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Article posted: 12/14/2012 6:00 AM

On stage: Holiday spirit takes the spotlight

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Kattan in Schaumburg
Former "Saturday Night Live" cast member Chris Kattan, who created such characters as Mango and Mr. Peppers -- and played one of the head-bobbing Butabi Brothers opposite Will Ferrell -- headlines The Improv in Schaumburg. 8 and 10:15 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14; 7 and 9:15 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, at Woodfield Mall, 5 Woodfield Road, Schaumburg. $22, plus a two-item minimum. (847) 240-2001 or chicago.improv.com.

Game time
Brush up on your Christmas trivia and head to the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre for a holiday edition of its ongoing comedy series. From the folks behind "Late Night Catechism" comes "Christmas Bingo: It's a Ho-Ho-Holy Night," supervised by former nun Mary Margaret O'Brien who presides over an actual Bingo game. 7:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17, at 111 W. Campbell St., Arlington Heights. $30. (847) 577-2121 or metropolisarts.com.

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'Faith Healer'
The Den Theatre remounts TurnAround Theatre's original production of Brian Friel's drama "Faith Healer" 17 years after its successful run at TurnAround and Steppenwolf theaters. Original director J.R. Sullivan joins original cast members Brad Armacost, Lia D. Mortensen and Si Osborne in Friel's compelling tale of itinerant Irish faith healer Frank Hardy. The play consists of monologues delivered by Frank (Osborne), his long-suffering wife Grace (Mortensen) and his manager Teddy (Armacost), who separately recall the impact of several key events on each of them and on their relationship with each other. Previews begin Wednesday, Dec. 19, at 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. The show opens Dec. 20. $28. See brownpapertickets or thedentheatre.com.

What's new
• St. Charles' Steel Beam Theatre, 111 W. Main St., is holding a raffle to support children's theater programs. The grand prize is a trip to the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Florida. Tickets are $5 each or five for $20 and may be purchased at the theater or by phone at (630) 587-8521. The drawing takes place on Dec. 23.

• Raven Theatre drew inspiration for its holiday show from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle," about a gem stolen from a countess. "Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Goose" opens Friday, Dec. 14, at 6157 N. Clark St., Chicago, and runs weekends through Dec. 30. (773) 338-2177 or raventheatre.com.

• The Q Brothers (GQ and JQ) -- known for their "ad-rap-tations" of Shakespeare's "The Comedy of Errors," "Much Ado About Nothing" and "Othello" -- have re-imagined Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol." The brothers will present their in-progress production: "The Q Brothers Christmas Carol Project" from Friday, Dec. 14 to Sunday, Dec. 16, at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, 201 E. Randolph St., Chicago. See qbrothers.com for information.

• The Gift Theatre's annual holiday-themed comedy show "Natural Gas Jug Band Christmas" runs Friday, Dec. 14, and Saturday, Dec. 15, at 4802 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. (773) 283-7071 or thegifttheatre.org.

• Victory Gardens hosts the latest special programming event in conjunction with its production of Philip Dawkins' "Failure: A Love Story" on Friday Dec. 14, at the Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. Audience members are invited to a preperformance speak-easy at 6 p.m. and to stay around for post-show dancing to live music. Admission is free for ticketholders. $15 donation for everyone else. (773) 871-3000 or victorygardens.org.

• Red Tape Theatre presents Bizarre Bazaar: A Holiday Special, an evening of theater, dance, music and improvisation beginning at 8:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14, at 621 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. Performers include Molly Brennan, Philip Elson, Christopher Knowlton and Grace Wagner. (847) 738-6919 or redtapetheatre.org.

• Nick Sandys, artistic director of Remy Bumppo Theatre, brings to the stage Charles Dickens' "The Chimes," a project nearly 20 years in the making inspired by the story Dickens wrote after "A Christmas Carol." Like its more famous counterpart, "The Chimes" deals with redemption but is set closer to New Year's than Christmas. Sandys portrays 17 characters in the 90-minute show which runs at 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, 22 and Dec. 31 and 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 23, at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. (773) 404-7336 or remybumppo.org.

• Three actors perform Dream Theatre Company's abridged, family-friendly adaptation of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" on a bare stage in about an hour. Performances run Thursday through Sunday at 556 W. 18th St., Chicago. (773) 552-8616 or dreamtheatre company.com.

