Best bets: Lyric stages surreal 'Hansel & Gretel'
There is no gingerbread house in director Richard Jones' acclaimed and much-traveled take on Humperdinck's classic 1893 opera "Hansel & Gretel." Instead there's lots of surreal hunger-inspired imagery in theLyric Opera of Chicago revival, which plays a nine-performance run at the Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago. $34-$239. (312) 332-2244 or lyricopera.org. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7, 12, Jan. 8, 11, 14, 19 and 2 p.m. Dec. 14, 16 and Jan. 17
Take the cake
If you're seeking celebrity cake-baking advice for the season, then don't miss the Buddy Valastro Live: The Cake Boss -- Homemade for the Holidays Tour at the Genesee Theatre, 203 N. Genesee St., Waukegan. $35.75 or $45.75. (847) 782-2366 or geneseetheatre.com. 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7
Nutcracker of the week
The late choreographer Ruth Page's 1965 take on "The Nutcracker" is back again under the newly renamed Ruth Page Civic Ballet at two locations: Elgin Community College Arts Center, 1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin, (847) 622-0300. $32; $20 kids. Then it's at College of Lake County's Lumber Center for the Performing Arts, 19351 W. Washington St., Grayslake, (847) 543-2300. $23-$31; $13-$16 kids. See ruthpagecivicballet.com. 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 8-9, in Elgin; 1 and 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, in Grayslake
While the College of DuPage's McAninch Arts Center undergoes a major million-dollar renovation, it presents music acts like The Good Lovelies at other area locales. Catch this Canadian folk and country trio on Saturday at Ramsey Auditorium in Wilson Hall at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Kirk Road and Pine Street, Batavia. $23; $13 students. (630) 942-4000 or atthemac.org. 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8
Which breed of dog fits best with your lifestyle? Find out at the Skokie Valley Kennel Club Dog Show, Events and Expo this weekend at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 5555 N. River Road, Rosemont. $5; $2 kids 12 and younger (no strollers allowed). (847) 692-2222 or skokievalleykc.org. 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, and 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9
Brunch of lights
Celebrate the Jewish Festival of Lights during the day with two Hanukkah Klezmer Brunch Buffets featuring the bands Balkano (Sunday) and the Chicago Klezmer Ensemble (Sunday, Dec. 16) at City Winery Chicago, 1200 W. Randolph St., Chicago. $30 general admission with buffet; $10 music only. (312) 733-9463 or citywinery.com. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays, Dec. 9 and 16
A truly audience-interactive holiday event is the "Sing-Along Messiah," which also features the forces of operatic soloists with the choirs Voices in Harmony and McHenry County College Choir under the direction of conductor Steven Szalaj. Sing along at the Raue Center for the Arts, 26 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake. $15-$18. (815) 356-9212 or rauecenter.org. 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9
Friends of 'Fluffy'
If you weren't able to snag a ticket to the sold-out weekend engagement of self-described "Fluffy" comedian Gabriel Iglesias at the Improv Comedy Showcase, then consider the Monday show "Comedians of Gabriel Iglesias' Stand Up Revolution." It features Martin Moreno, Schaum Latham, Rick Guitierrez and Alfred Robles, who have all been seen on TV's Comedy Central. Catch the show at 5 Woodfield Road, Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg. $15 plus a two menu-item purchase. (847) 240-2001 or improv.com. 7:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 10
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