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Season’s greetings: Your guide to holiday entertainment

Holiday Magic at the Brookfield Zoo Saturday December 17, 2011.

Scott Hardesty/www.starphotos.us
Hinsdale, Ill, Dress rehearsal for Hinsdale Central Madrigal Dinner  | Joe Cyganowski~for Sun-Times Media
http://www.shanewelch.com
Ron Keaton is Marley's ghost, Larry Adams is Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol,”  through Dec. 21 at Drury Lane Theatre, Oak Brook Terrace. (630) 530-0111 or visit www.ticketmaster.com or www.drurylane.com.
Craig A. Meyer stars in “Piano Men: A Tribute to Elton John & Billy Joel,” a New Year’s Eve at the Paramount Theatre, Aurora. (630) 896-6666 or visit paramountaurora.com.
 JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound headlines the 17th annual New Year’s Eve Rock ‘N’ Roll Ball on Dec. 31 at the InterContinental Chicago O’Hare,  Rosemont. See nye.icohare.com or icohare.com, facebook.com/icohare, twitter.com/icohotel, or call (847) 544-5300.
“Holiday Magic,” with friendly costumed characters, continues through Dec. 31 at Brookfield Zoo. (708) 688-8000 or see brookfieldzoo.org.

Want to see the Sugar Plum Fairy float across stage, or Scrooge’s joyful change of heart? Or are you looking forward to a concert of your favorite Christmas carols? Our guide lists the concerts, plays, dance productions and other activities for the holiday season.

CONCERTS

“Holidays a cappella,” annual concert by Chicago a cappella, with Christmas spirituals, carols, Hanukkah songs and more, 8 p.m. Dec. 6, at St. Michael Catholic Church, 310 S. Wheaton Ave., Wheaton. $30-$38, $25 seniors, $12 students; tickets $2 more at the door. See chicagocappella.org.

“A Holly Jolly Christmas,” a concert by the West Towns Chorus, takes place at 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, 1:30 p.m. Dec. 8 at the Tivoli Theatre, 5021 Highland Ave., Downers Grove. $23-$27; discounts for groups of 10 or more. All seating reserved. Tickets and information at (630) 201-5544 or www.westtowns.org/Christmas.cfm.

Old-Fashioned Christmas Barbershop Holiday Concert, presented by the Fox Valley Men of Harmony chorus, with local quartets, and a sing-along, at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at First United Methodist Church, 232 S. York Road, Elmhurst. $10 seniors, adults and students, free for ages 5 and under. (630) 834-2440.

Christmas Celebration Concerts with the Chicago Children’s Choir Saturday, 3:30 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at Bethel United Church of Christ, 315 E. St. Charles Road, Elmhurst. $15-$35. Available at musicatbethel.com or (630) 279-4040.

Salt Creek Chamber Orchestra Holiday Concert, 4 p.m. Dec. 7, kickoffs La Grange Holiday Walk. $5 admission. First United Methodist Church, 100 W. Cossitt Ave., La Grange. (708) 749-0502.

Second Annual Christmas Concert begins 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at Notre Dame Church, 64 Norfolk Ave., Clarendon Hills. $10 individual; $40 a family. At the door or at the parish office, (630) 654-3365.

“Family Christmas Concert” of the Sinfonietta Bel Canto with the Combined Church Choir of Itasca, the Combined Handbell Choir at 7:30 p.m. Sat, Dec. 7, at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, 410 S. Rush St., Itasca. $10 adults, $5 students; concert is a fundraising event for area charities. (630) 384-5007 or sinfoniettabelcanto.org.

“Escape to...Star in the East,” a concert by Acappellago at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at Mayslake Peabody Estate, 1717 W. 31st St., Oak Brook. $17, students and seniors $15. (708) 484-3797 ext. 2, or email acappellago@acappellago.org.

Carolfest, featuring Handel’s “Messiah”takes place at 3 and 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8 at Christ Church of Oak Brook, 501 Oak Brook Road, Oak Brook. The program is free. Childcare and cookie reception will be offered at both times. Call (630) 654-1882 or see www.cc-ob.org.

“The Sound of Christmas,” songs by Elisabeth Von Trapp and Carolian Brass 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, at Wentz Concert Hall, North Central College, 171 E. Chicago Ave., Naperville. $30-$35. Call 630-637-SHOW (7469) or visit northcentralcollege.edu/showtix.

