HOLIDAY GUIDE 2013: Dozens more shows for the season

Thanksgiving is as late as it can be, and Hanukkah is earlier than usual this year, but the holiday shows always arrive right on schedule. From warmhearted theatrical classics to spicy newcomers, ballet to tap, traditional music to pop, we have enough seasonal entertainment to deck the halls from top to bottom. In addition to Chris Jones' 10 picks:


"A Christmas Carol": Some versions stretch the boundaries of "traditional," but even when Charles Dickens' tale takes on different forms — musical, silent-movie style, reggae/hip-hop, Klingon — it's still the ur-text of Christmas stories. Goodman Theatre, through Dec. 28; Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, Arlington Heights, Nov. 29-Dec. 24; Citadel Theatre, Lake Forest, Nov. 29-Dec. 29; Paramount Theatre, Aurora, Dec. 7-9; Drury Lane Theatre (children's version), Oakbrook Terrace, through Dec. 21

"A Christmas Carol, Abridged": Rachel Martindale adapts and directs a three-actor stripped-down look at Scrooge and the spirits. Dream Theatre Company, Nov. 29-Dec. 29

"A Christmas Carol, The Musical": Scrooge sings Alan Menken's score. Theatre at the Center, Munster, Ind., through Dec. 22

"A Christmas Carol: A Black and White Silent Play": Silent Theatre Company and Prop Thtr join together for this silent-film version with a live musician. Prop Thtr, Nov. 30-Dec. 29

"Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol": Tom Mula's version, told from the point of view of Scrooge's spectral partner in parsimony, returns with NightBlue Performing Arts Company. Stage 773, Nov. 22-Dec. 15

"A Klingon Christmas Carol": Commedia Beauregard's trip through Scrooge's story gets a makeover — much as the Klingons themselves did between classic "Star Trek" and "Star Trek: The Next Generation." Raven Theatre, Nov. 29-Dec. 29; also at Elgin Community College Arts Center, Elgin, Dec. 7

"A Beer Carol": Because after enough eggnog, everything sounds like Klingon. Drinking & Writing Theater produces a remount of Sean Benjamin and Steve Mosqueda's live radio play about evil CEO Bud Miller and his insidious plans to turn delicious holiday ale into run-of-the-mill swill. Haymarket Pub & Brewery, Nov. 30-Dec. 18; Athenaeum Theatre, Dec.19-22

"The Nutcracker": Not to be confused with the ballet, this production by the Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences features the Tchaikovsky score with additional songs by Marc Robin. Marriott Theatre, Lincolnshire, through Dec. 28

"It's a Wonderful Life": Three live radio-play versions of the Frank Capra cinematic favorite take the stage with foley operators in tow. American Blues Theater at the Greenhouse, Nov. 22-Dec. 29; American Theater Company, Nov. 22-Dec. 29; Oil Lamp Theater, Glenview, through Dec. 22

"A Christmas Memory" and "The Thanksgiving Visitor": Provision Theater presents a double bill of two Truman Capote stories, adapted and directed by Timothy Gregory. Provision Theater, through Dec. 29

"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical": You're humming "Silver and Gold" right now, aren't you? Broadway in Chicago, Emerald City Theatre and Milwaukee's First Stage present this live version of the stop-motion animated classic, directed by First Stage's Jeff Frank. Broadway Playhouse, through Dec. 29


"A John Waters Christmas": He better get them cha-cha heels! The creator of one of the most hilariously awful Christmas mornings ever committed to celluloid (that would be 1974's "Female Trouble") puts its spin on the holiday in this live comedy extravaganza. City Winery, Dec. 1

The Second City: A few different comedy options for laughing through the holiday mayhem, on Wells Street and elsewhere. "The Second City's Dysfunctional Holiday Show," at Second City, Nov. 23-Dec. 30; "The Second City's Miracle on Wells St.," in the UP Comedy Club, Nov. 27-Dec. 31; "The Second City's Holidays in the Heights," at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, Arlington Heights, Dec. 5-31; "The Second City's Nut-Cracking Holiday Revue," at the Paramount Theatre, Aurora, Dec. 6-22, and James Lumber Center for the Performing Arts, College of Lake County, Grayslake, Dec. 10

"The Santaland Diaries": Theater Wit celebrates 10 years of staging David Sedaris' dyspeptic portrait of life as a Macy's elf (adapted by Joe Mantello) with Mitchell Fain back in tights as "Crumpet." Theater Wit, Nov. 22-Dec. 29

"We Three Lizas": About Face Theatre's holiday musical about three Lizas-with-a-Z helping a disgruntled box maker recover his holiday pizazz returns with a new book by Scott Bradley and an expanded score by Alan Schmuckler. Stage 773, Nov. 27-Jan. 5

"Christmas Dearest":

Or if Joan Crawford is more your cup of Christmas tea, Hell in a Handbag presents founder David Cerda (he of the Crawford tribute band The Joans) as Christina's Mommie on a night when wire hangers are the least of her worries. Mary's Attic, Nov. 29-Dec. 29