Paramount Theatre celebrates the holidays with a production of "Elf, The Musical," adapted from the 2003 film. It's about an earnest young man named Buddy, who grows up at the North Pole and believes himself an elf. When he discovers he's not, Buddy (Kyle Adams) goes to New York City in search of his family. Amber Mak directs and choreographs. Previews begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 22, at 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora. The show opens Nov. 26. $36-$74. (630) 896-6666 or paramountaurora.com.
Audiences get a chance to experience "Broadway's Next Hit Musical!" as part of an improvised show created by six performers who solicit ideas for songs during the first act. After intermission, they return to perform a full-blown, improvised musical. 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17, at the McAninch Arts Center, College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn. $34-$46. (630) 942-4000 or atthemac.org.
After five years away, an upright cavalry officer returns to 19th-century Paris to find it inhabited by fakes and liars in playwright/librettist Eugene Scribe's "Le Puff." Remy Bumppo Theatre revives the rarely produced play in a translation by Ranjit Bolt titled "Puff: Believe It or Not." Artistic director Nick Sandys directs the production, which features ensemble members Kelsey Brennan, David Darlow and Peter A. Davis among others. Previews begin at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 22, at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. The show opens Nov. 27. $38.50, $43.50. (773) 404-7336 or greenhousetheater.org or remybumppo.org.
Other theater events
• "Defending the Caveman," Rob Becker's comic look at the battle of the sexes, returns to the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre with star Ben Tedder. He performs at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 17-18, at 111 W. Campbell St., Arlington Heights, (847) 577-2121 or metropolisarts.com.
• The Other Theatre continues its fourth season with a revival of the campy, adults-only musical "Barney the Elf," by associate artistic director Bryan Renaud and Emily Schmidt. Roy Samra stars as Barney, who's forced to leave his North Pole home after Santa retires and his wicked son takes over. Barney heads to Chicago where he uncovers truths about himself. The cast also includes Glen Ellyn native Emilie Rose Danno, Downers Grove native Colleen DeRosa, Naperville resident and North Central College freshman LiSean McElrath and Naperville resident Cody Talkie. Previews begin Friday, Nov. 17, at The Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. The show, directed and choreographed by ensemble member Tommy Rivera-Vega, opens Nov. 28. (773) 404-7336 or theothertheatrecompany.com.
• MCL Chicago's holiday parody "Yippee Ki-Yay, Merry Christmas: A Die Hard Christmas Musical" returns with "two additional songs and even more campy fun," according to playwright Michael Shepherd Jordan. The preview for the "Die Hard" sendup is Friday, Nov. 17. The show opens Saturday, Nov. 18, at 3110 N. Sheffield Ave., Chicago. (773) 610-5930 or mclchicago.com.
• GayCo Productions examines the most wonderful time of the year with the adults-only revue "'Tis The Seasonal Depression." It opens Friday, Nov. 17, at the Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago. See gayco.com.
• Tony Award-nominated composer/lyricist/librettist Michael John LaChiusa ("The Wild Party," "Hello Again") will participate at a talkback following BoHo Theater's production of his musical "Marie Christine" on Friday, Nov. 17. LaChiusa's musical recasts the tragic Greek character of Medea as Marie Laveau, voodoo queen of New Orleans. The performance is at 8 p.m. at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. (773) 975-8150 or bohotheatre.com.
• "Bite Size Broadway," consisting of eight mini-musicals performed in 60 minutes, returns Saturday, Nov. 18, to The Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. Also at The Annoyance, the new sketch comedy show "Grimoire," whose premise has a couple of cruise ship comedians forced to do sketches after sailing into the Bermuda Triangle. It runs Sundays through Dec. 17. (773) 697-9693 or theannoyance.com.
• Chicago-area performers salute Ella Fitzgerald and Lena Horne at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17, at The Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Parkway, Chicago. Singing actresses E. Faye Butler and Sophie Grimm team up with vocalists Joan Curto, Paul Marinaro, Tammy McCann, Beckie Menzie and Tom Michael for "Ella & Lena: The Ladies and Their Music." They'll be accompanied by City Lights Orchestra conducted by Rich Daniels. (312) 341-2300 or auditoriumtheatre.org.