“Songs,” a holiday concert by the West Suburban Symphony with Chicago composer Thomas Maslan performing the world premiere of his “Christmas Piano Fantasy,” 3:30 p.m. Dec. 8 at Hinsdale Central High School, 55th and Grant streets, Hinsdale. $22 adults, $20 seniors (age 65 and older), $5 teenagers, and free for children age 12 and under. (630) 887-7464 or see westsubsymphony.org.

A Christmas Concert takes place at 6:30 p.m., Dec. 8 at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 505 S. Park Road, La Grange. Free nursery provided. A free-will offering will be taken. Call (708) 354-1690 or see www.sjlagrange.com.

Holiday programs , free and open to the public take place at Plymouth Place Senior Living, 315 N. LaGrange Road, LaGrange Park. Highlights include: 3:30-4 pm. Dec. 10: Rudolph Ringers; 2:30 p.m. Dec. 11: Holiday Music by Jeffrey Deutsch; 7 p.m. Dec. 16: Holiday dance show from Lively Arts Dance Academy; 2 p.m. Dec. 30: Opus Chamber Concert. Reservations are requested, and full schedule at (708)-482-6511 or crichardson@plymouth.provinet.com

“The Night We Stole Christmas” features Thirty Seconds to Mars, Queens of the Stone Age, Foals, Alt-J and Grouplove. at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 11 at Allstate Arena, 6920 Mannheim Road, Rosemont. Tickets are $10-$59.50 Call (847) 635-6601 or see allstatearena.com.

North Central College Jazz Faculty Christmas Concert, 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13, Madden Theatre, 171 E. Chicago Ave., Naperville. $25; $20 for students and seniors. Call (630) 637-SHOW (7469) or visit northcentralcollege.edu/showtix.

“Spirit of the Season,” the Christmas concert of the Tower Chorale, will take place at 8 p.m. Dec. 14 and 4 p.m. Dec. 15 at St. Cletus Church, 600 W. 55th St., LaGrange. Tickets are $20; $17 for seniors and students; children 10 and under free. See towerchorale.org or call (708) 505-9570.

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis at the Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora. 4 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14. $59 and $69. (630) 896-6666 or visit paramountaurora.com.

A Christmas Spectacular, the American Music Institute Faculty Concert, takes place at 2 p.m. Dec. 15. The free concert will be at Christ Lutheran Church, 60 W. 55th St., Clarendon Hills. Contact (630) 850-8505 or see .amimusic.org.

“Make We Merry,” Christmas favorites and new delights by the Elmhurst Choral Union and Orchestra, is 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15 in Hammerschmidt Chapel of Elmhurst College, 190 Prospect Ave., Elmhurst. Tickets cost $25; $23 seniors; $10 students. Call (800) 838-3006 or see elmhurstchoralunion.org.

“Holiday Traditions,” music from the DuPage Symphony Orchestra, 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15. Balcony: $25; $20 seniors, students and children; main floor: $20; $15 seniors, students children. Call (630) 637-SHOW (7469) or visit northcentralcollege.edu/showtix.

“Christmas Mystery, Christmas Mirth,” a concert including music of Morten Lauridsen by the William Ferris Chorale, takes place at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 203 S. Kensington, LaGrange. Tickets are $20-$25; $15-$20 students and seniors. Call (773) 508-2940 or visit www.williamferrischorale.org.

“Making Spirits Bright,” old and new holiday songs by Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus, 3 and 7 p.m. Dec. 15 at Mayslake Peabody Estate, 1717 W. 31st St., Oak Brook. $20-$35. Available at cgmc.org or call (773) 296-0541.

“The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” with cabaret favorites Marianne Murphy Orland, Beckie Menzie and Laura Freeman 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15. $30-$35. Madden Theatre, 171 E. Chicago Ave., Naperville. Call (630) 637-SHOW (7469) or visit northcentralcollege.edu/showtix.

Jazz Up the Holidays, a concert with Petra van Nuis and Andy Brown at 7 p.m. Dec. 16 at the La Grange Public Library, 10 W. Cossitt Ave., La Grange. Free, but registration required. Call (708) 352-0576

“Christmas with the Celts,” high-energy, fast-dancing Christmas music of Ireland and Scotland, 1:30 and 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 18, Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora. $30 and $35. (630) 896-6666 or visit paramountaurora.com.

