A Guide to Holiday Theater in Chicago
If the Tony Award-winning Kander and Ebb musical didn’t convince you, Chicago is a serious theater town. According to the Chicago Tribune, the Windy City is home to more than 200 playhouses and theater troupes – enough to practically guarantee tourists a good show whenever they’re in town.
This thriving theater scene embraces the holidays with a wide selection of offerings, from Christmas musicals with jingling bells and Santa’s sleigh to Broadway mega-hits and indie dramas that will hit you right in the heart.
If you’re staying at the iconic Talbott Hotel in the Gold Coast District, you’re just minutes away from some of the best holiday theater in Chicago. We carefully curated a selection of 5 winter productions to get you stoked for your holiday vacation with us.
A Christmas Carol (Both through Dec. 31)
Even the biggest miser would shed a tear at director Henry Wishcamper’s touching take on the Dickens tale. The proof is in the Christmas pudding – and the 1.5 million visitors who’ve seen the Goodman Theatre’s version over the last four decades. Looking for something less traditional? Drive just a couple minutes further to see the Q Brothers Christmas Carol, a hip-hop remix of the original featuring reggae, dancehall and dubstep tunes. It’s playing at Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier – a must-see spot for any visitor. Look for half-price tickets on Goldstar.com.
Hamilton at CIBC (Open Run)
While not holiday themed, this semi-biographical rap musical about the Founding Father has been the hottest ticket in Broadway since it opened in 2015. Most touring shows are sold out a year in advance, with tickets priced as high as a weekend getaway. Luckily, Chicago has its own cast in residence at least through mid-2018, and offers a digital lottery for 44 $10 seats online before each show. Get your tickets now, before they sell out!
The Nutcracker at Chopin Theater (Through Dec. 30)
The story is familiar. The choreography isn’t. It’s worth the 15-minute drive to see The House Theater of Chicago’s crazy take on The Nutcracker, featuring zero ballet moves and a ton of cheer-inducing musical numbers. The family-friendly production is a local staple, and includes puppetry and skits to keep little ones entertained.
It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! (Through Jan. 6)
One of several Chicago companies performing this Frank Capra holiday classic in 2017, American Blues Theater in the Belmont District does its vintage theater right. The actors wear period costumes, Foley artists provide the sound effects, and glamorous singers perform ‘40s style radio commercials on breaks. All that’s left is doing the entire show in black-and-white.
Potted Potter at Broadway Playhouse (Dec. 13-Jan. 7)
Fans re-watch the Harry Potter movie series every December because… Well, because they’re magical no matter the time of year. Plus, nearly every film has at least one iconic winter moment (remember the gorgeous horse-drawn sleighs in Chamber of Secrets?). In this hilarious spoof, British actors Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner present the plots of all 7 Potter books in just 70 minutes. It’s unauthorized, but PG enough for the whole family. The theater is located within walking distance of the Talbott; buy your tickets HERE .
Whether you lean towards traditional or trendy, the Chicago theater scene is massive enough to serve every appetite for a holiday show. Book a winter stay at the Talbott Hotel and you’ll enjoy world-class amenities and luxurious lodgings in the heart of Chicago. Dine with us at 20 East, then walk or take a short ride to a fun and festive holiday show.