- For some wild holiday fun, check out “Q Brothers Christmas Carol,” a hip-hop reinterpretation of the holiday classic created by the Q Brothers Collective. Directed by GQ and JQ and developed with Rick Boynton, it remixes Charles Dickens’ classic tale via musical styles ranging from reggae and dancehall music to dubstep and epic rock ballads. From Dec. 8-23 at Chicago Shakespeare at Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand. Tickets: $38-$56. Visit chicagoshakes.com.
- “8-Track: The Sounds of the ’70s” is a sung-through musical built around hit songs from the title decade. Devised by Rick Seeber and directed and choreographed by Jamal Howard, the show follows four young adults as they navigate their lives to the tunes of The Carpenters, Marvin Gaye, The Doobie Brothers, The Bee Gees and many more. From Dec. 3-Jan. 23 at Theo-Ubique Theatre, 721 Howard, Evanston. Tickets: $42-$54, dinner is an additional $29. Visit theo-u.com.
- Krista Scott’s adaptation of Charles Dickens’ holiday classic “A Christmas Carol” returns Dec. 2-24 at Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, 111 W. Campbell, Arlington Heights. Tickets: $30. Visit metropolisarts.com … Musical theater actress Angela Ingersoll’s “The 12 Dames of Christmas” features holiday tunes as they were sung by some of America’s legendary female singers. At 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6 and 1 p.m. Dec. 7 at Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriott Dr., Lincolnshire. Tickets: $55. Visit artistsloungelive.com.
- The Joffrey Ballet’s holiday treat “The Nutcracker” returns with live performances. Christopher Wheeldon’s reimagining of the classic sets the tale on Christmas Eve, 1892, months before the opening of the 1893 World’s Fair. Young Marie and her mother host a Christmas Eve celebration, after which Marie embarks on an adventure with the Nutcracker Prince through a dreamlike World’s Fair. From Dec. 4-26 at Lyric Opera House, 20 N. Wacker. Tickets: $35+. Visit joffrey.org.
- A&A Ballet’s “The Art Deco Nutcracker” is choreographer Alexei Kremnev’s fresh take on the holiday favorite. Set in 1920s America, the storyline is reworked to feature added scenes and characters, all inspired by the Art Deco era. At 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 4 at Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport. Tickets: $25. Visit aacenterfordance.org.
Comedian Ramy Youssef has brought his unique voice and perspective to the Golden Globe-winning comedy-drama series “Ramy” on Hulu. The terrific show is inspired by his own experiences as a first-generation Egyptian-American Muslin on a spiritual journey. While he’s been busy with the series (a third season was filmed last summer), he’s also made room for some stand-up performances. Youssef performs at 7 and 9:15 p.m. Dec. 3-4 at The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee. Tickets: $33-$59. Visit thedentheatre.com.
- The award-winning, multi-talented Leslie Odom Jr. captivated audiences as Aaron Burr in the Broadway staging of “Hamilton” and as legendary singer Sam Cooke in the film “One Night in Miami.” Now he’s touring behind his new holiday release, “The Christmas Album,” on which he reimagines timeless holiday tunes (“Last Christmas,” “O Holy Night,” “Little Drummer Boy” and more). At 7:30 p.m. Dec. 4 at CIBC Theatre, 18 W. Monroe. The show is sold out but resale tickets are available for $140 and up at broadwayinchicago.com.
- Now in its 16th year, Irish Christmas in America returns with its salute to the holiday season. Produced by Sligo fiddler Oisin MacDiarmada, the show features Irish music, song and dance with singers Niamh Farrell and Seamus Begley and dancer Samantha Harvey, plus a photographic backdrop of Ireland’s rich holiday traditions. At 4 and 8 p.m. Dec. 4 at Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln. Tickets: $28. Visit oldtownschool.org.
