Best bets: Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, Joffrey's 'Nutcracker,' Midtown Men, Cirque du Soleil

Sounds of the season

The St. Charles Singers and the Millar Brass Ensemble, associated with Northwestern University's Alice Millar Chapel, welcome the holidays with choral and brass concerts that include the world premiere of “Huron Carol,” Andrew Wainwright's choir and brass arrangement of the early Canadian Christmas hymn composed for the St. Charles Singers. $40 adults and seniors, $12 students. (630) 513-5272 or 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1, at St. Michael Catholic Church, 310 S. Wheaton Ave., Wheaton, and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3, at Baker Memorial United Methodist Church, 307 Cedar Ave., St. Charles

Christmas at Cantigny

For the first time since 2020, the McCormick House at the Cantigny estate, 1S151 Winfield Road, Wheaton, opens for Christmas at Cantigny featuring walk-throughs, ice skating and light installations. Santa Claus and holiday characters visit the estate Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 2-3. Make reservations for the special Santa brunches Dec. 2-3 and 16-17. Admission is $15 for adults, $10 for kids, $10 to park. Brunch tickets are $34 for adults, $26 for kids 5-12, $5 for kids 5 and younger. 4-10 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, from Friday, Dec. 1, through Dec. 23

Tiffany-inspired florals

The Driehaus Museum inaugurates its monthlong holiday programming with the new exhibition “Glass to Garden: Tiffany Inspired Floral Designs” featuring contemporary floral creations on display in four rooms of the Gilded Age mansion located at 40 E. Erie St., Chicago. Saturday afternoon concerts celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, St. Lucia Day and Kwanzaa accompany the display. $10-$20. (312) 482-8933 or Friday, Dec. 1, through Jan. 7


Fans of “The Nutcracker” can experience different versions of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky's famous holiday ballet.

• Performances of The Joffrey Ballet's “The Nutcracker,” choreographed by Tony Award winner Christopher Wheeldon and set during Chicago's 1893 World's Fair, take place at the Lyric Opera House, 20 N. Upper Wacker Drive, Chicago. Tickets start at $36. (312) 386-8905 or Saturday, Dec. 2, through Dec. 27

• Performances of A & A Ballet's 1920s-inspired “Art Deco Nutcracker,” featuring 19-year-old Shania Cook of Schaumburg as Clara, take place at the Athenaeum Theater, 2936 N. Southport Ave., Chicago. $18-$55. (312) 545-2142 or 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2

Meet The Midtown Men

The Midtown Men, a vocal ensemble made up of the four stars of the original Broadway production of “Jersey Boys,” including Tony Award-winner Christian Hoff, Michael Longoria, Daniel Reichard and J. Robert Spencer, perform such favorites as “Winter Wonderland,” “Let It Snow” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” along with 1960s rock 'n' roll hits at the McAninch Arts Center at College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn. $62-$72. (630) 942-4000 or 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2

A cappella holidays

Straight No Chaser brings Christmas with an a cappella twist to the Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St., Chicago, with its “Sleighin' It Tour.” $39.50-$89.50. 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3

Hypnotist headliner

Hypnotist and comedian Chris Jones, host of the upcoming prank series “Double Take” on Facebook Watch, headlines The Comedy Vault, 18 E. Wilson St., Batavia. A former contestant on “America's Got Talent,” the Chicago native began studying hypnosis in graduate school. He has performed on “The Steve Harvey Show,” “Windy City Live” and “Good Day Chicago,” among others. $25. (630) 454-4174 or 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3

‘I don't want a lot for Christmas ...'

Musical icon and Christmas music chart-topper Mariah Carey brings her “Merry Christmas One and All!” tour to Chicago's United Center, 1901 W. Madison St., for a night of timeless fan favorites and holiday hits. $95.95-$408. 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3

Jingle Ball

Nicki Minaj brings the holiday musical season to the suburbs when she headlines the annual 103.5 KISS-FM Jingle Ball at the Allstate Arena, 6920 Mannheim Road, Rosemont, joined by fellow artists Jelly Roll, Big Time Rush, DOECHII, (G) IDLE and Kaliii. Tickets start at $40. 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 4


Cumulus Media and Chicago's Q101 celebrate the holiday with the Twisted CHRISTMAS concert series for four nights at the Byline Bank Aragon Ballroom, 1106 W. Lawrence Ave., Chicago. The Black Keys, Local H and ALEXSUCKS headline Tuesday, Dec. 5 ($100.25); Lovejoy, White Reaper and Brigitte Calls Me Baby play Wednesday, Dec. 6 ($70.25); Bleachers, MisterWives and Sincere Engineer perform Thursday, Dec. 7 ($75.75); and Young the Giant, The Gaslight Anthem and little image take the stage Friday, Dec. 8 ($75.75). 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, Dec. 5-8

Corgan and Garson

Smashing Pumpkins frontman and Madame Zuzu's Tea House co-owner Billy Corgan hosts a discussion with American pianist Mike Garson (David Bowie, Nine Inch Nails, Duran Duran) as the first of a series of programs at the venue, 1876 1st St., Highland Park. $75. 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 6

Holidays with Cirque du Soleil

Cirque du Soleil brings its holiday-themed show “‘Twas the Night Before ...,” based on Clement Clarke Moore's famous poem, to the Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St., Chicago. The soundtrack features holiday favorites and the performers include acrobats, dancers, aerialists, bicyclists, roller skaters and clowns, among others. Tickets start at $36. Thursday, Dec. 7, through Dec. 28

Cirque du Soleil brings its holiday-themed show "'Twas the Night Before ..." to the Chicago Theatre. Courtesy of Kyle Flubacker, MSG Entertainment
Nicki Minaj headlines the 103.5 KISS-FM Jingle Ball at Rosemont's Allstate Arena Monday, Dec. 4. Associated Press
The Joffrey Ballet presents "The Nutcracker" set during Chicago's 1893 World's Fair. Courtesy of Cheryl Mann
The Midtown Men, featuring Broadway's original "Jersey Boys," headline The McAninch Arts Center this weekend. Courtesy of The Midtown Men
A cappella troupe Straight No Chaser plays the Chicago Theatre Sunday, Dec. 3.
Comedian/hypnotist Chris Jones headlines Batavia's Comedy Vault on Sunday, Dec. 3. Courtesy of Mike Sansone Photography
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