Music of the Baroque Holiday Brass and Choral Concert takes place at 8 p.m. Dec. 19 at Grace Lutheran Church, 7300 Division St., River Forest. Tickets are $27-$75. Call (708) 366-6900.

Donny & Marie Christmas at 8 p.m. Dec. 20 at the Allstate Arena, 6920 Mannheim Road, Rosemont. Tickets are $49.50-$125. Call (847) 635-6601 or see allstatearena.com.

“Sinfonietta Bel Canto Benefit: Family New Year,” with light “pops” music, followed by a catered buffet dinner. 3 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 1, at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 5211 Carpenter St., Downers Grove. $40, $35 seniors and children; ticket sales deadline is Dec. 20. (630) 384-5007 or sinfoniettabelcanto.org.

Acoustic Solstice Show with Joe Jencks and Edie Carey and Heather Styka perform a special solstice show. This special event will be broadcast LIVE on WFMT 98.7 FM radio. 7:45 p.m. Dec. 21 at the Unitarian Church of Hinsdale, 11 W. Maple St., Hinsdale. Tickets are $18, $16 seniors and students. (630) 323-2885.

“The World For Christmas,” world carols and holiday songs from Broadway by the Lakeside Singers, at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, at Wentz Hall, North Central College, 171 Chicago Ave., Naperville. $30 adults, $20 seniors and students and $10 children under 12. Call (847) 382-5085 or see lakesidesingers.com.

Kenny Rogers sings “Christmas & Hits Through The Years” with special guest Linda Davis at 8 p.m. on Dec. 21. North Central College’s Pfeiffer Hall, 310 E. Benton, Naperville $85, $75; $2 processing fee for tickets purchased online. See northcentralcollege.edu/show or call the box office at 630-637-SHOW (7469).

Trans-Siberian Orchestra: ‘The Lost Christmas Eve’ Tour, shows at 3 and 8 p.m. Dec. 28 at the Allstate Arena, 6920 Mannheim Road, Rosemont. $40-$71. (847) 635-6601or allstatearena.com.

“Viennese Pops New Year’s Eve Celebration with an International Twist,” guest soprano Emily Birsan and the New Philharmonic in two concerts, 4 and 9 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 31, at the MAC Performance Hall, College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn. Tickets are $60 adult, $58 senior, $50 youth. (630) 942-4000, or visit AtTheMAC.org.

The 17th annual New Year’s Eve Rock ‘N’ Roll Ball with JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound, Cracker, Rod Tuffcurls and the Benchpress, Modern Day Romeos, My Blue Valentine, and top dance Djs runs 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Dec. 31 at the InterContinental Chicago O’Hare, 5300 N. River Road, Rosemont. Party packages start at $85. Ticket-only purchases as well as dinner and/or hotel room package purchases are available through nye.icohare.com. Or see icohare.com, facebook.com/icohare, twitter.com/icohotel, or call (847) 544-5300.

“Piano Men: A Tribute to Elton John & Billy Joel,” a New Year’s Eve show featuring singer /pianist Craig A. Meyer at the Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora. 6 and 10 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3; the 10 p.m. performance includes champagne toast and party favors. $55. (630) 896-6666 or visit paramountaurora.com.

EXHIBITS & EVENTS

Christmas Walk to celebrate the holiday season with festive activities and a visit from Santa at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6 at the Clarendon Hills Village Hall, 1 N. Prospect Ave. A free, family event. (630) 323-2626.

WSBA Festival of Trees, family holiday event includes a carriage ride, holiday treats, caroling and a visit from Santa. Tree lighting ceremony at 5 p.m., Saturday Dec. 7. Free. Tower Green, 914 Hillgrove Ave., Western Springs. Visit www.wsprings.com.

“Celebrate the Season Holiday Festival,” features tree-lighting, ice-carving, live reindeer, sleigh rides ($1), Santa and Mrs. Claus. 4-7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7 at Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Road, Wheaton. Free, with paid parking ($2/vehicle) Kris Grengle Market open 10 a.m.-7 p.m., free with paid parking ($5 before 7 p.m.). See Cantigny.org or (630) 668-5161.

