty Bowls ceramic exhibit and fundraiser at Oakton Community College in Des Plaines.
    Daily Herald file photo

  • Evanston native and opera singer Nancy Gustafson, second from left, will perform with other opera stars as part of the Over the Rainbow Association's 22nd Anniversary Celebration Benefit Concert.

      Evanston native and opera singer Nancy Gustafson, second from left, will perform with other opera stars as part of the Over the Rainbow Association's 22nd Anniversary Celebration Benefit Concert.

 
 

Nutcracker of the week

More than 100 dancers, singers and actors comprise Dancenter North's 23rd annual production of "The Magic of the Nutcracker" seen first this weekend at Libertyville High School's Butler Auditorium, 708 W. Park Ave., Libertyville, (847) 367-7970. $15-$32. Performances then transfer to the Genesee Theatre, 203 N. Genesee St., Waukegan, (847) 263-6300. $18-$35. See themagicofthenutcracker.com. 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 3 and 4, in Libertyville; 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 10 and 11, in Waukegan

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Holiday harmonies

Straight No Chaser, the Internet singing sensation created at Indiana University, brings some holiday musical cheer this weekend first to the Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St., Chicago, $27.50-$47.50, then to the Rosemont Theatre, 5400 N. River Road, Rosemont, $25.50-$45.50. (800) 745-3000 or thechicagotheatre.com and rosemonttheatre.com. 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, in Chicago; 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4, in Rosemont

Bolingbrook boy

Comedian, actor and Bolingbrook High School graduate Lenny Schmidt ("True Blood," "Joe Dirt") returns with stand-up comedy gigs this week and next at two Zanies locations. First he's at 1548 N. Wells St., Chicago, (312) 337-4027. $23. Then he goes to Pheasant Run Resort, 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles, (630) 584-6342. $24 (all prices require a two-menu-item purchase). See zanies.com. 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2; 7, 9 and 11:15 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3; and 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4, in Chicago; also 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 7 and 8; 7 and 9:45 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9; and 7:30 and 9:45 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, in St. Charles

Helpful serving

Help support local food pantries by purchasing a specially made bowl from the Empty Bowls fundraiser this Saturday at Oakton Community College, 1600 E. Golf Road, Des Plaines. $12 (includes bowl and serving of soup). (847) 635-1699 or oakton.edu. 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3

Sing lively

The local a cappella singing ensemble Acappellago brings its holiday program "Escape to ... The Christmas Story" to two locations this weekend: Mayslake Peabody Estate, 1717 W. 31st St., Oak Brook. Then at New Covenant Church, 1 Bunting Lane, Naperville. $15; $12 students/seniors. (708) 484-3797 or acappellago.org. 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, and 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4

Doe, a deer ...

Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace may be packing them in with an acclaimed production of "The Sound of Music," but you can see the next generation of singing descendants of The Von Trapp Children this Sunday at the Paramount Theatre, 8 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora. $32.50-$38.50. (630) 896-6666 or paramountaurora.com. 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4

Vocal advocacy

Evanston opera singer Nancy Gustafson performs with opera and musical theater stars like Sylvia McNair, Richard Leech and more for the Over the Rainbow Association's 22nd Anniversary Celebration Benefit Concert this Sunday at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston. $75-$250. (847) 424-5604 or otrassn.org. 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4

Remember 12/7

Remember the attacks on Pearl Harbor in 1941 by learning about the special U.S. commandos known as the Marine Raiders in a presentation led by retired Col. Jon T. Hoffman on Wednesday at The First Division Museum at Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Road, Wheaton. Free. (630) 260-8130 or firstdivisionmuseum.org. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 7

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