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The 10 best holiday performances in the Loop

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Posted  11 days ago  in  Trending, Things to Do, Arts and Culture

6 MIN READ – Theatre in the Loop is back, and there’s no better time to enjoy a spectacular live performance than during the holiday season. Get in the spirit of the most wonderful time of the year by checking out one, two, or all of these 10 best holiday performances in the Loop. Learn more about downtown holiday happenings by checking out our Holidays in the Loop guide here.


Teatro ZinZanni

When: Now playing
Where: Spiegeltent ZaZou – Cambria Hotel, 32 W. Randolph St.

Described as the “Kit Kat Klub on acid,” Teatro ZinZanni brings to Chicago an international cast of premier entertainers for its anticipated engagement. Teatro ZinZanni’s founder Norm Langill will continue to direct the production. The menu will continue to be designed by Chicago’s own Debbie Sharpe – The Goddess of The Goddess and Grocer. The included four-course gourmet feast features multiple entrée selections, including vegan options. A fabulous ala carte cocktail menu, wine and beer list, and special occasion treats round out the dining experience.

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Disney’s Frozen

When: Nov. 19, 2021-Jan. 22, 2022
Where: Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph St.

From the producer of The Lion King and Aladdin, Frozen, the Tony-nominated Best Musical, is now on tour across North America and the critics rave, “It’s simply magical!” (LA Daily News). Heralded by The New Yorker as “thrilling” and “genuinely moving,” Frozen features the songs you know and love from the original Oscar-winning film, plus an expanded score with a dozen new numbers by the film’s songwriters, Oscar winner Kristen Anderson-Lopez and EGOT winner Robert Lopez. Oscar winner Jennifer Lee (book), Tony and Olivier Award winner Michael Grandage (director), and Tony winner Rob Ashford (choreographer) round out the creative team that has won a cumulative 16 Tony Awards. An unforgettable theatrical experience filled with sensational special effects, stunning sets and costumes, and powerhouse performances, Frozen is everything you want in a musical: It’s moving. It’s spectacular. And above all, it’s pure Broadway joy.

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A Christmas Carol

When: Nov. 20-Dec. 31
Where: Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St.

Chicago’s “perfect holiday treat for the family” (ABC-7) returns to stage for its 44th annual production—following the popular 2020 Audio Adaptation, experienced by 100,000+ worldwide. Goodman Theatre’s classic A Christmas Carol is the heartwarming story of Ebenezer Scrooge’s discovery of kindness, compassion and redemption—a must-see Chicago holiday tradition now in its fifth decade, enjoyed by nearly 2 million theatergoers. “Topnotch performances, spirited song-and-dance numbers” (Newcity), “amazing sets, gorgeous costumes and eye-popping effects” (Chicago Reader) bring to life “the best Christmas story ever told” (Time Out Chicago).

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Home Alone in Concert with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

When: Nov. 26-28
Where: Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave.

Don’t miss this beloved holiday favorite on the big screen at Symphony Center as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performs John Williams’ delightful, Academy Award-nominated score. Home Alone is hilarious, heart-warming fun for the entire family.

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‘Twas the Night Before… by Cirque du Soleil

When: Nov. 26-Dec. 5
Where: The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St.

’Twas the Night Before… by Cirque du Soleil is the exhilarating spin on the beloved Christmas classic as only Cirque du Soleil can imagine. This vibrant acrobatic spectacle about the joy of sharing and friendship promises to spark lasting memories in the hearts of children and adults alike. Cirque du Soleil’s first-ever Christmas show, ’Twas the Night Before… is a flurry of Christmas cheer, rip-roaring fun and hugely lovable characters, while introducing audiences to the magic of Cirque du Soleil and helping families create new holiday traditions.

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Leslie Odom, Jr. – The Christmas Tour

When: Dec. 4
Where: CIBC Theatre, 18 W. Monroe St.