“Hometown Holiday,” the annual La Grange Holiday Walk, includes family activities and entertainment at 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, in downtown La Grange, La Grange Road and Burlington Avenue.

Hinsdale Central Madrigal Dinner presents a Renaissance holiday feast complete with court jesters, town criers, musicians and the royal court of madrigal singers. 5 p.m. Dec. 8 at the Community House, 415 W. 8th St., Hinsdale. $27. Order from Jen Burkemper at jburkemp@hinsdale86.org or (630) 570-8452.

Holiday Flicks for only $1 are on the Classic Movie Mondays line-up, at 7 p.m. Dec. 9-23, plus a special 11 a.m. show on Dec. 24, at the Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora. On the giant screen: Dec. 9: “It’s a Wonderful Life;” Dec. 16: “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation;” Dec. 23: “Home Alone;” 11 a.m. Dec. 24: “The Polar Express.” (630) 896-6666 or visit paramountaurora.com.

2013 Classic Holiday Film Festival at the Tivoli Theatre, 5021 Highland Ave., Downers Grove. All shows $5, lineup includes: “A Christmas Story,” 7 and 9:30 p.m. Dec. 8; “Love Actually,” 7 and 9:30 p.m. Dec. 9; “Miracle on 34th Street,” 7 and 9:30 p.m. Dec. 10; “White Christmas,” 1:30, 4, 7, and 9:30 p.m. Dec. 11; “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” 7 and 9:30 p.m. Dec. 12; Two Christmas benefit shows, holiday music followed by “It’s a Wonderful Life,” both shows at 1:30 p.m., $5 donation, all proceeds for Sharing Connection Furniture Bank. (630) 968-0219 or classiccinemas.com.

“It’s a Wonderful Life,” with holiday music before the show, presented by IC Catholic Prep. 1:30 and 7 p.m. Dec. 12, $5. York Theatre, 150 North York St., Elmhurst. (630) 834-0675 or classiccinemas.com.

“Elf” holiday show at York Theatre, 150 North York St., Elmhurst screens at 9:30 a.m. Dec. 14. Admission is free and is sponsored by Elmhurst City Centre. (630) 834-0675 or classiccinemas.com.

Holiday in the Park begins at 1 p.m. Dec. 14 at the Community Park District of La Grange Park Recreation Center, 501 Barnsdale Road, La Grange Park. Activities include a hayride, petting zoo, bonfire, holiday crafts, refreshments and pictures with Santa. Free. (708) 354-4580.

“Christmas at the White House,” dramatic performer Jenny Riddle and singer Elizbeth Doyle tell the stories of First Families at Christmastime. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 16, Bethel UCC, 315 E. St. Charles Road, Elmhurst. $15 at the door. Information at jennyriddle.com.

A Polar Express event that features a holiday train ride visit from Santa Claus, games, refreshments and a reading of “The Polar Express,” begins at 4 p.m. Dec. 17 at the Oak Brook Park District Family Recreation Center, 1450 Forest Gate Road, Oak Brook. Registration for train ride required. (630) 990-4233.

Celebrate Solstice at 3 p.m. Dec. 20 at the Elmhurst Art Museum, 150 S. Cottage Hill Ave., Elmhurst. Family event includes holiday treats, seasonal drinks, music and a visit with Santa. Free. Stop by the Education Center to create holiday ornaments or pose for a photo in Mies van der Rohe’s McCormick House. (630) 834-0202

Going Caroling! at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 20. Join carolers, bring a flashlight and dress warm. Hot cider and cocoa will be provided. Free. Church of the Holy Nativity, 275 S. Richmond Ave., Clarendon Hills. (630) 887-7678.

“It’s a Wonderful Life,” hosted by Karolyn “Zuzu” Grimes, who played Jimmy Stewart’s daughter in the film, takes place 4, 7 and 9:30 p.m. Dec. 20 at Hollywood Boulevard Cinema, 1001 West 75th St., Woodridge,(630) 427-1880 and noon, 3, 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. Dec. 21 at Hollywood Palms Cinema, 352 South Route 59, Naperville, (630) 428-5800. Call for ticket prices.

Christkindlmarket, featuring food and holiday gifts, runs through Dec. 24 at Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington St., Chicago. christkindlmarket.com.

