By Mark Wachtler
December 2, 2014. Chicago. (ONN) Stage 773 on Chicago’s north side is currently offering a Christmas-themed comedy-musical-variety show. Titled, ‘It’s A Wonderful SantaLand Miracle Nut-Cracking Christmas Story, Jews Welcome’, the live theater presentation runs through December 28th. The show is a vast mix of holiday humor that sets its sites not only on Christmas, but Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Halloween, the 4th of July and even Arbor Day. On top of laughs, audiences also receive complimentary just-baked Christmas cookies.
Show runs each weekend at Stage 773 through December 28. Image courtesy of Stage773.com.
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It’s A Wonderful SantaLand Miracle Nut-Cracking Christmas Story, Jews Welcome
The show has been described by critics as ‘chaos’ and ‘Elves gone wild’, in a good way of course. Our friends at Stage 773 in Chicago describe the holiday comedy production as, “packing the whole holiday season into one festivous, exciting, cheery merry show! Audiences will be taken on a seasonal adventure with singing, dancing, stories, interactive games and non-holiday specific eggnog.”
The website TheaterInChicago.com lists the show with the description, ‘Directed by Stage 773 Creative Director Brian Posen with choreography by Matter Dance, this family-friendly, interactive show features original Christmas carols, dance numbers, spoken word, puppets and everything in between. Stage 773 puts their own twist on the traditional holiday show, packing the world's most beloved stories and traditions into one extravagant cavalcade.’
Holiday-themed theater productions are very popular during the holiday season. So it’s no surprise that a number of professional theater critics have written reviews of the show. Unfortunately, the Illinois Herald doesn’t have the resources to attend the performances and tell readers ourselves how it was. So, we limit our participation to promoting theater productions and live comedy shows like those at Stage 773 as best we can, letting Chicagoans know that the Windy City has one of the hottest theater scenes in the country these days. We’ll leave the reviews to the professionals.
And based on the assortment of press reviews out there about ‘It’s A Wonderful SantaLand Miracle Nut-Cracking Christmas Story, Jews Welcome’, there are plenty of opinions to choose from. Most reviews were very positive, with the exception of one Scrooge who took issue with the holiday and religious-themed humor and the “all white cast” rather than the comedy itself. It’s appropriate then that audiences should be forewarned - the production takes many opportunities to humorously view Christmas through the eyes of non-Christians who celebrate the holiday anyway. Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are also humorously addressed.
A separate review from ChicagoTheaterBeat.com called the production from Street Tempo Theater and Stage 773, “an early present of mayhem, laughs, and a sprinkle of poignancy.” The two-hour comedy was described as being reminiscent of historic classics like I Love Lucy, the Marx Brothers, and Carol Burnett.
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The report goes on to describe, “The stage is designed with different levels, including an elf house, so that the surprises come from everywhere. There are some pretty cool musical numbers and the ensemble has great singers and dancers. When the chaos of the opening number is done, the vignettes begin. The story of a Jewish girl who wants to share in Christmas blends with the story of the boy whose family is evicted on Christmas eve. The story could have gotten maudlin and heavy but this is a show about miracles and fun.”
The production, ‘It’s A Wonderful SantaLand Miracle Nut-Cracking Christmas Story, Jews Welcome’ is running every weekend at Stage 773 through December 28th. Shows are Friday, Saturday and Sunday and are described as ‘all-holiday, all-ages’ and a family-friendly event with free cookies and giant messes that any kid can appreciate. Tickets are $25.
Stage 773 also proudly announced, ‘During the run of our Holiday show, Stage 773 is proud to serve as a drop-off site for the Greater Chicago Food Depository. We thank you for any support you can provide to this important cause. Please bring donations to the Stage 773 Lobby on your next visit.’
For more information, visit Stage773.com or call (733) 327-5252.
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