By Elaina Bernstein By Elaina Bernstein | November 30, 2022 | Lifestyle
Whether reveling in the annual tradition of The Nutcracker or exploring new happenings, these festive experiences are sure to heighten the spirit of the season.
Joffrey Ballet’s The Nutcracker features an all-star creative team including set and costume design by Tony Award-nominated Julian Crouch.
Joffrey Ballet’s The Nutcracker
As winter approaches, so does the return of a beloved holiday classic, Joffrey Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker. Tony Award-winning Christopher Wheeldon’s choreography is set to the Lyric Opera Orchestra’s delivery of Tchaikovsky’s classic score under the direction of Scott Speck, Joffrey’s music director. The two-act ballet also features the work of Tony Award-winning lighting designer Natasha Katz and Drama Desk Award-winning puppeteer Basil Twist. Dec. 3-27, Lyric Opera House, 20 N. Upper Wacker Drive
Too Hot to Handel soloist Alfreda Burke
Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz Messiah
The jazz-gospel-rock-funk take on composer G.F. Handel’s traditional Messiah made its Chicago premiere back in 2006, and each year, the production has returned the weekend prior to Martin Luther King Jr. Day. This year, Too Hot to Handel is back for a 17th iteration at the Auditorium Theatre, and for the first time takes the stage during the holiday season. The reinvented classic showcases three soloists, Alfreda Burke, Karen-Marie Richardson and Rodrick Dixon, who will be joined by a chorus of Chicagoans along with members of Detroit’s Rackham Symphony Choir, a chamber orchestra and a jazz combo. Dec. 3-4, 50 E. Ida B. Wells Drive
Paige Thompson of Chicago Magic Lounge’s show A Paige in Time
Chicago Magic Lounge
Experience the real enchantment of the holidays at the Chicago Magic Lounge’s special programming this season. In addition to the signature show, which combines close-up magic, cocktails and an hour of performance by local magicians, the spot will also host a festive New Year’s Eve celebration show to finish out the year. Guests are treated to a tease at their cabaret tables, followed by a 60-minute stage show. Dec. 26-31, Chicago Magic Lounge, 5050 N. Clark St.
Lookingglass Theatre’s The Steadfast Tin Soldier features original music composed by ensemble member Andre Pluess and Amanda Dehnert.
The Steadfast Tin Soldier
Created and directed by Lookingglass Theatre ensemble member and Tony Award winner Mary Zimmerman (Metamorphoses), The Steadfast Tin Soldier draws inspiration from Hans Christian Andersen’s classic tale to retell the story of the persevering tin soldier with whimsical music and movement along the way. Through Jan. 8, Lookingglass Theatre, 821 N. Michigan Ave.
Driehaus Museum Holiday Events
The historic Driehaus Museum offers a slate of curated holiday programs this winter, including Santa and Aunt Holly Are Coming to Town on Dec. 3 and 4, when guests can chat and take selfies with Santa before joining in on a singalong with Aunt Holly. Then on Dec. 22, the museum will host holiday carolers on the porch to spread the joy of the season one song at a time. 40 E. Erie St.
Immersive Nutcracker’s projections are set to classic scores like “The March of the Toys”
The Immersive Nutcracker, A Winter Miracle
Lighthouse Immersive, the same production team that created the original Immersive Van Gogh exhibition, brings The Nutcracker to life in The Immersive Nutcracker, A Winter Miracle, in collaboration with Storywall Entertainment. The exhibit is set to Tchaikovsky’s classic score and features over 500,000 cubic feet of projections that create a mesmerizing story meant to entertain the entire family. Through Dec. 31, Lighthouse ArtSpace Chicago, 108 W. Germania Place
A Magical Cirque Christmas
For an out-of-the-box experience to ring in the season, check out A Magical Cirque Christmas, featuring Lucy Darling, whom David Copperfield has described as “an exceptional new talent in magic.” Paying homage to the enchantment of the holidays through a series of cirque performances, it’s a whimsical evening accompanied by live music. Dec. 3-6, CIBC Theater, 18 W. Monroe St.
Photography by: FROM TOP: PHOTO BY CHERYL MANN; PHOTO: BY KRISTIE KAHNS; PHOTO BY PATRICK HODGSON; PHOTO BY BY LIZ LAUREN; PHOTO BY PATRICK HODGSON; PHOTO BY JAMES MURPHY