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The Top Five Things to Do This Week

Christopher Wheeldon’s Nutcracker, Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth, Randolph Street’s Holiday Market, Jerry Seinfeld, and Voices Heard

THE RAMBLER Jerry Seinfeld performs at the Chicago Theatre this week.   Photo: Michael Tercha/Chicago Tribune

The Five

Don’t-miss picks for Wednesday, December 7 through December 13, 2016

1 Christopher Wheeldon’s Nutcracker

Dance:The tutus are gone, a young girl’s riches are now rags, and a Tony-winning choreographer has a bold new vision: Welcome to Joffrey’s reimagined Nutcracker, nearly 10 years in the making. See “How to Reboot a Holiday Classic” for more.
12/10–30. $35–$150. Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress. joffrey.org

2 Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth

Theater:Everyone knows the granny-hunting wolf and the red-hooded ragamuffin who skipped into his path. But for playwright Doug Hara, there’s more to the fairy tale than a woodland excursion gone awry. Inspired by sci-fi writer Neil Gaiman’s take on the story (and featuring puppetry by Manual Cinema), Hara’s genre-bending show takes audiences down a rabbit hole of reimagined fairy tales.
12/7–2/19. $35–$75. Lookingglass Theatre, 821 N. Michigan. lookingglasstheatre.org

3 Randolph Street’s Holiday Market

Market:A potpourri of vintage, modern, handcrafted, and upcycled tidings awaits shoppers at Randolph Street Market’s annual holiday edition. The real winter treat? Complimentary gift wrapping.
12/10–11. $8. Plumbers Union Hall, 1340 W. Washington. randolphstreetmarket.com

4 Jerry Seinfeld

Comedy:The guy behind the “show about nothing” returns to his roots in standup, landing at the opulent Chicago Theatre for four performances.
12/8–9. $63–$175. Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State. thechicagotheatre.com

5 Voices Heard

Jazz:Curated by world-class jazz flautist (and Chicago native) Nicole Mitchell, this showcase features all black, female artists. It’s a deep dive into the “greater herstory of jazz,” highlighting the contributions of players—like cello virtuoso Tomeka Reid, performing Saturday—excluded from the broader canon.
12/10–11 at 3 p.m. $10–$20. The Promontory, 5311 S. Lake Park. promontorychicago.com

What I’m Doing This Weekend

Amanda Assucena
Amanda Assucena Photo: Cheryl Mann

Up next in our series of weekend plans from notable, in-the-know-locals: Amanda Assucena, who dances the part of Marie in the Joffrey Ballet’s production of Christopher Wheeldon’s the Nutcracker, which opens Saturday, December 10.

“I’m always kind of a homebody, and in the month of December, especially, I need to save my strength for Nutcracker performances. When I’m not tied up with performances, I tend to spend a lot of time with my cat, watching TV. I just finished the new Gilmore Girls series, which is very sentimental for me, and, since I tend to like anything fantasy or supernatural, I can’t wait for Game of Thrones to come back next year.

“I also spend a lot of time with my best friend Valeriia Chaykina, who also dances in the company. We like to go out to our favorite bars and get brunch, that sort of thing. We always have fun at the Godfrey—they have an amazing outdoor rooftop when the weather’s nice. For brunch, our recent go-to place has been Zia’s in Lake View. Great food and delicious mimosas. On weekends, all of their brunch drinks are bottomless. It’s a good way to kill a Sunday morning.

“But I won’t have much time for that this month: December is pretty much always Nutcracker season for me, and for the first time this year I’m dancing Marie—who stands in for Clara in our version of the story. This year’s Nutcracker is very different from what Chicago is used to seeing. As [choreographer] Chris Wheeldon likes to say, the original ballet is about ‘a rich kid getting more toys.’ But Marie is very different from Clara: She’s the daughter of an immigrant, she’s poor, and she’s longing for a family, for a place to belong. I think it’s going to be a much more relatable Nutcracker, and it’s very different visually as well—the design, production, and lighting are all spectacular. I’m excited to get the audience’s perspective when I get one of my nights off.” —As told to John Hardberger

Freebie of the Week

Lego Train Show

Seasonal:For 15 years, members of the Northern Illinois Lego Train Club have brought their holiday display to Wheaton, boasting hundreds of feet of miniature track woven through scenes both mundane and cinematic.
12/10–11. Free–$5. Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield, Wheaton. cantigny.org

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