'Tis the season for perennial holiday favorites like A Christmas Carol, The Nutcracker, It's a Wonderful Life, The Christmas Schooner and all of their many iterations and variations. But the end of the year is also bountiful in the number of productions with LGBTQ ties with lots of drag and other irreverent humor. Here's a roundup of some of those productions (all shows in Chicago unless otherwise noted).
Premieres of note
Christmas: By Melania, Uptown Underground, 4707 N. Broadway. There are lots of queer performers in the cast of this hour-long holiday sketch comedy show skewering the current inhabitants of the White House. (now to Dec. 19; UptownUnderground.net).
Tis the Seasonal Depression, GayCo Productions at Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway. Chicago's oldest LGBTQ sketch comedy troupe is back for a holiday hoedown of darkness and light. (now to Dec. 22; GayCo.com)
26 presents Happy Holigays, Pride Arts Center, 4147 N. Broadway, Zoom through the alphabet with 26 sketches hinging on the theme of LGBTQ holidays. (Dec. 2-16; PrideFilmsAndPlays.com)
The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes, The Holiday Edition, Hell in a Handbag Productions at Mary's Attic, 5400 N. Clark St. The hit parody show of the beloved 1980s sitcom is back again with plenty of drag and Christmas cheer. (Dec. 6 to Jan. 10; HandbagProductions.org)
WeFest (formerly SheFest), Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway. Molly Brennan and Malic White host an inclusive and intersectional variety show celebrating the work of non-binary and trans artists. (Dec. 11; PrideFilmsAndPlays.com)
Bette: Xmas at the Continental Baths, Hell in a Handbag Productions at Steppenwolf Theatre, 1700 N. Halsted St. Caitlin Jackson is back to portray the legendary "Divine Miss M" in a holiday concert commemorating her early rise to fame performing before gay men in towels. (Dec. 12-13; HandbagProductions.org)
It's a Fabulous Life, The Chicago Red Line at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. George Gayley wonders how life might have been if he had never been born in this queer spoof of It's a Wonderful Life. (Dec. 14-22; Stage773.com)
Sadhaus: Sad Christmas, Gingerman Tavern, 3740 N. Clark St. Wanda Scrooge doesn't get into the Christmas spirit in this drag-filled spoof of A Christmas Carol. (Dec. 15-16; Do312.com)
Revivals and returns
This Way Outta Santaland (and other xmas miracles), Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. Spend another festive evening with Mitchell J. Fain and friends now that he has his own holiday show that is not a revival of David Sedaris' The Santaland Diaries. (now to Dec. 30; TheaterWit.org)
The Buttcracker, Tom Boi Theatricals at Uptown Underground, 4707 N. Broadway. Last year's burlesque spin on the Tchaikovsky classic Christmas ballet turns bawdy at every turn in director/choreographer Darling Shear's production. (now to Dec. 20; UptownUnderground.net).
Rudolph the Red-hosed Reindeer, Hell in a Handbag Productions at Mary's Attic, 5400 N. Clark St. A special 20th anniversary edition of the musical spoof of the beloved 1960s stop-motion animated TV Christmas specials. For adults only. (now to Dec. 30; HandbagProductions.org)
Barney the Elf, The Other Theatre Company at Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. A revival of Bryan Renaud's drag-filled spoof of the holiday musical Elf (among other shows). (now to Dec. 31; TheOtherTheatreCompany.com/)
Dance-Along Nutcracker, Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St. Lakeside Pride once again accompanies this participatory and interactive performance of Tchaikovsky's classic Christmas ballet. (Dec. 3; LakesidePride.org)
Steamworks: The Musical, Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont Ave. A special New Year's Eve edition of the hit musical set in the famed Boystown bath house. (Dec. 31; TheAnnoyance.com)
Concerts with LGBTQ content
Brass Quintet, Lakeside Pride at Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St. Horns will be plenty in this concert dedicated to the brass instruments. (Nov. 29; LakesidePride.org)
Women's Ensemble Debut Concert, Lakeside Pride Women's Ensemble at Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St. The Women's Ensemble featuring female-identified musicians has been revived for a debut concert. (Dec. 1; LakesidePride.org)
The Last Speakeasy, Lakeside Pride Jazz Orchestra at Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark St. Celebrate the 1933 repeal of Prohibition in this special music and dance event. (Dec. 1; ChicagoHistory.org)
Caring by Sharing, Ebenezer Lutheran Church, 1650 W. Foster Ave. Professional cabaret, theater and opera singers join together for a benefit concert to support and remember those affected by HIV/AIDS on World AIDS Day. Proceeds benefit Chicago Dancers United. (Dec. 1; BrownPaperTickets.com)
Naughty or Nice, Chicago Gay Men's Chorus at Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave. (Dec. 1), then at Northshore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie (Dec. 9), then at Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St. (Dec. 10) Comedy sketches intermingle with carols both old and new in the organizations' annual touring holiday concert. (CGMC.org)
Caroling All the Way, Windy City Gay Chorus and Windy City Treble Quire at St. James Cathedral, 65 E. Huron St. Chicago's oldest gay chorus teams up again with its sister ensemble of higher voices for a holiday concert of classic and new carols. (Dec. 2; WindyCitySings.org)
Chita Rivera in Concert with Seth Rudetsky, Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St. Chita Rivera is the Broadway legend who starred in the original casts of shows like West Side Story, Chicago and Kiss of the Spiderwoman. She's interviewed and accompanied by the out and proud radio host Seth Rudetsky. (Dec. 11; Steppenwolf.org)
We Three Shows: A Broadway Holiday Benefit, Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport St. The touring casts of Wicked and BeautifulThe Carole King Musical team up with the Chicago company of Hamilton to perform a holiday concert to benefit Chicago House and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. (Dec. 11; ThaliaHallChicago.com)
Songs from my Holiday Closet, Uptown Underground, 4707 N. Broadway. A "HoliGay" musical revue featuring songs written and performed by L.T. Cousineau, plus other guests and members of the Chicago Gay Men's Chorus. (Dec. 12; UptownUnderground.net).
Editor's note: The author of this piece currently is a member of Chicago Gay Men's Chorus and has previously performed with Windy City Gay Chorus.