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The best things to do in Chicago this month,
selected by our culture criticsJanuary 2016

Theater
Musicals

Abby Mueller as Carole King in ‘Beautiful’
Abby Mueller as Carole King in Beautiful Photo: Joan Marcus

BEAUTIFUL

Through 2/21 It’s a sister act of sorts in the jukebox musical detailing the career of Carole King, with Abby Mueller stepping into the lead role created by her Tony-winning sister, Jessie. The show charts King’s rise from Brooklyn teen to hit-making composer and performer. $30–$135. Broadway in Chicago at Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph. broadwayinchicago.com

A CHRISTMAS STORY

Through 1/3 Nick Bowling directs the holiday tale of boozy Santas, last-minute Chinese food, and the ever-present threat that somebody’s gonna shoot an eye out. $41–$56. Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena, Aurora. paramountaurora.com

DYNAMITE DIVAS

Through 1/24 Black Ensemble Theater’s executive director, Jackie Taylor, revises a show she debuted in 2001, raising the roof with the music of Aretha Franklin, Nancy Wilson, Nina Simone, Gladys Knight, and Roberta Flack, among others. The updated score features additional divas, including Mariah Carey and Beyoncé. $55–$65. Black Ensemble Theater, 4450 N. Clark. blackensemble.org

GUYS AND DOLLS

Through 1/3 New York City is awash in gamblers, missionaries, showgirls, and show-tune standards in this musical based on stories by Damon Runyon. $34–$96. Light Opera Works at Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson. light-opera-works.org

HIGH FIDELITY

1/29–2/29 The 2006 musical based on Nick Hornby’s best-selling 1996 novel follows a rock-snob record store owner trying to win back his girlfriend with the perfect mixtape. Tom Kitt’s score emulates the genres that shape the story’s list-obsessed antihero; listen for references to Springsteen, Percy Sledge, Talking Heads, and Aretha, among others. $20. Refuge Theatre Project at the Flatiron Arts Building, 1579 N. Milwaukee. refugetheatre.com

THE LION KING

Through 1/17 The epic tale of a young lion coming of age after the death of his beloved father continues to draw audiences, 18 years after its original Broadway run and 21 years after the 1994 Disney animated movie upon which the musical is based. $35–$170. Broadway in Chicago at Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph. broadwayinchicago.com

MY WAY: A MUSICAL TRIBUTE TO FRANK SINATRA

Through 1/10 Songs made famous by that skinny kid from Jersey pack this revue from music director Jeremy Ramey and director Fred Anzevino. $20–$59. Theo Ubique at No Exit Cafe, 6970 N. Glenwood. theo-u.com

TREASURE ISLAND

Through 1/31 With director Mary Zimmerman’s stunning aesthetic and actor Lawrence DiStasi’s shape-shifting prowess, this new adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic is one of the most rip-roaring experiences of the season. $50–$115. Lookingglass, 821 N. Michigan. lookingglasstheatre.org

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