For the last 10 years, Steppenwolf Theatre Company's Traffic series has joined artists of all disciplines to cast them as storytellers in one-night-only presentations on the Steppenwolf stage. From Dec. 1-18, Steppenwolf will celebrate with a three-week Traffic Jam, bringing dozens of artists to Chicago to provide an intimate and unique intersection of music, language and performance. All acts will take place in the Steppenwolf Downstairs Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted. Tickets $5-55. Buy tickets at www.steppenwolf.org, or call ( 312 ) 335-1650.
Fri. Dec. 2 & Sat. Dec. 3, 7:30 p.m.: Kurt Elling and Kate McGarry perform in Fred Hersch's Leaves of Grass
Thurs. Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m.: Kiki & Herb: Jesus Wept. Kiki is a brash, boozy septuagenarian chanteuse with bruising vocals and searing wit. She and her stalwart accompanist, Herb, deliver a show that nestles just between hilarity and heartbreak. In the Kiki & Herb tradition of twisted renditions of songs from everyone from Eminem to Joy Division and Britney Spears to Kate Bush, Kiki & Herb: Jesus Wept will feature holiday favorites and never-before-heard selections destined to become instant classics. Tickets: $35
Fri. Dec. 9 & Sat. Dec. 10, 7:30 p.m.: Elaine Stritch: In Conversation with John Callaway. In an intimate evening of casual conversation, legendary actress and singer Elaine Stritch discusses her life in theater and film with long-time Chicago public broadcasting journalist John Callaway.
Thurs. Dec. 1, 7:30 p.m.: David Cale performs A Likely Story, directed by Tamara Jenkins.
Sun. Dec. 4, 7:30 p.m.: Buddy Guy: In Conversation with Rich Cohen.
Sun. Dec. 11, 3 p.m.: Nikki Giovanni, Sonia Sanchez and XJ Kennedy perform Poetry Speaks to Children.
Mon. Dec. 12, 7:30 p.m.: Suzzy, Maggie, Terre and David Roche perform The Roches with a Holiday Twist.
See www.steppenwolf.org .