Things to Do in Chicago Dec. 1-7: The Mix

Violinist Itzhak Perlman at Symphony Center, holiday fun at Skydeck Chicago, and the Pentatonix Christmas Spectacular are among the entertainment highlights in the week ahead.

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Hop aboard (just like Santa did!) a festively decorated full-scale “L” train replica at Skydeck Chicago in the Willis Tower, for a tour of Chicago neighborhoods via window video displays.

Hop aboard (just like Santa did!) a festively decorated full-scale “L” train replica at Skydeck Chicago in the Willis Tower, for a tour of Chicago neighborhoods via window video displays.

Skydeck Chicago

Theater

  • The world premiere of Vichet Chum’s comedy “Bald Sisters” follows two siblings as they settle the affairs of their late mother while also reconciling their family’s Cambodian heritage with its complicated American present. It’s an examination of the history, spirituality and humor that bind multigenerational families of immigrants together. Jesca Prudencio directs. From Dec. 1-Jan. 15 at Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted. Tickets: $20+. Visit steppenwolf.org.
Anthony Norman (as Evan Hansen, left) and Coleen Sexton (as Heidi Hansen) in “Dear Evan Hansen.”  

Anthony Norman (as Evan Hansen, left) and Coleen Sexton (as Heidi Hansen) in “Dear Evan Hansen.”

Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade

  • Broadway in Chicago presents the return of “Dear Evan Hansen,” the winner of six Tony Awards, including best musical. With a book by Steven Levenson and a score by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, it’s the story of a teenage boy who is given the chance to be somebody else and finally fit in. From Dec. 6-31 at Nederlander Theatre, 24 W. Randolph. Tickets: $39+. Visit broadwayinchicago.com.
“A Magical Cirque Christmas”

“A Magical Cirque Christmas”

Lou Baldanza

  • Cirque artists immerse audiences in the spirit of the season via comedy, music and magic in “A Magical Cirque Christmas,” a musical story in which the Guardian of Time finds he’s less than thrilled about the holidays. Magician Lucy Darling plays an optimistic Christmas fairy who despite her best intentions causes time to go haywire. From Dec. 6-11 at CIBC Theatre, 18 W. Monroe. Tickets: $20-$80. Visit broadwayinchicago.com.
  • Goodman Theatre’s “New Stages Festival,” its annual look at innovative new work, returns with six plays: Gina Femia’s “This Happened Once at the Romance Depot Off the I-87 in Westchester,” Nancy Garcia Loza’s “Rust,” Charlie Oh’s “White Monkey,” Jeffrey Lieber’s “Fever Dreams (of Animals on the Verge of Extinction),” Omer Abbas Salem’s “Modern Women” and Donja R. Love’s “What Will Happen to All That Beauty.” From Dec. 1-18 at Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn. Admission is free; reservations required. Visit goodmantheatre.org.
  • Porchlight Music Theatre’s Revisit series, which celebrates rarely seen musical gems, presents Sheldon Harnick, Jerry Bock and James Coopersmith’s 1966 musical “The Apple Tree.” Tony Award-nominated for best musical, it’s made up of three musical miniatures: “The Diary of Adam and Eve,” “The Lady or the Tiger?” and “Passionella.” At 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7 and 1:30, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8 at Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn. Tickets: $52. Visit porchlightmusictheatre.org.
“Twelfth Night” by Midsommer Flight at the Lincoln Park Conservatory.

“Twelfth Night” by Midsommer Flight at the Lincoln Park Conservatory.

Tom McGrath/TCMcG Photography

  • “Twelfth Night, or What You Will” is Midsommer Flight’s seventh annual holiday staging of Shakespeare’s romantic comedy. From Dec. 1-18 the play is set amidst the annual holiday flower show at Lincoln Park Conservatory, 2391 Stockton. Tickets: Pay-what-you-can (suggested donation $30). Visit midsommerflight.com.
PlayMakers Laboratory. photo by Evan Hanover

PlayMakers Laboratory’s “25 Years of Students’ Stories.”

Evan Hanover

  • PlayMakers Laboratory celebrates 25 years of arts education in Chicago schools with “25 Years of Students’ Stories,” a showcase of short plays inspired by students. At 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. Dec. 5 at Neo-Futurist Theater, 5153 N. Ashland. Tickets: $25. Visit playmakerslab.org.
  • Krista Scott’s adaptation of Dickens’ classic holiday story “A Christmas Carol” returns for the holiday season. Robin M. Hughes directs. From Dec. 1-24 at Metropolis Performing Arts Center, 111 W. Campbell. Tickets: $35. Visit metropolisarts.com.

Dance

A scene from the Joffrey Ballet production of Christopher Wheeldon’s “The Nutcracker.” | Cheryl Mann

The Joffrey Ballet production of Christopher Wheeldon’s “The Nutcracker.”

