A new holiday treat that hopefully will return

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

You don’t have to be a Jane Austen fan to enjoy ‘Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley,’ a world premier now at Northlight Theatre.

You merely have to appreciate that Austen incorporated English society’s attitudes and expectations of women, marriage and social position of the late 18th century in such books as ‘Sense and Sensibility,’ published early 19th century in 1811 and ‘Pride and Prejudice,’  published in 1813.

Cast of 'Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley' Charles Osgood Photography
Cast of ‘Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley’
Charles Osgood Photography

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‘Finding Neverland’ seeks story behind Peter Pan

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Take the creative minds of children and a Scottish playwright who wants to change from churning out formula plays for the London stage to recapturing his youthful imagination in order to write an amazing play, and you will understand ‘Finding Neverland.’

Kevin Kern (J.M. B arrie) and Tom Hewitt (Capt. Hood) cast in 'Finding Neverland' Photo by Carol Rosegg
Kevin Kern (J.M. B arrie) and Tom Hewitt (Capt. Hook)  and cast in ‘Finding Neverland’ Photo by Carol Rosegg

A touring Broadway musical in Chicago now through Dec. 4, 2016, the production reveals how J.M. Barrie came up with his world-famous, beloved ‘Peter Pan’ stories.

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Marriott young audience ‘Nutcracker’ good for all ages

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A charming and fun adaptation of The Nutcracker’ is at Marriott Theatre now through Dec. 20, 2016. As part of Marriott’s Theatre for Young Audiences series, the Mouse King is comic rather than scary but with deft direction and choreography by Matt Raftery, the show will delight all ages.

Cast of 'The Nutcracker' Amy Boyle Photography
Cast of ‘The Nutcracker’
Amy Boyle Photography

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‘King Charles III’ is an amazing theatrical experience

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In ‘King Charles III,’ a comic-tragic “future history” play, author Mike Bartlett brilliantly tackles Britain’s succession to the throne when 90-year-old Elizabeth II dies. His “what if” takes place within the perfect background of Chicago Shakespeare’s Courtyard Theater, a Globe and Swan Theatre-like setting.

Robert Bathurst at Parliament Photo by Liz Lauren
Robert Bathurst as Charles at Parliament
Photo by Liz Lauren

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Holiday fun times five

The signs of the season are there. Macy’s windows have come alive with moving characters, holiday market tents are going up in Daley Plaza, a giant evergreen is hoisted in Millennium Park and people are wondering if we should pray for cold to have good ice in the park or warm weather for good shopping.

The Nutckracker is at Marriott Theatre. Amy Boyle Photography
The Nutckracker is at Marriott Theatre. Amy Boyle Photography

No matter what the weather holds, here are a few of the jolly, holly ways to celebrate the season in the Chicago area.

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“Annie” will have you smiling

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“Annie” at Chicago’s Cadillac Palace Theatre now through Nov. 13, 2016, is a pre-Thanksgiving family treat.

Cast of "Annie" now at the Cadillac Palace Theatre
Cast of “Annie” now at the Cadillac Palace Theatre

The current touring production feels so fresh that even if you have seen past “Annies” you will be glad to be back watching Miss Hannigan’s orphans prance across the stage and a pugnacious Annie change everyone’s outlook on life and business from Oliver Warbucks to FDR.

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‘Fun Home’ tries to understand family truths and appearances

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‘Fun Home’ is an unforgettable show that just came to Chicago after winning five Tony Awards in 2015. Unfortunately, it is only at the Oriental Theatre now through Nov. 13, 2016.

"Fun Home" at Oriental Theatre with Kate Shindle (Adult Alison) l, Abby Corrigan (Middle Alison) and Alessandra Baldacchino (Small Alison) Photo by Joan Marcus
“Fun Home” at Oriental Theatre with Kate Shindle (Adult Alison) l, Abby Corrigan (Middle Alison) and Alessandra Baldacchino (Small Alison). Photo by Joan Marcus

An intimate, questioning look back at a father and family life from a daughter’s view during youth, college years and in mid-40s, the show probably deserves an intimate space.Read More

At Marriott, ‘Singing in the Rain’ has a glorious feeling

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While the Cubs spectacularly reigned Wednesday at the Indians’ Progressive Field, audiences were treated to a spectacular ‘Dancing in the Rain’ production at Marriott Theatre Lincolnshire.

Danny Gardner as Don Lockwood in 'Singing in the Rain' at Marriott Theatre. Justin Barbin photo
Danny Gardner as Don Lockwood in ‘Singing in the Rain’ at Marriott Theatre. Justin Barbin photo

Mobile phones checked Cleveland during intermission while MGM’s 1953 hit musical that starred Gene Kelly was brought back to life in Lincolnshire.

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‘The Magic Play’ is about a lot more than illusion

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

“This is just a card,” magician extraordinaire /actor Brett Schneider tells the audience. And so starts a little over two hours of Goodman Theatre’s fascinating The Magic Play.

Smaller than the Albert Theatre, the Owen’s space is perfect for appreciating Schneider’s magic. But playwright Andrew Hinderaker has put a lot more up Schneider’s sleeve than astonishing tricks.

Magician/actor Brett Schneider in the world premiere of 'The Magic Play' by Andrew Hinderaker at Goodman Theatre Photo by Liz Lauren
Magician/actor Brett Schneider in the world premiere of ‘The Magic Play’ by Andrew Hinderaker at Goodman Theatre Photo by Liz Lauren

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Three things to blot out 2016 election static Nov. 3-6

Instead of subjecting oneself to all the election noise on TV and social media, try to feel good about the world, at least for a little while, by going to a fun event. An old fashioned musical opens this week.  See what creative folks are doing with functional art. Visit an outdoor destination that has an unusual indoor exhibit this weekend.

Danny Gardner as Don Lockwood in 'Singing in the Rain' at Marriott Theatre. Justin Barbin photo
Danny Gardner as Don Lockwood in ‘Singing in the Rain’ at Marriott Theatre. Justin Barbin photo

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