Theater Guide: Holiday Curtain Call

"A Christmas Carol" at Goodman Theatre in Chicago

It wouldn’t be the holiday season without Scrooge, George Bailey and the Sugar Plum Fairies appearing on local stages. But November and December also bring other theatrical gifts, including some promising comedies and dramas that have nothing to do with Santa Claus.

You Can’t Take It With You

Nov. 6 – Dec. 13

A huge hit during the Depression, Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman’s comedy takes us into the home of the Sycamores — a zany, chaotic family of eccentrics, led by a grandpa who’s proud of the fact that he never pays taxes. The Pulitzer Prize-winning play became an Oscar-winning movie by Frank Capra, and in the decades since, its madcap sense of humor has never gone out of date. Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie, 847-673-6300

Never the Sinner

Nov. 6 – Dec. 6

Before he wrote Oscar-nominated screenplays for “Gladiator” and “The Aviator,” John Logan was a playwright in Chicago, where he penned this suspenseful drama based on the legendary 1924 trial of Nathan Leopold and Robert Loeb — rich Chicago college students who killed a 14-year-old boy, seemingly just for the thrill of it. Gary Griffin directs this revival. Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, 773-871-3000


Dec. 3 – Feb. 7

For the ninth time, Steppenwolf is staging a play by Bruce Norris, who won the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award for “Clybourne Park.” Norris often makes us squirm with discomfort even as we’re laughing at his off-putting observations of human behavior. With this script (which he’s directing himself), Norris finds dark humor in a marriage blown apart by a political sex scandal. Steppenwolf Theatre Company, 1650 N. Halsted St., Chicago, 312-335-1650

Holiday Shows

And while they aren’t specifically holiday-themed, these musicals should deliver entertainment that fits the season:

  • Oliver!” (Nov. 20 – Dec. 20) at Citadel Theatre in Lake Forest
  • Guys and Dolls” (Dec. 26 – Jan. 3) by Light Opera Works at Evanston’s Cahn Auditorium
“The Nutcracker” (Photo by Cheryl Mann.)

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