Ÿ The New National Pastime Theater reprises its family-friendly rock ’n’ roll Hannukah show, “Hannukatz the Musical!” Inspired by Terry Abrahamson’s “Hannukatz Saves Hannukah,” the musical is about a 6-foot hippie cat teaching a pair of spoiled siblings about the Jewish holiday. Performances begin Friday, Nov. 30, at 941 W. Lawrence Ave., Chicago. (773) 327-7077 or hannukatz.brownpapertickets.com.
Ÿ Highland Park’s The Music Theatre Company continues its musicals in concert series with “Lucky Stiff,” by “Ragtime” lyricist Lynn Ahrens and composer Stephen Flaherty. James Beaudry directs the show about a man’s outrageous attempts to find an inherited fortune in Monte Carlo. Kory Danielson serves as music director. Performances begin Friday, Nov. 30, at 1850 Green Bay Road. (847) 579-4900 or themusictheatrecompany.org.
Ÿ The Neo-Futurists welcome 2013 with a retrospective of the best of this year’s “Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind.” The adults-only “TML: Best of 2012” opens Friday, Nov. 30, at 5153 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago. New artistic directors Bilal Dardai and Megan Mercier helm the showcase. (773) 275-5255 or neofuturists.org.
Ÿ The Annoyance Theatre, 4830 N. Broadway, Chicago, offers family-friendly and adults-only holiday offerings. The former is a double bill consisting of stage versions of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” directed by Jeremy Dionisio with music direction by Lisa McQueen. Performances begin Friday, Nov. 30, and run Fridays and Sundays through Dec. 28. A sendup of family gatherings, “It’s Christmas, Goddamnit” offers a humorous take on dysfunction with a macabre twist. The show opens Saturday, Dec. 1, and runs Saturdays through Dec. 29. (773) 561-4665 or annoyanceproductions.com.
Ÿ The Kiss Kiss Cabaret salutes the season with an adults-only, holiday-themed burlesque show, including an all-audience, kazoo holiday medley. The show opens Friday, Nov. 30, at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. (773) 404-7336 or kisskisscabaret.com.
Ÿ “’Twas The Night Before Christmas,” a musical inspired by Clement Clarke Moore’s “A Visit From St. Nicholas,” is another family-friendly seasonal show from Theatre at the Center, 1040 Ridge Road, Munster, Ind. The show opens Friday, Nov. 30, and runs through Saturday, Dec. 15, with performances on weekday mornings and select Saturday afternoons. (219) 836-3255 or (800) 511-1552 or theatreatthecenter.com.
Ÿ Commedia Beauregard remounts its popular “A Klingon Christmas Carol,” beginning Saturday, Dec. 1, at Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark St., Chicago. Adapted from Charles Dickens’ tale and performed in the Klingon language (with English supertitles), the play centers on a Scrooge who must learn to restore his honor with help from three ghosts in order to save Tiny Tim from a terrible fate. Kevin Alves returns as Scrooge in the production directed by Eric Van Tassell. (800) 838-3006 or cbtheatre.org.
Ÿ Bootstraps Comedy Theater presents a holiday version of their ongoing, 18-and-older radio play, “The City Life Supplement,” at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, at Transistor Chicago, 3819 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. Reservations required. (773) 960-0548 or citylifesupplement.org.
Ÿ The Waltzing Mechanics debut their first full-length production “Over My Dead Body” beginning Sunday, Dec. 2, at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. The play is adapted from interviews with families impacted by the relocation of Chicago’s St. Johannes Cemetery to make room for the O’Hare Modernization Program to reconfigure airport runways. Company co-founder Thomas Murray directs. (773) 404-7336 or greenhousetheater.org or waltzingmechanics.org.
Ÿ Hell in a Handbag Productions hosts a benefit from 5 to 9 p.m. Monday, Dec. 3, at Mary’s Attic, 5400 N. Clark St., Chicago. The evening includes a performance of the company’s production of the adults-only “Rudolph, the Red-Hosed Reindeer,” along with a live auction, raffle and open bar. Tickets are $45 in advance, $50 at the door. (800) 838-3006 or brownpapertickets.com or (312) 409-4357.
Ÿ Jeff Award winner Cory Goodrich, cast members of Drury Lane Theatre’s “Hairspray” and performers from Mercury Theater’s “The Christmas Schooner” celebrate the release of “Season of Carols,” a CD showcasing Chicago area theater artists, during a concert at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 3, at the Mercury Theater, 3745 N. Southport Ave., Chicago. The CD features cast members from Writers’ Theatre’s “A Little Night Music,” BoHo Theatre’s “Floyd Collins,” Drury Lane’s “Hairspray,” Marriott Theatre’s “Hero,” The Apollo Theater’s “Million Dollar Quartet” and Theo Ubique’s “Starting Here, Starting Now.” Proceeds from the sale of the CD go to Season of Concern, which supports theater artists experiencing catastrophic illness and living with HIV/AIDS. Tickets are available by phone (773) 325-1700 or online at mercurytheaterchicago.com. The CD is available online at seasonofcarols.com.