• Writer and historical interpreter Clay Jenkinson brings "Dueling Debater," his "historical faceoff" between Thomas Jefferson and Teddy Roosevelt, to the Raue Center for the Arts, 26 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake, as part of a fundraiser for the center and the Crystal Lake Library Foundation. Jenkinson takes on both characters during the 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18, show. (815) 356-9212 or rauecenter.org.
• Joseph Jefferson Award-winning actor Larry Yando marks his 10th year as Ebenezer Scrooge in Goodman Theatre's 40th anniversary production of "A Christmas Carol." Goodman's production is also notable for its first female Tiny Tim played by Paris Strickland of Yorkville. Previews begin Saturday, Nov. 18, at 170 N. Dearborn St., Chicago. The show, directed by artistic associate Henry Wishcamper, opens Nov. 27. Goodman, in partnership with Autism Speaks-Chicago, offers its first sensory-friendly production on Dec. 30 for audience members who have autism or other cognitive, physical or social challenges. (312) 443-3800 or goodmantheatre.org.
• AstonRep Theatre Company hosts its ninth annual Writers Series from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18, at The Vagabond School of the Arts, #504, 4001 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago. The program showcases staged readings of new works by local writers Lyn Lesch (whose "Albert and Mileva" is about Albert Einstein and his wife growing apart), Lauren Sagendorph (whose "Little Fingers With Red Strings" is about how a 65-year-old woman helps a college student focus her life) and Milly Pease (whose "STIX" is about a woman rescued from a deserted island after six years with her companion, a large piece of driftwood named Stick). Free. (773) 828-9129 or astonrep.com.
• The Q Brothers return to the Chicago Shakespeare Theater with their hip-hop, holiday show "Q Brothers Christmas Carol," adapted from Charles Dickens' tale about a miser who finds meaning in his life. Previews begin Tuesday, Nov. 21, at CST's The Yard, at Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. The show opens Nov. 25. (312) 595-5600 or chicagoshakes.com/qchristmas.
• The North American tour of "Irving Berlin's White Christmas," adapted from the 1954 film about two army buddies and a pair of comely sisters putting on a show at a Vermont inn, returns to Chicago for a brief run. Performances begin Tuesday, Nov. 21, at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph St., Chicago. (800) 775-2000 or broadwayinchicago.com.
• "The Christmas Schooner" sets sail once again at the Mercury Theater, 3745 N. Southport Ave., Chicago. Previews begin Friday, Nov. 24, for the John Reeger-Julie Shannon musical inspired by the tale of the Rouse Simmons, the ship that during the early 20th century ferried trees from Michigan to immigrant German families in Chicago. The show, directed by L. Walter Stearns, opens Dec. 8. (773) 325-1700 or mercurytheaterchicago.com.
• Porchlight Music Theatre has extended its production of "Billy Elliot The Musical," directed by Brenda Didier of Lincolnshire. Performances continue through Nov. 26 at The Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn St., Chicago. (773) 777-9884 or porchlightmusictheatre.org.
• Griffin Theatre announced its 30th anniversary season will begin Nov. 26 with "Violet," a musical by Jeanine Tesori ("Fun Home," "Caroline, or Change") and Brian Crawley ("A Little Princess") about a disfigured young woman who travels to the Deep South in 1964 hoping a faith healer can help improve her life. The season continues April 6, 2018, with the Chicago-area premiere of "Ghosts of War," adapted from Ryan Smithson's novel about a 19-year-old's tour of duty in Iraq by artistic director William Massolia. "Ghosts of War" will run in repertory with a revival of Massolia's 2007 work "Letters Home," which dramatizes letters sent from soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan to their loved ones. The season concludes July 21, 2018, with the Chicago-area premiere of Samuel D. Hunter's "The Harvest," about a young missionary who has a crisis of faith as he is about to leave for the Middle East. The season also includes concert-style readings of Somerset Maugham's "For Services Rendered" and Githa Sowerby's "Rutherford and Son." Dates are to be announced. Performances take place at The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. Preview subscriptions are $85. Regular subscriptions are $100 and premiere subscriptions (including reserved seating) are $120. (866) 811-4111 or griffintheatre.com.
• Theater artists Tara Mallen, founder and artistic director of Rivendell Theatre Ensemble and Marcela Munoz, co-artistic director and managing director of Aguijon Theater, received $25,000 grants earlier this month from 3Arts, a nonprofit organization that helps fund, promote and professionally develop Chicago-area female artists, artists of color and artists with disabilities.