By Magdalene Paniotte
With the festive season just around the corner, these must-see holiday shows are sure to delight children of all ages. Nothing prepares you for the holidays better than a moving performance for the whole family. Chicago delivers some fantastic productions. You won’t want to miss out on a ticket to these shows.
“A Christmas Carol”
170 N. Dearborn St.
Chicago, IL 60601
Dates: Starting November 17 through December 29
Now celebrating its 35th anniversary production at Chicago’s Goodman Theater, the Charles Dickens timeless classic “A Christmas Carol” is an ongoing family tradition during the holidays. The story is set in 19th-century England and is about the prominent yet stingy and moody Ebener Scrooge, a fearful character loathed by the town’s inhabitants as he goes about his day-to-day business. However, he quite suddenly receives unexpected and terrifying visits from past, present and future ghosts who convince him that he must immediately change his ways and become a kinder, more giving person, especially at Christmas time.
50 E. Congress Way
Chicago, IL 60605
Dates: December 7 through December 27
Among Tchaikovsky’s sublime “Swan Lake” and “Sleeping Beauty,” “Nutcracker” is yet another of the Russian composer’s most cherished holiday productions. This imaginative family tale is about a girl who experiences the great joy and excitement of gift giving under a beautifully decorated Christmas tree. However, she is ill at ease when her brother breaks a wooden nutcracker. It comes to life in the middle of the night amidst battles between multitudes of tin and gingerbread soldiers and mice! When Clara saves the Nutcracker from King Mouse, it magically transforms into a handsome prince who takes her to the Land of Sweets and crowns her as his princess.
Cadillac Palace Theatre
151 W. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60602
Dates: November 14 through December 2
Based on 18th-century French author Victor Hugo’s phenomenal complex narrative depicting the life of a man in a struggle to escape his dark past, “Les Miserables” is a great masterpiece of truly epic proportions. The main plot centers around the character of Vajean, a poor peasant haunted by the determined inspector Javert for petty crimes that continually loom out of proportion due to invariably relentless conditions of poverty. But to Vajean’s good fortune, Bishop Muriel takes pity upon him and through his kindness, inspires the protagonist to change his life by seizing the opportunity to help others.
Broadway Playhouse at Watertower Place
175 E. Chestnut St.
Chicago, IL 60611
Dates: November 23 through January 6, 2013
The beautiful fairytale of “Cinderella” once again graces the stage as a musical adaption at Broadway Playhouse, Watertower Place. This favorite children’s story is about a girl who suffers dreadful abuse of servitude from her haughty stepsisters. But one fine day, the Prince invites all young women in the land to the palace ball in search of a bride. Cinderella despairs when the Fairy Godmother appears out of nowhere and transforms her into a lovely princess. However, she warns the girl to leave the dance before midnight or the magic spell would be broken. When Cinderella makes her appearance, the Prince is utterly smitten by her beauty, endeavoring to find and marry her from a forgotten slipper left in haste, exactly at midnight.
“Hansel & Gretel”
Lyric Opera of Chicago
20 N. Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60606
Dates: December 7 through January 19, 2013
A beloved Brothers Grimm fairytale originally published in 1812, the flawless opera version of “Hansel & Gretel” by German composer Engelbert Humperdinck will be staged at the magnificent Lyric Opera this holiday season. The gripping story is about the two young children of a woodcutter at the merciless whim of his heartless second wife during times of famine. When she convinces her husband to abandon Hansel and Gretel in the woods to avoid starvation, the desperate siblings are led to a gilded cage that appears to be a gingerbread and sugar-coated cottage in the woods. Instead, it is occupied by a wicked witch who lures the children inside and attempts to cook them for dinner!
Magdalene Paniotte is from Chicago and very pleased to be a CBS Contributor. She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theatre and has studied creative writing at the graduate level. Maggie enjoys composing articles and developing her voice as a freelance writer. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.