Leslie Odom, Jr., is a multifaceted, award-winning vocalist, songwriter, author and actor. With a career that spans all performance genres, he has received recognition with Tony and Grammy Awards as well as Emmy and, most recently, two Academy Award nominations for his excellence and achievements in Broadway, television, film and music. Odom most recently starred in the critically acclaimed Amazon film adaptation of One Night in Miami…, in which he performed the songs of legendary singer Sam Cooke. His portrayal of the soul icon and musical performance of the original song “Speak Now” was met with widespread praise and critical acclaim, earning him multiple award nominations. He can currently be heard voicing the character of Owen Tillerman in Season 2 of the Apple TV+ animated musical-comedy series Central Park and starring in David Chase’s Sopranos prequel Many Saints of Newark.

A&A Ballet’s The Art Deco Nutcracker

When: Dec. 4
Where: Athenaeum Theater, 2936 N. Southport Ave.

Set in 1920s America, A&A Ballet's The Art Deco Nutcracker, featuring Tchaikovsky's beloved score, is a fresh, yet traditional take on the beloved holiday favorite. The Chicago Tribune has described it as “A glossy rendition filled with gorgeous, glitzy costumes,” and The Cincinnati Enquirer writes that Kremnev has “brought dance to a whole new level.” The Art Deco Nutcracker is Kremnev's eighth full-length ballet. His work has been presented at the world-renowned Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Lincoln Center in New York, and the Opernhaus Zurich in Switzerland, among other prestigious venues across the globe. The Huffington Post describes his choreography as “encompassing the best and brilliance of what movement can be while breaking boundaries of what we know.”

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The Joffrey Ballet’s The Nutcracker

When: Dec. 4-26
Where: Lyric Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Drive

The Joffrey Ballet's The Nutcracker is a must-see tradition boldly reimagined for a new generation. Christopher Wheeldon’s reimagined classic follows young Marie and the Nutcracker Prince on a Christmas Eve journey through the 1893 World’s Fair, a dazzling spectacle of sights, sounds and enchantment. This annual holiday tradition celebrates the magic of the season and the rich cultural heritage of Chicago. 

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Sarah Brightman – A Christmas Symphony

When: Dec. 10
Where: Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Ida B. Wells Drive

The world’s biggest-selling soprano and legendary Grammy Award-nominated artist, Sarah Brightman, begins a new Christmas tradition this year with her first-ever A Christmas Symphony Tour. Last year, Brightman entertained with her first-ever Christmas livestream concert Sarah Brightman: A Christmas Symphony, and it warmed hearts worldwide as the ultimate holiday event. Given the overwhelming response, and in celebration of her favorite time of year, Brightman begins a new Christmas tradition this year with her first-ever A Christmas Symphony Tour. Accompanied by an orchestra and a choir, Brightman decks the halls with show-stopping renditions of classics from the Christmas canon, along with personal holiday favorites and her greatest hits. A Christmas Symphony is sure to be an unforgettable Christmas spectacle during the most wonderful time of the year.

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Merry, Merry Chicago!

Where: Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave.
When: Dec. 17-23

Chicago’s favorite musical holiday celebration returns to Symphony Center: Merry, Merry Chicago! Members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and special guests share music of the holiday season in this festive program for the whole family.

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Get half-price tickets with Hot Tix

Make sure to check out Hot Tix to see if half-price tickets are available for your favorite Chicago holiday theatre performances in the Loop and beyond! Visit HotTix.org in advance or stop by the two Loop locations, 108 N. State St. at Guest Services inside of Block 37 or 72 E. Randolph St., to purchase tickets.

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Getting to the Loop

Learn about all the ways you can get to the Loop here. If you’re driving, download iParkit for the best off-street parking options that are close to theaters and show venues. Sign up for iParkit Express and get 20% off your first 5 uses. Get the best prices just by scanning your Express pass at the most convenient public parking garages. iParkit is touchless and you don’t need to prepay. Get your receipt emailed to you when you leave. Download iParkit and save!