Now a beloved Chicago tradition, The Goodman Theatre ushers in the holiday season with its adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic holiday story A Christmas Carol. Audiences look forward to the "bah humbugs," the electrifying arrival of the ghosts, the jubilant musical numbers and dancing, and Scrooge's joyful rediscovery of life, love and the Christmas spirit. Goodman's Carol continues to lift heats and spirits after four decades more than a million visitors, and the timeless holiday tale promises to be merrier and more magical than ever. The Daily Herald says the play is "the crown jewel of the holiday season" -- find out for yourself or relive the magic again.
A List of Holiday Plays This 2021 Season
With the holidays near, here is a list of a few shows that may get you in the holiday spirit.
Check back soon as we continue to add more shows as the holidays get closer.
Most Popular Holiday Shows
'Twas the Night Before... is an exhilarating spin on the beloved Christmas classic as only Cirque du Soleil could imagine. This festive show about the wonders of sharing and friendship promises to spark lasting memories in the hearts of families this holiday season. Join Isabella, a curious girl who's become jaded by the hoopla surrounding Christmas, as she is whisked away to an upside-down, inside-out world where she meets characters inspired by the original timeless poem.
George Bailey, the Everyman from small town Bedford Falls whose dreams of escape and adventure were stopped by family obligation and civic duty, has fallen onto desperate times. Only a miracle can save him from despair. Filled with original music and classic holiday carols, this critically acclaimed, warm "holiday favorite makes the bell ring every time." (Chicago Tribune) For 20 years, American Blues has treated audiences to a live retelling of the Frank Capra classic in a 1940s radio broadcast tradition, making It's a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! the second longest-running holiday play in Chicago!
Other Holiday Shows
Emmy nominee Angela Ingersoll captures the festive sounds of a dozen divas. Ingersoll is known for her outstanding Judy Garland in End of the Rainbow (Los Angeles, Chicago) and Get Happy Angela Ingersoll Sings Judy Garland on PBS. "The actress with the astonishing voice" (Chicago Sun-Times) joyfully shares her holiday bag of tricks with a haunting Judy Garland, a rockin' Brenda Lee, a purr-fect Eartha Kitt, a proper Julie Andrews, a soulful Edith Piaf, a sultry Marilyn Monroe, and plenty of surprises! Holiday favorites include "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," "Santa Baby," and "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree."
The feel-good cabaret hit was an online only last year. This year will be live and in-person at Black Ensemble Theater, performed for a limited audience. Some of the favorite numbers are holidays classics, including "O Holy Night" and "Go Tell it on the Mountain." Each production on the Concert Cabaret Series will feature a potpourri of musical styles including jazz, gospel, pop, rock, soul, and blues. Each will feature a variety of music, including old school, new school and in-between. Black Ensemble Theater's Concert Cabaret Series guarantees to lift your spirits and soothe your soul.
Brush up on your Yuletide trivia, watch as audience members play for actual prizes in this uniquely interactive show. Laugh as the show tackles the wackiest myths and most outrageous facts about Christmas, including jolly old St. Nick's origins and where candy canes come from. There’s also a hilarious quiz pitting boys against girls on stage to see who knows the most about the holiday season! Watch and laugh from the comfort of your own home!
Karol, a jaded cafe owner and former social worker must face the night she dreads the most: the Annual Christmas Carol concert at her cafe. As she prepares, she talks to the audience and welcomes carolers from around the city. By the end of the night the audience gets to know her real issue.
Dean Z, star of the hit internationally touring production Elvis Lives is bringing his high-energy Elvis tribute show to the Rosemont Theatre. This marks the first time his incredible show packs up from its home in Branson to come to the Chicagoland area. Dean Z - The Ultimate Elvis is a musical journey spanning the 20-year career of the "King of Rock 'n' Roll," from his rise to fame in the 1950s, to his infamous Las Vegas performances of the 1970s. Dean Z - The Ultimate Elvis Christmas Show will also feature some of your favorite Christmas songs! Dean is backed by a powerful live band, horn section and immersive video content for a truly unforgettable concert experience.
Deck the Hallmark: A Greeting Card Channel Original returns to UP Comedy Club after the play's smash run in 2019. Directed by Carisa Barreca, this festive two-act holiday movie parody scorches the cliches, tropes, and so-bad-they're-good romances that keep viewers hooked and former child stars employed. The show features actors Tina Arafee, Mitchell J. Fain, Sarah Lo, Karla Serrato, TJ Thomas, and Morgan Van Dyne with musical direction by Lisa McQueen and stage manager Shannon Golden-Starr. New material for 2021 was written by Barreca, Edgar Blackmon and Marla Caceres.
This toe-tapping tale tells the story of one particularly impressive Scout Elf who must help his new, human family remember the importance of Christmas cheer. Can this tiny elf, along with a host of North Pole pals, make Christmas joyous for his family once again? Featuring an original story and score, dazzling sets and costumes, and heartfelt moments that will bring the family together, this joyous and uplifting celebration will leave audiences captivated by the splendor of the season.
