Spotlight: Buffalo Theatre premieres Kurt Naebig's coming-of-age play 'Stove Toucher'
Buffalo Theatre Ensemble member Kurt Naebig shares his experiences on becoming a teenage skateboarding phenom, opening his own skateboard shop and achieving his dreams by age 13 in his autobiographical play "Stove Toucher." BTE managing artistic director Connie Canaday Howard directs Naebig's coming-of-age play, which was inspired after Naebig returned to skateboarding as a middle-aged man.
8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 26-27, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 28, and through Dec. 19 at McAninch Arts Center, College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn. $42. COVID-19 precautions: Proof of vaccination and masking required. (630) 942-4000, atthemac.org or btechicago.com.
Mark David Kaplan and Nick Sandys are among the actors performing in Northlight Theatre's premiere of "Mr. Dickens' Hat," Michael Hollinger's holiday play-with-music about a young girl named Kit (Cordelia Dewdney) who tries to prevent a couple of thieves from stealing Charles Dickens' hat, which he used to carry water to the victims of a train wreck. Lookingglass Theatre founding ensemble member David Catlin directs.
Previews at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 26-27, and 2:30 and 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 28, and through Dec. 2 at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie. The show opens Dec. 3. $30-$89. COVID-19 precautions: Proof of vaccination or negative test and masking mandatory. (847) 673-6300 or northlight.org.
ABT's 'Wonderful Life'
American Blues Theater marks the return of in-person audiences with its 20th annual production of "It's a Wonderful Life: Live From Chicago!" Adapted from Frank Capra's 1946 film about everyman George Bailey, who falls on hard times after sacrificing the pursuit of his own dreams for the sake of his family and the residents of his hometown, ABT's production unfolds as a 1940s radio broadcast with original music and carols. This production also marks the 20th year John Morlein has played Clarence and Mr. Potter in the ABT production. Artistic director Gwendolyn Whiteside directs.
Previews at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 26-27, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 28, and through Dec. 2 at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. The show opens Dec. 3. $25-$65. COVID-19 precautions: Proof of vaccination or negative test within 72 hours of performance for ages 5 and older. Masking mandatory. (773) 871-3000 or americanbluestheater.com.
Paramount Theatre inaugurates the 165-seat Copley Theatre, its newly remodeled second stage, with the seasonal sendup "The Second City's Holiday Revue: It's a Wild, Wacky Wonderful Life."
8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 26; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 27; and 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 28, and through Dec. 23 at 8 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora. $37. COVID-19 precautions: Proof of vaccination or negative test within 72 hours of performance or negative antigen test within 6 hours of performance. Masking mandatory. (630) 896-6666 or paramountaurora.com.
The Ghost of Christmas Past is part of the multidisciplinary artistic collective for Manual Cinema's version of "A Christmas Carol," streaming online Friday, Nov. 26, through Jan. 3.
- Courtesy of Manual Cinema
In other news
• The interdisciplinary performance collective Manual Cinema remounts its mixed-media production "Manual Cinema's Christmas Carol" online from Friday, Nov. 26, through Jan. 23. A retelling of Charles Dickens' tale, Manual Cinema's version centers on a holiday skeptic who attempts to reconstruct her late husband's annual "A Christmas Carol" puppet show over Zoom while her family celebrates the holiday under lockdown. Tickets are $15 for on-demand, in-home screenings. See manualcinema.com.
• Cirque du Soleil's holiday spectacle "'Twas the Night Before," a retelling of Clement Clarke Moore's poem "A Visit From Saint Nicholas" incorporating circus artists from around the world, opens Friday, Nov. 26, at the Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St., Chicago. The family-friendly show runs through Dec. 5. (212) 465-6080 or chicagotheatre.com/cirque.
• Metropolis Performing Arts Centre hosts "A Comedy Jam With Lance Richards" at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 27, at 111 W. Campbell St., Arlington Heights. Richards, a Chicago native, headlines the show, which also features Steven Haas and Tim Benker. Tickets are $30. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative test and masking required. (847) 577-2121 or metropolisarts.com.
• Arlington Heights native Nicky Mendelsohn is among the cast members performing in Hell in a Handbag Productions' remount of its holiday parody "Christmas Dearest" by David Cerda and Scott Lamberty. Cerda plays Joan Crawford, who in 1953 seeks to restart her career with a film adaptation of the life of the Virgin Mary. After the project turns her into a tyrant, it's up to three ghosts to show her the error of her ways. Previews begin Saturday, Nov. 27, at Ebenezer Lutheran Church, 1650 W. Foster Ave., Chicago. The show opens Dec. 4. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination and masking required. See handbagproductions.org.
• The interactive comedy "Christmas Bingo: It's a Ho-Ho-Holy Night" resumes in-person performances Friday, Nov. 26, at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. The second installment of Vicki Quade's bingo series finds former nun Mary Margaret O'Brien calling bingo while discussing Christmas traditions. Quade shares the role with Nancy Greco and Kathleen Puls Andrade. (773) 404-7336, greenhousetheater.org or nuns4fun.com.
• Porchlight Music Theatre presents pianist/writer Hershey Felder's latest project, "Dante and Beatrice in Florence," which examines the love affair between the 13th-century couple through the eyes of a contemporary pianist who encounter's Dante's ghost. The musical film premieres Sunday, Nov. 28, online and is available through Dec. 5. Proceeds from ticket sales benefit Porchlight and other theaters. Tickets are $55 and are available through porchlightmusictheatre.org.
• Itasca native Veronica Garza stars as the adult Cindy Lou Who, who's become a chain-smoking, booze-guzzling woman, in Theater Wit's "Who's Holiday!," Matthew Lombardo's adults-only riff on what happened decades after the Grinch stole Christmas. Previews begin Friday, Nov. 26, at 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. The show, directed by Christopher Pazdernik, opens Monday, Nov. 29. (773) 975-8150 or theaterwit.org.
• Six in-development plays will be part of Goodman Theatre's New Stages Festival, which runs Wednesday, Dec. 1, through Dec. 19 at 170 N. Dearborn St., Chicago. The lineup includes "Nightwatch," a play by Max Yu about a college dropout who discovers a family secret, and "Layalina," Martin Yousif Zebari's play about maintaining family relationships in times of global change. Both will have fully staged productions that will run in repertory. Other works include: "Fires, Ohio" by Beth Hyland; "Your Name Means Dream" by Jose Rivera; "Watching the Watcher" by Dael Orlandersmith; and Jo Cattell's "Hummingbird," a virtual reality experience taking place at the Electronic Visualization Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Chicago. (312) 443-3800 or goodmantheatre.org/newstages.
• Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, 111 W. Campbell St., Arlington Heights, remounts its production of "A Christmas Carol" with Steve Connell returning as Ebenezer Scrooge. Performances run Thursday, Dec. 2, through Dec. 24. Tickets are $30 for adults and $15 for students. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative test and masking required. (847) 577-2121 or metropolisarts.com.
• Midsommer Flight introduces a new, choose-your-own-path version of William Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night," which begins Thursday, Dec. 2, at the Lincoln Park Conservatory, 2391 Stockton Drive, Chicago. Attendance will be limited to 30 people per performance, during which audiences will choose which actors they will follow promenade-style through the conservatory. Tickets are pay-what-you-can. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination and masks are required. See midsommerflight.com.
• Collaboraction named entrepreneur/producer/developer Saudia Davis as its new executive director. The founding director for The Center for Creative Entrepreneurship, Davis led the development of the Kehrein Center for the Arts in Chicago.