• Midwest New Musicals partners with Light Opera Works to present a concert reading of the new family musical set in modern Damascus titled "The Last Storyteller" by Caroline Lee and Christina Biggs (book and lyrics) and Margaret James (music). The show is about a young man who has to decide between using his savings to enter a video game contest or help his uncle retrieve an ancient storytelling sword. The performance is at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17, at 1420 Maple St., Evanston. (847) 920-5360 or midwestnewmusicals.org light-opera-works.org.

• The national tour of "War Horse," the 2011 Tony Award-winning musical inspired by Michael Morpurgo's novel, comes to the Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph St., Chicago beginning Tuesday, Dec. 18, for a limited run. The show, featuring life-size puppets courtesy of the Handspring Puppet Company, is about Joey, the beloved horse of a young boy named Albert. When Joey is enlisted into World War I, Albert sets out to find him and bring him home. (800) 775-2000 or broadwayinchicago.com.

• Miriam Margolyes (Professor Sprout in the "Harry Potter" film series) plays "Dickens' Women" in a one-woman show she developed with co-writer/director Sonia Fraser, as part of the Chicago Shakespeare Theater's World's Stage series and in honor of the centennial of the author's birth. Margolyes will portray Mrs. Micawber from "David Copperfield," Miss Havisham in "Great Expectations" and Mrs. Gamp in "Martin Chuzzlewit" from Dec. 18 through 22 at Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. (312) 595-5600 or chicagoshakes.com.

• Short Story Theatre hosts an evening of stories about revenge, a day at the beach, kidnapping and stealing forks beginning at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 18, at The Laughing Chameleon, 1830 Tower Drive, The Glen, Glenview. (847) 834-0291 or shortstorytheatre.com.

• Bruce Norris' darkly funny family drama "Purple Heart" -- about a recently widowed woman with a penchant for vodka, a bothersome mother-in-law, troubled son and a mysterious suitor -- is up next at redtwist theatre, 1044 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Chicago. Previews begin Wednesday, Dec. 19. Jeff Award winner Jimmy McDermott directs the show which opens Dec. 22. (773) 728-7529 or redtwist.org.

• Performances run through Jan. 6, 2013, of ph Productions' family-friendly holiday offering "The Santa Stories: The Nice One" and its adults-only counterpart "The Santa Stories: The Naughty One." The family friendly version -- about how a little boy named Santa becomes Father Christmas -- runs at 2 p.m. Sundays through Jan. 6, 2013, at 1515 W. Berwyn Ave., Chicago. The naughty version, an R-rated sketch show skewering religion and holiday traditions, runs at 9:30 p.m. Fridays through Jan. 4. See whatisph.com for more information.

• Profiles Theatre has extended its 20th anniversary production of Will Kern's "Hellcab," All 33 cast members remain, including Konstantin Khrustov, who plays the cabdriver having the worst night of his professional life on a cold Christmas Eve. Performances continue through Jan. 27 at 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago. (773) 549-1815 or profilestheatre.org.

• "Million Dollar Quartet," a fictionalized account of the 1956 jam session with Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis at Memphis' Sun Records studios, celebrates its 5th anniversary in Chicago with yet another extension. Performances continue through April 28, 2013, at the Apollo Theater, 2540 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. (773) 935-6100 or milliondollarquartetlive.com.

• The Storefront Playwright Project, allowing the public to watch the creation of new works through the storefront windows at Expo72, continues through Dec. 22 at 72 E. Randolph St., Chicago. Passers-by can read what the playwright is writing in real time from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The project is a collaboration between the League of Chicago Theatres and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Featured playwrights include: Rob Koon and Reginald Edmund (Dec. 14); Steven Simoncic and Jessy Lauren Smith (Dec. 15); Brian Golden and Seth Bockley (Dec. 18); Alice Lawton and Sarah Gubbins (Dec. 19); Bilal Dardai and Emilio Williams (Dec. 20); Greg Alen and Trina Kakacek (Dec. 21) and Reginald Edmund and TBA (Dec. 22).

• Goodman Theatre has introduced a new option for the 2012-2013 subscription season. Subscribers who opt for the $199 Wild Card received four tickets to any production to use how they like, meaning they can receive one ticket to four productions, four tickets to one production or any combination thereof. See goodmantheatre.org/gift/card/aspx for information.

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