- The Newberry Consort and EnsAmble Ad-Hoc bring “A Mexican Christmas” to three historic churches. The unique program celebrates the diverse musical traditions of Mexico including classic villancicos (Mexican carols) and sacred polyphonic music from Mexico City convents. At 8 p.m. Dec. 2 at St. John Cantius Catholic Church, 825 N. Carpenter; at 8 p.m. Dec. 3 at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 939 Hinman, Evanston, and 3 p.m. Dec. 5 at Mother of the Americas Parish, 2226 S. Whipple. Tickets: $20-$50. Visit newberryconsort.org.
- After a long wait, the Minneapolis-based progressive-bluegrass band Pert Near Sandstone finally is on tour celebrating its 2020 album, “Rising Tide.” The five band members rejuvenate American stringband music with a raw energy while also respecting the genre’s roots. Horseshoes & Hand Grenades opens at 9 p.m. Dec. 3 at Martyrs, 3855 N. Lincoln. Tickets: $25. Visit martyrslive.com.
- The Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus returns with its holiday a cappella show, “Unplugged,” featuring 150 singers and 20 dancers. Among the performances are two spirituals by Jester Hairston, a new rendition of “Carol of the Bells,” a Hanukkah parody, and, of course, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” At 8 p.m. Dec. 3 at Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph; 8 p.m. Dec. 4 at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd, Skokie, and 3 p.m. Dec. 5 at Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th. Tickets: $25-$52. Visit cgmc.org/holiday.
- She & Him (Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward) celebrate the 10th anniversary of their holiday album, “A Very She & Him Christmas,” with a deluxe edition of the album and a handful of tour dates. The reissue includes a few new tracks, including a cover of Madonna’s “Holiday” and Wham’s Christmas breakup balled, “Last Christmas.” The duo performs at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7 at the Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State. Tickets: $36+. Visit ticketmaster.com.
- Chris and Heather’s Country Calendar Show celebrates the release of Heather McAdams’ 2002 Lil’ Country Calendar with 12 live acts plus 16mm films of music legends. Performing music by the calendar’s featured act each month are Devil in a Woodpile covering Roy Acuff, Scott Ligon’s All Stars covering The Kinks, Dave Drazin covering Martha Davis, Hawk Colman covering Ike and Tina Turner, Kelly Hogan & Co. covering The Boswell Sisters, The Lawrence Peters Outfit covering The Stonemans, John Connors covering Doris Day, Jane Baxter Miller and Kent Kessler covering Waylon Jennings, Joel Paterson covering Lani McIntyre, Phil Angotti covering Donovan, Eddie Korosa Jr. Chicago’s Polka Band covering Lawrence Welk and Andrew Sa covering Hawkshaw Hawkins. At 8 p.m. Dec. 4 at FitzGerald’s, 6615 W. Roosevelt. Tickets: $25. Visit fitzgeraldsnightclub.com.
- A Chanticleer Christmas features a cappella arrangements of holiday music both familiar and new at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7-8 at Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut. Tickets: $39-$90. Visit cso.org … The Civic Orchestra of Chicago performs Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos at 7 p.m. Dec. 6 at Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut. Free. Visit cso.org … Chicago a cappella presents its annual holiday concert series Dec. 3-5 and 10-12 at various locations in Chicago and suburbs. For more information, visit chicagoacappella.org … A holiday performance by the Rembrandt Chamber Musicians is at 3 p.m. Dec. 5 at Northwestern University’s Alice Millar Chapel, 1870 Sheridan, Evanston. Tickets: $12-$41. Visit rembrandtchambermusicians.org … A chamber choir, St. Charles Singers, presents “Candlelight Carols,” a mix of holiday favorites and lesser-known seasonal songs. At 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3 and 3 p.m. Dec. 5 at Baker Memorial United Methodist Church, 307 Cedar, St. Charles, and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 4 at Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut. Tickets: $10-$40. Visit stcharlessingers.com.
- “The Secret Forest” at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is a new interactive exhibit designed to connect young visitors with nature. Visitors can traverse an indoor forest and immerse themselves in a variety of natural environments. Featured are slides, exploration tunnels and a boat that can be steered on an imaginary river. The exhibit is ongoing at the museum, 2430 N. Cannon. Admission: $6-$9, children under 3 free. Visit naturemuseum.org.
