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DE USURIS: 2018 HOLIDAY PICKSINSIX

DE USURIS: 2018 Holiday PicksInSix – “There is life outside your apartment!”

The 2018 Holiday PicksInSix comes from the long-running Mercury Theater Chicago production of "AVENUE Q,” a  rallying cry of sorts for the Chicagoland arts, entertainment and live music community. So, in an effort to help plan for a perfectly fun, furry, frolic-filled season with ghosts from Christmas past, Mama Rose and Toto, too, here’s the short list of not-to-be-missed shows, concerts and other holiday offerings.

TOP PICK: Our 2018 Top Family Holiday Season Pick is Porchlight Music Theatre’s “GYPSY: A Musical Fable” starring E. Faye Butler which has been extended at the Ruth Page Center for the Performing Arts through December 29th. For reservations, call: (773) 777-9884 or online. Read our PicksInSix Review and visit The List for more information.

ON STAGE: Goodman Theatre presents the 41st annual production of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” now playing through December 30th. The Tom Creamer adaptation is directed by Henry Wishcamper and stars Larry Yando as Ebenezer Scrooge whose magical Christmas Eve journey takes him on a supernatural quest for salvation and the understanding of life, death and love. The superb company includes returning cast members Ali Burch (Frida), Molly Brennan (Ghost-Christmas Past), Penelope Walker (Mrs. Fezziwig), Jonah D. Winston (Mr. Fezziwig), Sadieh Rifai (Belle), Breon Arzell (Dick Wilkins/Ghost-Christmas Future) and Paris Strickland as Tiny Tim along with exceptional new appearances by Thomas J. Cox (Bob Cratchit), Lily Mojekwu (Mrs. Cratchit), Kareem Bandealy (Narrator/Marley) and Jasmine Bracey (Ghost-Christmas Present).

Lookingglass Theatre Company’s new production of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Steadfast Tin Soldier,” conceived and directed by Mary Zimmerman, is a must see, that is if you can still get tickets to this runaway hit before it closes on January 13th. The whimsical, heart-warming love story between a discarded tin soldier and a ballerina is presented in pantomime with original music composed by Andre Pluess and Amanda Dehnert and musical direction and arrangements by Leandro López Várady. The stellar ensemble includes Christopher Donohue, Kasey Foster, John Gregorio, Anthony Irons and Alex Stein. Marriott Theater’s “Holiday Inn,” filled with buckets full of Irving Berlin iconic songs, is directed and choreographed by Denis Jones. Michael Mahler, Johanna McKenzie Miller and Will Burton star. The holiday continues to January 6th! … No other show reminds us of the importance of a single life than the American Blues Theatre production of “It’s A Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago” directed by Gwendolyn Whiteside.  The 17th annual production of the ‘40s era radio show tells the iconic story of George Bailey’s Christmas Eve reckoning with an angel named Clarence. The company and townsfolk of Bedford Falls are right at home at Stage 773 through January 5th. Brandon Dahlquist returns as George Bailey with Camille Robinson (Mary) and John Mohrlein (Clarence/Mr. Potter). … Paramount Theatre presents “Wizard of Oz” directed by Amber Mak with terrific performances by Elizabeth Stenholt (Dorothy), Kyle Adams (Scarecrow), Carl Draper (Tinman), Paul-Jordan Jansen (Cowardly Lion) and Caron Buinis (Wicked Witch). … Mercury Theater Chicago’s long-running production of “AVENUE Q” keeps finding its purpose on North Southport. Recent cast changes include Andrew Lund (Princeton), Molly C. Jones(Kate Monster), Jason Richards (Trekkie Monster), Stephanie Wohar (Lucy) and, on the evening I saw the show again this week, Shana Dagny (Christmas Eve) joining Dan Smeriglio (Nicky), David S. Robbins (Gary Coleman) and Matthew Miles (Brian). This high-energy, naughty romp is enduring proof that you can get away with saying – or singing – anything with a puppet in your hand, but only until December 30th.

SEASON OF CONCERN: Everywhere you go you will hear about the Chicago theater community’s commitment to Season of Concern. Consider making a donation at the next show you see and purchase a copy of the 2018 CD.

For your listening pleasure … There is live music all week long at Winter’s Jazz Club featuring Elaine Dame Trio 12/6Chris White Trio performs “A Charlie Brown Christmas” 12/4 & 12/18Paul Marinaro’s Sinatra Tribute 12/12Do-It-Yourself Messiah 12/17 & 12/18 is just the thing if you want to standout in a crowd … Chicago Cabaret Professionals present “MERRY MEASURES” on 12/3 & 12/4 for a good cause at Davenport’sRich Daniels and The City Lights Orchestra Holiday ConcertsJeannie Tanner is at Perry’, Eddie V’s and Pete Miller’s and Petterino’s is decked out for the season for Monday Night Live celebrating 11 years with co-hosts Denise McGowan Tracy and Beckie Menzie. Shows start at 7:30 pm, there is a special menu and drink selections  valet parking  and reservations are suggested. Still no cover charge.

THIS WEEKJoffrey Ballet presents Christopher Wheeldons’ “The Nutcracker” thru 12/30 at the Auditorium TheatreGoodman Theatre presents David Sedaris’ “The Santaland Diaries” starring the hilarious Matt Crowle as “Crumpet the Elf” thru 12/30“Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “Q Brothers Christmas Carol” at Chicago Shakespeare Company ... Lincoln Park Zoo Lights are ON!SUE has returned to The Field Museum. Be sure to check out The Last Speakeasy at Chicago History Museum on 12/6, Santa at the Driehaus Museum on Saturday and Sunday beginning 12/8 and the Skating Ribbon at Maggie Daley Park.

And, to warm you up on those cold winter nights at home, download our CONVERSATIONS podcasts with Janet Ulrich Brooks, Michael Weber, Angela Ingersoll, Larry Yando, James Earl Jones II, Kimberly Senior, Henry Godinez, Greg Cameron, Lili-Anne Brown, Michael Brosilow Matt Crowle, Rob Lindsey, Robert Sims and more on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Libsyn or on the website.

You can never go wrong if you tip generously and stay for the curtain call to acknowledge the terrific performers whose sole purpose is to make your experience the best ever! Happy Holidays!

PICKSINSIX(sm) a short-form commentary and review platform. Six words. Six comments. All you need to know to go. Like us on Facebook, Follow on Twitter. Read our recent PICKSINSIX reviews and be sure to subscribe to our podcasts on Apple Podcasts, Libsyn and Stitcher.

FEATURED LINKS: Check out THE LIST and for all the rest, visit: THEATRE IN CHICAGO!

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