Christmas in La Grange Fine Art and Gift Gallery featuring one-of-a-kind gifts by over 40 artists and artisans runs 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday, through December at the La Grange Art League Gallery and Studio, 122 Calendar Ave., La Grange. See lagrangeartleague.org or call (708) 352-3101.

“Holiday Magic,” at Brookfield Zoo, 8400 W. 31st St., Brookfield. Enjoy a million lights, lighted displays, new laser show and new video light show, with Santa and Mrs. Claus on hand through Dec. 22. Runs 4-9 p.m. Saturdays & Sundays: Dec. 7-8, 14-15, 21- 22; Thursday through Tuesday: Dec. 26-31. New Year’s Eve festivities begin at 6 p.m. Dec. 31, with a kid-friendly countdown at 8 p.m. in the Hamill Family Play Zoo. Regular parking, $10, and admission fees apply: $15 adults, $10.50 seniors and children 3-11. (708) 688-8000 or see brookfieldzoo.org.

“llumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum,” 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle, runs through Jan. 4, The outdoor display of lights follows a one-mile, gently rolling, paved path. Dress for the weather. Food and beverages available at concessions. Opens 4:30 with last entry at 8:30 p.m. Entry includes Enchanted Railroad, starting at 4:30 p.m., and general admission, $15 Adult/ $10 Child (2-17). $5 transaction fee for all phone orders. Event closed Dec. 9, 16, 24, 25.

The Morton Arboretum’s 12th annual Enchanted Railroad runs indoors, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily, through Jan. 5. Free timed tickets with general admission, $15 Adult/ $10 Child (2-17), are available in the Visitor Center, first come, first served. Railroad closed Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. Arboretum is at 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle. Call (630) 725-2066, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. or see mortonarb.org.

“Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light,” runs through Jan. 5 at the Museum of Science and Industry, 57th Street and Lake Shore Drive, Chicago. For more information, go to www.msichicago.org.

“ZooLights” is open at Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 North Clark St., Chicago. The lights will be on nightly 5 to 9 p.m., Fridays-Sundays, (some exceptions) through Dec. 23. Then Dec. 26-Jan 5. Complete information at lpzoo.org.

DANCE

The Moscow Ballet’s “Great Russian Nutcracker” will be performed at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, at the Rosemont Theatre, 5400 N. River Road, Rosemont. Tickets are $26-$120. Call 847-671-5100 or see rosemonttheatre.com.

“The Nutcracker,” by the Joffrey Ballet runs Dec. 6-28, at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, 50 E. Congress Parkway, Chicago. For information, call (800) 982-2787 or ticketmaster.com.

STAGE

“The Snow Queen,” presented by the Children’s Theatre of Western Springs runs through Dec. 15 at the Theatre of Western Springs, 4384 Hampton Ave. Performances at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6 and 13; 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Dec. 7 and 14; 2:30 p.m. Dec. 8 and 15. Tickets $15; $7 students. Call (708) 246-3380 or go to www.theatreofwesternsprings.com.

The Second City’s Nut-Cracking Holiday Revue runs 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays, Dec. 6-22 at the Copley Theatre, sister venue of the Paramount across the street at 8 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora. Tickets are $35. See ParamountAurora.com or call (630) 896-6666.

“A Christmas Carol,” at the Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora, is at 2 and 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7; 1 and 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8; with two special shows, 9 a.m. and noon Monday, Dec . 9. $35 for adults, $25 for children 12 and under. See ParamountAurora.com or call (630) 896-6666.

“Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol,” presented by Organic Theatre, 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Friday, Dec. 12-13, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, at the Theatre at Meiley-Swallow, 31 S. Ellsworth St., Naperville. $30; seniors and students $20. Call (630) 637-SHOW (7469) or visit northcentralcollege.edu/showtix.

Yo Gabba Gabba Live: Holiday Show at the Rosemont Theatre, 5400 N. River Road, Rosemont. 2 and 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14 and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15. $22-$72. (847) 671-5100 or see rosemonttheatre.com.

“A Christmas Carol,” runs through Dec. 21 at Drury Lane Theatre, 100 Drury Lane, Oak Brook Terrace. Tickets are $15; a group rate of $12 per person for parties of 20 or more. Reservations at (630) 530-0111 or visit www.ticketmaster.com or www.drurylane.com.

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