Cheryl Mann

  • The Joffrey Ballet’s critically acclaimed staging of “The Nutcracker” is choreographer Christopher Wheeldon’s reimagining of the holiday classic which sets the tale on Christmas Eve 1892, months before the opening of the 1893 World’s Fair. The story is now set within an immigrant family, where young Marie embarks on an adventure with the Nutcracker Prince through a dreamlike World’s Fair. From Dec. 3-27 at Lyric Opera House, 20 N. Wacker. Tickets: $36+. Visit joffrey.org.
  • Originally staged from 1965-67, Ruth Page Civic Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” is Chicago’s longest-running production of the classic. It features Page’s iconic choreography and guest artists performing alongside students from Ruth Page School of Dance Keystone Dance Academy. From Dec. 3-4. At Northeastern Illinois University, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr. Tickets: $10-$40. neiu.edu/tickets. Dec. 17 at James Lumber Center for the Performing Arts, 19351 W. Washington, Grayslake. Tickets: $15-$25. Visit jlcenter.clcillinois.edu.
  • “The Art Deco Nutcracker,” set in 1920s America, is A&A Ballet’s fresh take on the holiday favorite. For the first time, members of Trinity Irish Dancers join the cast. Dec. 3 at the Athenaeum Center, 2936 N. Southport. Tickets: $25-$55. Visit athenaeumcenter.org.
  • Follow Clara through her magical world via Ballet Legere’s staging of the holiday classic “The Nutcracker.” From Dec. 3-4 at Dominican University, Lund Auditorium, 7900 W. Division, River Forest. Tickets: $25+. Visit balletlegere.org.
  • “Nutcracker! Magical Christmas Ballet” features an international cast, including stars of Ukraine ballet, performing the holiday classic. Dec. 4 at Rosemont Theatre, 5400 N. River Rd., Rosemont. Tickets: $29+. Visit rosemont.com.
  • The best of Chicago’s nightlife entertainers present a saucy, alternative, adult retelling of the holiday classic titled “The Buttcracker — A Nutcracker Burlesque.” From Dec. 1-31 at Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln. Tickets: $30-$100. Visit greenhousetheater.org.

Music

Pentatonix

Pentatonix

Jabari Jacobs Photo

  • “Pentatonix: A Christmas Spectacular,” features the a cappella group presenting songs from its sixth holiday album, “Holidays Around the World,” a compilation of seasonal tunes and original international collaborations. Girl Named Tom, a winner of “The Voice,” opens the show at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 1 at Allstate Arena, 6920 Mannheim, Rosemont. Tickets: $25+. Visit ticketmaster.com.
Itzhak Perlman 

Itzhak Perlman

© Masterclass.com

  • Violinist Itzhak Perlman presents his collection of traditional klezmer music found on the album “In the Fiddler’s House.” The Los Angeles Times says it’s a chance “to see and hear a gifted musician experiencing the pleasure of getting in contact with his roots.” Perlman is joined by members of the Klezmer Conservatory Band. At 7 p.m. Dec. 4 at Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan. Tickets: $75+. Visit cso.org.
  • Celebrate the holiday season with the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus and holiday classics as well as some new treasures from musicals such as “Elf,” “Striking 12” and “Catch Me If You Can.” Chicago Tap Theatre performs with the chorus. At 8 p.m. Dec. 1 at Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph ($15-$50); 8 p.m. Dec. 3 at Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th ($28), and 3 p.m. Dec. 4 at North Shore Center, 9501 Skokie, Skokie ($27-$52). Visit cgmc.org.

Museums

“Mold-a-Rama: Molded for the Future” at the MSI.

“Mold-a-Rama: Molded for the Future” at the MSI.

Museum of Science and Industry

  • “Mold-a-Rama: Molded for the Future” is the story of the popular retro mold-making machines that for more than 60 years have pumped out plastic figurines to the fascination of young and old alike. The exhibit features a collection of popular, rare and experimental creations from the past. Visitors can take home souvenirs made by machines in the exhibit. Open through 2023 at Museum of Science and Industry, 5700 S. DuSable. Admission: $12.95, $21.95. Visit msichicago.org.

Holiday Fun

“Radiant Reflections” featured at Morton Arboretum’s “Illumination: Tree Lights.”

“Radiant Reflections” featured at Morton Arboretum’s “Illumination: Tree Lights.”

Morton Arboretum

  • “Illumination: Tree Lights” features 18 dazzling light displays including six new designs celebrating the Morton Arboretum’s centennial year. Among the new displays are light-enhanced shapes in the Grand Garden surrounded by lasers and lights set to music. Returning displays include “Treemagination” and “Hug-a-Tree.” Plus there are new interactive features along the trails. To Jan. 7 at Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Rt. 53, Lisle. Admission: $16-$27, children 2 and under free, advance tickets recommended. Visit mortonarb.org.
“Holiday Magic” at Brookfield Zoo.

“Holiday Magic” at Brookfield Zoo.

Chicago Zoological Society

  • “Holiday Magic” takes over the Brookfield Zoo with over 2 million twinkling lights including the “Sea of Lights,” a two-mile display synchronized to music, and large illuminated animal sculptures and a gingerbread house. Children of all ages can enjoy a scavenger hunt in search of 27 sneaky gnomes hidden on zoo grounds or go skating on a holiday ice rink. To Dec. 31 at Brookfield Zoo, 8400 W. 31st, Brookfield. Admission: $17.95-$24.95. Visit czs.org.
The “One of a Kind Show” at the Merchandise Mart.

The “One of a Kind Show” at the Merchandise Mart.

Jaclyn Simpson Photography

  • If it’s that one unique gift you’re after, check out the annual holiday One of a Kind Show, which brings together 500 artists, artisans and makers offering a wide-ranging collection of everything from fine art to handmade goods. From Dec. 1-4 at The MART, 222 W. Merchandise Mart Plaza. Tickets: $15, children 12 and under free. Visit oneofakindshowchicago.com.
  • Skydeck Chicago, the observatory on the 103rd floor of Willis Tower, and its interactive museum is decorated with holiday lights and décor. In the lower level museum, hop aboard a festively decorated full-scale “L” train replica for a tour of Chicago neighborhoods via window video displays before heading up to the Skydeck for a selfie with Santa by The Ledge overlooking the city. Skydeck Chicago, Willis Tower, 233 S. Wacker. Tickets: $22-$44, children under 3 free. Visit theskydeck.com.

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