- John Soss, longtime marketing guru at Jam Productions, has in recent years found an outlet for his artistic side as a collage artist. His side project began on bike rides and walks along the Lake Michigan shoreline where he collected all types of things that washed up or were left behind, ranging from lake glass and beach toys to rocks and driftwood. You name it, he’s probably found it. Photographs of the colorful and striking collages Soss compiles are the focus of the exhibit “On the Beach” from Dec. 3-30 at Tony Fitzpatrick’s The Dime Gallery, 1513 N. Western. Admission is free. Visit thedimechicago.godaddysites.com
Family holiday fun
- Brighten the season with a pair of Holiday Flower Shows at the Garfield Park Conservatory (300 N. Central Park) and the Lincoln Park Conservatory (2391 N. Stockton). The Garfield Park show, “Serenity,” features poinsettias as well as blossoming plants atypical for this time of year. “Candy Cane” turns Lincoln Park’s Show House into an imaginary swirl of holiday treats via red and white poinsettias, holiday lights and a 12-foot poinsettia tree. Admission is free; timed reservations are required for both. Visit chicagoparkdistrict.com.
- Lightscape, an after-dark, illuminated trail at the Chicago Botanic Garden, features a new walking path with singing trees and a light-filled Winter Cathedral plus other new features. To Jan. 2 at 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe. Admission is free; parking is $25; timed reservations required. Visit chicagobotanic.org.
- The Brookfield Zoo’s Holiday Magic turns the zoo grounds into a festive wonderland featuring the new Sea of Lights, a 41-foot-tall tree, a 3D walk-through gingerbread house, the Game of Gnomes scavenger hunt, a skating rink, holiday-themed food and a drop-off box for letters to Santa. Admission: $17.95-$24.95, timed reservations required; parking $15. Visit czs.org/holidaymagic.
- All decked out for the holidays with a dazzling light display, Six Flags Great America’s Holiday in the Park Lights in Gurnee offers seasonal performances, select family rides including the Columbia Carousel, photo ops with Santa Claus, activities like cookie decorating and more. To Dec. 30, $24.99+, no reservations required. To Jan. 9 there’s also a drive-through option on select nights; $17.99+, reservations required and each person in car must have a ticket. Visit sixflags.com/greatamerica.
- Parkway Bank Park, 5501 Park Pl. in Rosemont, brings back the Chicago Wolves Ice Rink, which offers families a chance for fresh air, exercise and fun. Open every day through Jan. 4 and select Sundays and holidays through Feb. 27. Admission is free; skate rental is $8. For more information, visit rosemont.com/thepark.
- The season’s biggest artisan event, the One of a Kind Show, returns with its usual vast array of work ranging from fine art, ceramics and fiber art to furniture, jewelry and photography. Nearly 400 artists will be on hand to share their inspiration and insights into the creative process. From Dec. 2-5 at Merchandise Mart, 222 W. Merchandise Mart Plaza. Admission: $10, children under 12 free. Visit oneofakindshowchicago.com.
- Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s virtual Holiday Artisan Market features one-of-a-kind gift ideas from more than 250 artists including onstage performers, backstage technicians, designers and community partners from the theater’s annual Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks program. Streams from Dec. 2-5. Visit chicagoshakes.com.
- Randolph Street Market presents a curated selection of antiques, vintage and modern artisan goods including decorative objects, housewares, fashion, jewelry, art and more. From 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays Dec. 4-19 at 830 N. Michigan. Admission: $10, children under 12 free. Visit randolphstreetmarket.com.
- The 32nd annual International Small Print Exhibition and Holiday Sale features work by more than 85 printmakers. Also for sale are textiles, jewelry, cards, t-shirts and more. From Dec. 3-19 at Chicago Printmakers Collaborative, 4912 N. Western. Admission is free. Visit chicagoprintmakers.com.