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The 19 Best Dramas in Chicago Theatres This December

Tribes, The Little Prince, An Iliad, and Appropriate are all critic’s picks—and there are seasonal specials and a free show at the Goodman, too.

An Iliad, a one-man telling of Homer's epic, is at the Court Theatre through 12/8.   Photo: Michael Brosilow
CRITIC’S PICK

Appropriate

Through 12/8 The children of a plantation owner grapple with some gruesome discoveries after their father’s death in this Branden Jacobs-Jenkins play. $40–$60. Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N Lincoln. victorygardens.org

A Christmas Carol

Through 12/28 Larry Yando returns as Ebenezer Scrooge in this heartwarming adaptation of Charles Dickens’s classic ghost story. Henry Wishcamper directs. $25–$83. Goodman Theatre, 170 N Dearborn. goodmantheatre.org

A Christmas Memory And The Thanksgiving Visitor

Through 12/29 The Provision Theater artistic director Timothy Gregory mounts an apt stage adaptation of Truman Capote’s holiday-themed short stories. $15–$32. Provision Theater, 1001 W Roosevelt. provisiontheater.org

Detroit ’67

Through 12/15 There’s trouble in Motown in playwright Dominique Morisseau’s portrait of two African American men (Kamal Angelo Bolden, Kevin Ralston Jr.) who come upon a badly beaten white woman (Cassandra Bissell) late one night. Ron OJ Parson directs. $25–$75. Northlight Theatre, 9501 N Skokie, Skokie. northlight.org

Dylan

Through 12/22 Red Theater Chicago remounts this celebration of Dylan Thomas, the Welsh poet who advised against going gentle into that good night. Gage Wallace, quite effective as Thomas in Red Theater’s initial production of the piece, reprises the role. $16–$32. Red Theater Chicago at the Den Theatre, 1333 N Milwaukee. redtheater.org

Elemeno Pea

12/5–29 Two sisters grapple with their wildly varying life choices in this Molly Metzler play directed by Steve Scott. $25–$30. Redtwist Theatre, 1044 W Bryn Mawr. redtwist.org

Great Expectations

Through 12/14 A cast of six play more than 30 characters in Gale Childs Daly’s adaptation of the Dickens novel. $28. $24 seniors. Strawdog Theatre, 3829 N Broadway. strawdog.org

Haunting Julia

Through 12/8 The father of a musical prodigy attempts to find out what drove his brilliant daughter to suicide. $18–$28. Eclipse Theatre at the Athenaeum, 2936 N Southport. eclipsetheatre.com

CRITIC’S PICK

An Iliad

Through 12/8 If you missed Timothy Edward Kane’s virtuosic one-man telling of Homer’s Greek epic (adapted by Denis O’Hare and Lisa Peterson) when it ran last year, now is your chance to see one of the very best shows of 2012. $30–$60. Court Theatre, 5535 S Ellis. courttheatre.org

An Inspector Calls

12/4–1/12 When a London working girl swallows disinfectant in a grisly suicide, the upper-crust Birling family finds itself under interrogation. David Darlow directs a strong cast, including Greg Matthew Anderson and Nick Sandys, in J. B. Priestly’s drama. $32.50–$52.50. Remy Bumppo at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N Lincoln. remybumppo.org

It’s A Wonderful Life: The Radio Play

Through 12/29 Stout-hearted George Bailey wages his annual holiday battle against town meanie Mr. Potter in a joyfully realized radio adaptation of Frank Capra’s omnipresent holiday classic. $25–$40. American Theater Company, 1909 W Byron. atcweb.org

CRITIC’S PICK

The Little Prince

12/5–2/2 Whimsical acrobatics augment this Rick Cummins and John Scollar adaptation of the classic French novella about a stranded pilot and a strange young royal. $35–$75. Lookingglass Theatre, 821 N Michigan Ave. lookingglasstheatre.org

The Normal Heart

Through 12/22 The acclaimed director David Cromer tries acting for a change of pace, tackling the lead role in Larry Kramer’s drama about AIDS in the early 1980s. $37–$50. Stage 773, 1225 W Belmont. timelinetheatre.com

Paulus

Through 12/15 The playwright Motti Lerner gets biblical with his examination of Paulus of Tarsus (a.k.a. the Apostle Paul), whose Christian proselytizing from A.D. 58 to 64 outraged both the Jewish establishment and Emperor Nero. $25–$35. Silk Road Rising at the Chicago Temple Building, 77 W Washington. silkroadrising.org

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Goose

12/11–29 Sherlock Holmes investigates the case of the missing Christmas goose in John Weagly and Michael Menendian’s holiday-centric adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s fowl mystery. $20. Raven Theatre, 6157 N Clark. raventheatre.com

FREE!

The Solid Sand Below

12/8–22 The Jeff Award–winning director Jonathan Berry (Punk Rock) tackles playwright Martin Zimmerman’s (White Tie Ball) latest, about a troubled soldier who becomes an adrenaline junkie after barely escaping death in Iraq. Part of the Goodman Theatre’s New Stages Series (see The Upstairs Concierge). Goodman Theatre, 170 N Dearborn. goodmantheatre.org

Street Justice: Condition Red

Through 12/14 Chicago cops try to catch a bad guy operating in the vein of Al Capone. Mike Ooi directs. $10–$25. Factory Theater, 3504 N Elston. thefactorytheater.com

Trevor

Through 12/1 A Red Orchid Theatre ensemble members Mierka Girten and Larry Grimm portray caretakers of a mischievous chimpanzee. $25–$35. A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N Wells. aredorchidtheatre.org

CRITIC’S PICK

Tribes

12/5–2/9 Nina Raine’s play about a deaf man who brings his girlfriend home to meet his hearing parents gets a Chicago premiere. Austin Pendleton directs a cast that includes his fellow Steppenwolf ensemble members Alana Arenas and Francis Guinan. $20–$82. Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N Halsted. steppenwolftheatre.com

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