Best Bets: Tommy Davidson, 'Luminare,' Mannheim Steamroller and Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Tommy Davidson on stage

Actor/comedian Tommy Davidson (Disney+ "The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder"; "In Living Color") who has recently ventured into jazz-pop with the single "I Know," headlines the Chicago Improv, 5 Woodfield Road, Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg. $28. (847) 240-2001 or 7 and 9:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16; 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17; and 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chicago Symphony Chorus kick off a week of "Merry, Merry Chicago!" performances Friday, Dec. 16, through Friday, Dec. 23. Courtesy of Russell Reynolds

Christmas classics

The Chicago Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, will overflow with holiday spirit as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Chorus share traditional Christmas carols, festive holiday hits and the audience favorite "Christmas in Chicago" during six performances of the "Merry, Merry Chicago!" concert over the next week. Ticket prices, which start at $49, vary by date and seating. 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16; 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17; 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 20; 3 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 21; 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 22; and 1:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 23

'A Rose in Winter'

Music of the Baroque celebrates the season with a series of holiday brass and choral concerts titled "A Rose in Winter." Selections include: Jan Sandström's "Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming"; "There is No Rose" by anonymous; Herbert Howells' "A Spotless Rose"; Benjamin Britten's "A Hymn to the Virgin"; and a selection from J.S. Bach's "Christmas Oratorio," among other songs. $25-$100 (Dec. 16). $40-$105 (Dec. 17 and 18). (312) 551-1414 or 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16, at St. Michael Church, 1633 N. Cleveland Ave., Chicago; 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, at Saints Faith, Hope & Charity Church, 191 Linden St., Winnetka; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18, at Alice Millar Chapel, Northwestern University, 1870 Sheridan Road, Evanston

Music of the Baroque performs holiday brass and choral concerts this weekend. Courtesy of Music of the Baroque

Pete Ellman's Christmas

The Pete Ellman Big Band celebrates a big band Christmas with a program of jazzed-up holiday favorites and standards at The Venue, 21 S. Broadway Ave., Aurora, to start your weekend on a musical note. $20-$25 (plus $5 if purchased at the door the day of the show). 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16

Salt Creek 'Nutcracker'

The Salt Creek Ballet returns to the McAninch Arts Center, College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn, this weekend to perform Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker" accompanied by the New Philharmonic, conducted by Kirk Muspratt. $46 for adults, $36 for youth. (630) 942-4000 or 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, and 1 and 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18

The Salt Creek Ballet performs "The Nutcracker" this weekend at the McAninch Arts Center. Courtesy of Keith Gerling, 2014

Cantigny's 'Carol'

Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Road, Wheaton, presents a new twist on a holiday classic with a radio play-style adaptation of perennial favorite "A Christmas Carol." In this version, set locally in the 1940s, Scrooge is publisher of the Chicago Daily News as he learns about the meaning of Christmas with the help of a five-member cast and sound-effects artist. $2; 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, and 11 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 18

Carpenters Christmas

Debbie Taylor and a seven-piece band bring the best of Karen Carpenter and her crew as Top of the World plays a lovingly crafted tribute show to The Carpenters this weekend at both the Des Plaines Theatre, 1476 Miner St., Des Plaines, and the Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main St., St. Charles. In addition to silky classics "Close To You," "Yesterday Once More," "We've Only Just Begun" and many others, the band will also give a nod to Christmas with some holiday favorites. 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, at the Des Plaines Theatre, $29-$49 at; 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18, at the Arcada Theatre, $29-$69 at

Chicago a cappella in the 'burbs

Sacred music and Christmas classics along with lesser-known songs make up Chicago a cappella's upcoming holiday concerts in Naperville and Evanston. $35, $45. (773) 281-7820 or 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, at Wentz Concert Hall, 171 E. Chicago Ave., Naperville, and 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18, at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas

Chip Davis' music, talented artists and multimedia effects combine for a spectacle featuring fresh spins on classic carols at the Rosemont Theatre, 5400 N. River Road, Rosemont. $39-$95 at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17

"Luminare," with its fresh spin on holiday rock concerts, returns Saturday, Dec. 17, at the Arcada Theatre. Courtesy of "Luminare"


Schaumburg native and longtime Dennis DeYoung and Mannheim Steamroller keyboardist John Blasucci returns this weekend, bringing his "Luminare" concert - holiday music, high-energy rock and a little festive razzle-dazzle - to the Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main St., St. Charles. Buffalo Grove native and Huntley musician Pino Farina is also part of the package, as he joins the tour on guitar and vocals. $39-$79 at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17

Tuba spectacular

The Palmer House Hilton, 17 E. Monroe St., Chicago, hosts its 49th annual Tuba Christmas performance featuring holiday favorites in the Grand and State ballrooms. Retired Colonel Michael Colburn of the U.S. Marine Band conducts. Free. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. the day of the performance. See 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 18

Members of the Black Girls Dance ensemble rehearse for the group's upcoming production of "Mary, A Holiday Dansical," a modern twist on the Nativity story. Courtesy of Black Girls Dance

Black Girls Dance

Black Girls Dance incorporates hip-hop, ballet, tap and contemporary in "Mary, A Holiday Dansical." Choreographed and directed by Black Girls Dance founder Erin Barnett, this modern twist on "The Black Nativity" centers on a young woman told by an angel that she will become the mother of the Savior. The performance takes place at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St., Chicago. $40. 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18

Trans-Siberian concert

The Trans-Siberian Orchestra presents the holidays with a side of heavy metal as it plays two shows at Rosemont's Allstate Arena, 6920 Mannheim Road, on its "The Ghosts of Christmas Eve" tour. Tickets are $29-$119.50. 3 and 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 21

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