Ÿ Previews begin Tuesday, Dec. 4, for Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s production of “The School for Lies,” David Ives’ adaptation of Moliere’s “The Misanthrope.” Artistic director Barbara Gaines directs the production, which stars Stratford Shakespeare Festival standouts Ben Carlson and Deborah Hay, who are married in real life and play love interests Frank and Celimene. CST veteran Greg Vinkler co-stars. The show opens Wednesday, Dec. 12, at Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. (312) 595-5600 or chicagshakes.com.
Ÿ Jeff Garlin, Second City alum and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” co-star, returns to Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St., Chicago, with his new standup comedy show “Closer Than I Appear.” Garlin’s appearance follows his 2011 Steppenwolf debut. He performs through Sunday, Dec. 16. (312) 335-1650 or steppenwolf.org.
Ÿ Performances begin Wednesday, Dec. 5, for “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical,” adapted for the stage by writers Dr. Seuss and Albert Hague with music and book by Mel Marvin and Timothy Mason. The show runs through Sunday, Dec. 16, at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph St., Chicago. (800) 775-2000 or broadwayinchicago.com.
Ÿ Chicago Slam Works presents “Dead or Alive Battle Royale of Slam Poetry Supremacy for All Eternity” on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 12 and 19, at Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark St., Chicago. The competition pits actors portraying acclaimed poets Gwendolyn Brooks, Langston Hughes, Etheridge Knight, Jonathan Swift and Anne Sexton against Chicago slam poets. “After years of hearing that ‘modern poets can’t measure up to the greats’ and ‘those old poets aren’t exciting like the modern slammers,’ we decided to settle the debate once and for all,” said artistic director J.W. Basilo. The showdown begins at 8 p.m. (847) 556-8679 or chicagoslamworks.com.
Ÿ Northlight Theatre’s very funny revival of Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple” has been extended. Performances continue through Sunday, Dec. 16, at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie. (847) 673-0300 or northlight.org.
Ÿ “Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Potter Experience,” a parody by Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner that condenses all seven J.K. Rowling books into a 70-minute, family-friendly show, has been extended. Currently playing at the Broadway Playhouse, 175 E. Chestnut St., Chicago, the show moves to the Harris Theater 205 E. Randolph St., Chicago on Sunday, Dec. 23. Performances continue through Jan. 6. (800) 775-2000 or broadwayinchicago.com.
Ÿ A Red Orchid Theatre has extended its world premiere of Brett Neveu’s “The Opponent” about a small-time gym owner and the partnership he forms with an up-and-coming fighter. Performances continue through Saturday, Dec. 15, at 1531 N. Wells St., Chicago. (312) 943-8722 or aredorchidtheatre.org.
Ÿ “Sleeping Indoors,” Jim Holt’s holiday drama about a compassionate woman who takes a homeless man and his kitten home on Christmas Eve, runs through Saturday, Dec. 15, at Gorilla Tango Theatre, 7924 Lincoln Ave., Skokie. (773) 598-4549 or gorillatango.com.
Ÿ After 27 years in the western suburbs of Forest Park and most recently Oak Park, Circle Theatre has announced that for its 28th season, it will become an itinerant company in Chicago, meaning it will no longer have a permanent home as it has up until now. The company’s next season begins Jan. 16 with a remount of Andrew Bowell’s “When the Rain Stops Falling,” a drama directed by Fox Valley Repertory’s John Gawlik chronicling four generations of a family. It’s followed by the musical “Death Takes a Holiday” (April-May, 2013), about Death who comes to earth in the guise of a handsome young man, to determine why people fear him. Next up is Abi Morgan’s “Lovesong” (July-August, 2013), followed by “Evil Dead: The Musical” an adaptation of the horror tale about five college coeds spending a terrifying weekend at a cabin in the woods. For subscription information see circle-theatre.org or call (708) 660-9542.
Ÿ The first play of Victory Gardens Theater’s 2013-2014 season is Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ “Appropriate,” a world premiere coproduced with the Actors Theatre of Louisville, which was developed in part by VGT’s 2012 Ignition new play development initiative. Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Gary Griffin will direct the play which centers on three adult children who reunite at the family’s Arkansas plantation after their father’s death to confront clutter, debt and a disturbing discovery among their father’s possessions. See victorygardens.org.
Ÿ Pavement Group artistic associate Mallery Avidon’s play “O Guru Guru Guru, or why I don’t want to go to yoga class with you” has been selected for production at the prestigious 2013 Humana Festival of New American Plays at the Actors Theatre of Louisville. It runs March 20 to April 7. Avidon’s “breaks & bikes” runs through Dec. 9 at the Flat Iron Arts Building 1579 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. See pavementgroup.org.
Ÿ The MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince recently awarded Chicago’s Theater Wit a three-year, $60,000 grant. The grant marks the largest in the history of the eight-year-old company, said artistic director Jeremy Wechsler, adding “this grant not only supports Theater Wit, but the storefront theater movement in Chicago.” Theater Wit introduced an innovative membership program last year that allows subscribers to pay a monthly fee, which entitles them to see as many plays as they like, as many times as they like. See theaterwit.org.
— Barbara VitelloCopyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.