A traveling troupe of actors comes to town to find no one celebrating Hanukkah. They must put on a show to save the holiday! Will they bring back the spirit of Hanukkah to the town? Will Hershel of Ostropol outsmart the goblins who haunt the old synagogue? In this adaptation of the Caldecott Honor-winning book, the story comes to life with music, puppets and a little bit of magic for families of all ages to enjoy.
Based on the classic film, Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn follows retired song-and-dance man Jim's efforts to bring entertainment to his small Connecticut town. With the help of talented schoolteacher Linda, he turns his farmhouse into an inn and puts on spectacular shows celebrating all holidays. This joyous, family-friendly musical features thrilling dance numbers, laugh-out-loud comedy, and a parade of Irving Berlin's hit songs, including the Academy Award-winning "White Christmas."
Leslie Odom, Jr. is a multifaceted, award-winning vocalist, songwriter, author, and actor. With a career that spans all performance genres, he has received recognition with Tony and Grammy Awards as well as Emmy and, most recently, two Academy Award nominations for his excellence and achievements in Broadway, television, film, and music. Odom currently stars and performs the songs of legendary singer Sam Cooke in the critically acclaimed Amazon film adaptation of the Olivier Award-nominated play, One Night in Miami, directed by Regina King. His portrayal of the soul icon has been met with widespread praise and critical acclaim, earning him nominations for an Academy Award, BAFTA Award, Critics' Choice Award, Golden Globe Awards, and Screen Actors Guild Awards, among others. King also enlisted Odom to write, compose, and perform the film's original song, "Speak Now," for which he was nominated for an Oscar and has since earned him a Critics' Choice Award for Best Song as well as several other award nominations.
Do you remember the first time you heard the Christmas sounds of Mannheim Steamroller? You can again celebrate the holiday magic of Mannheim Steamroller in 2021 when they bring their annual holiday tour to fans throughout the country. While 2020 was the first year the group was unable to tour in 35 years, 2021 will reunite the No. 1 Christmas music artist in history with its legion of long-time fans. Experience the music that has become the hallmark of the holidays and a tradition for multi-generational families: Mannheim Steamroller Christmas live in concert in 2021!
Award-winner Kettenring's many memorable star turns include Broadway in Chicago's Wicked; The King and I, Funny Girl, and Oliver!. A storyteller sure to stir the heart, Kettenring tenderly chronicles Carpenter's troubles and triumphs with a familiar angelic radiance. Around the Town Chicago calls the show "Glorious... An elegant, tear jerking, sing-along concert event." Songs include "Close To You," "Merry Christmas Darling," "For All We Know," and "The Christmas Song."
Get into the holiday spirit with this classic story of the last-minute replacement Santa for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade who claims to be the real Kris Kringle. Be part of the studio audience for this live musical radio play adapted from the original 1947 Lux Radio Broadcast. This beloved holiday classic melts the most cynical of hearts and is destined to become a highlight of the holiday season!
In a cozy Victorian shop sits the hat of Charles Dickens, who once used it to carry water to the victims of a train wreck (that's true!). When a pair of bumbling thieves plots to steal it (that's imaginary!), young Kit sets out to foil their plan, save the hat, and free her father from debtors' prison. Filled with a host of colorful characters, constables, and carolers, this warm winter's tale with original music brings to life the universal lesson: "Beneath our hats, we are all the same."
Christopher Wheeldon's reimagined classic returns for the holidays. Follow young Marie and the Nutcracker Prince on a Christmas Eve journey through the 1893 World's Fair, a dazzling spectacle of sights, sounds, and enchantment. This annual holiday tradition celebrates the magic of the season and the rich cultural heritage of Chicago.
Chicago hip hop sensations, the Q Brothers Collective, heat up the holiday season with a wildly entertaining ad-rap-tation of Charles Dickens' classic. The crew mashes up hip hop with contemporary musical styles, ranging from reggae to dancehall music, dubstep, and epic rock ballads-all underscored with beats spun live by a DJ. Brighten your festivities with some cheeky spirit and a whole lot of heart. Fully decked out in the holiday spirit, The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare is strewn with more than two miles of twinkling lights as the ghosts of hip hop Past, Present, and Future lead Scrooge on a journey of rhythm, rhyme, and redemption.
Have a holly jolly holiday season with Chicago's famed improv and sketch comedy theater. The annual end of year tradition continues: Second City is coming to the newly renovated Copley Theatre, where you will never be more than 70 feet away from the side-splitting, song filled holiday spectacular. Whether you are on the nice list or the naughty list, this show will have you laughing so hard you shoot eggnog out your nose. Skip the long lines and shipping delays, and give the gift of laughter to everyone you meet this holiday season.
The House introduces a new wintertime tradition with a reimagination of Hans Christian Anderson's beloved fable. Lanise Antoine Shelley's new adaptation focuses on the Snow Queen, her seasonal relationships with the earth, and the power she is learning to wield. When she shares her magical mirror with cousins Kai and Quin, her world is thrown into chaos, triggering a race against time to undo the ravaging of the earth. In this heartfelt adventure, the Snow Queen must confront mankind's heartache and undo the pain that she herself has woven, in a story infused with The House's hallmarks of magic, puppetry, and music. The Snow Queen is a tale of redemption and hope -- and ultimately -- a celebration of all seasons.