Best bets: It's season for Mannheim Steamroller at the Akoo
Get into the spirit of the season when the Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis performs contemporary arrangements of holiday classics with multimedia sound and lighting effects at the Akoo Theatre at Rosemont, 5400 N. River Road, Rosemont. $28-$79. (800) 745-3000 or rosemonttheatre.com. 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1
Call them crazy, but five actors from the local improv troupe K.C. Redheart will perform improvised comedy for 30 hours nonstop (with guests from other comedy troupes) to benefit children's literacy as part of The Playground Improv Marathon at the Playground Theater, 3209 N. Halsted St., Chicago. $5-$10 per hourlong show; $25 for a full 30-hour pass to benefit the Illinois Coalition of Reach Out and Read. (773) 871-3793 or the-playground.com. 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30, through 11 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1
Nutcrackers of the week
This weekend sees the addition of two contrasting approaches to Tchaikovsky's classic Christmastime ballet, one seen on a national scale and one that's locally produced. On the local side, Schaumburg Dance Ensemble presents its take on "The Nutcracker" at the Prairie Center for the Arts, 201 Schaumburg Court, Schaumburg. $26; $18 students/seniors. (847) 895-3600 or prairiecenter.org. The touring Moscow Ballet brings its "Great Russian Nutcracker" to the Akoo Theatre at Rosemont, 5400 N. River Road, Rosemont. $26-$85.50. (800) 745-3000 or rosemonttheatre.com. 7:30 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 1 and 5 p.m. Sunday through Dec. 9 in Schaumburg; 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, in Rosemont
Help raise funds for local food pantries and other meal programs by taking part in Empty Bowls at Oakton sponsored by the Ceramics Club at Oakton. Buy a ceramic bowl Saturday at Oakton Community College, 1600 E. Golf Road, Des Plaines. $14 (includes handcrafted bowl, soup and bread). (847) 635-1699 or oakton.edu. 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1
Find out more about the weeklong African heritage celebration of Kwanzaa with a special Pre-Kwanzaa Demonstration and Marketplace at College of Lake County's Lakeshore Campus, 111 N. Genesee St., Waukegan. Free admission. (847) 543-2191 or jlc.clcillinois.edu. Noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1
A Cosby show
Groundbreaking comedy legend Bill Cosby ("I Spy," "The Cosby Show") returns to perform Saturday at the Genesee Theatre, 203 N. Genesee St., Waukegan. $39.50-$75. (847) 782-2366 or geneseetheatre.com. 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1
Christmas songs are blended into a Biblical pageant in "The Story," which also features many Christian artists like Jeremy Camp, Natalie Grant and more at the Sears Centre Arena, 5333 Prairie Stone Parkway, Hoffman Estates. $27-$47; $77 VIP tickets. $20 parking. (888) 732-7784 or searscentre.com. 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 4
Some of the Chicago area's top musical theater performers like Adrian Aguilar, Emily Rohm and more tackle carols, hymns and other seasonal favorites in the concert "Happy Holidays Broadway Style ... A Musical Revue" at the Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora. $25. (630) 896-6666 or paramountaurora.com. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 4
The Moscow Boys Choir offers a season's greetings with a choral concert titled "Christmas Around the World" at College of Lake County's Lumber Center for the Performing Arts, 19351 W. Washington St., Grayslake. $20-$25; $24 seniors; $12 kids. (847) 543-2300 or jlc.clcillinois.edu/. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 4
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