Holiday Season Shows, Streaming to Your Living Room

Hit ‘em on the Blackside Congo Square Theatre Company’s new sketch comedy show Free on demand December 19 through March 2021 No subject is off-limits in Congo Square Theatre Company’s new sketch comedy show Hit ‘Em on the Blackside, available for free online viewing beginning this Saturday, December 19, on the company’s website. Part of Congo Square’s new digital programming for the 2020-21 Season, Hit ‘Em on the Blackside uses thought-provoking humor and satire to cover everything from education on Zoom to questionable science and complicated relationships. The show runs approximately 30 minutes and will be available through March 2021, when the next set of sketches launches as biweekly webisodes on Congo Square’s social media channels. Hit ‘Em on the Blackside is created and directed by Congo Square ensemble member Anthony Irons and stars ensemble members Ronald L. Conner, Alexis J. Roston and Kelvin Roston Jr. along with friend of Congo Square Tiffany Addison. More details at   I Hate It Here: Stories from the End of the Old World Written and Directed by Chicago Playwright Ike Holter An audio play from Studio Theatre, Washington DC Listen free thru March 7, 2021 As the world collectively plans to close the door (and maybe throw away the key) on 2020, Studio Theatre offers a reflection on this complicated, unexpected and consequential moment in history with the world premiere of I Hate It Here: Stories from the End of the Old World, an audio play commissioned by the Studio Theatre, written and directed by Ike Holter. Audiences can listen for free on Studio's website now through March 7, 2021. With sharp humor and keen observation, Holter uses vignettes, monologues, and song to take listeners from an office to a wedding, high school, outdoor brunch, front porch, and more to capture the many ways it feels to live in a world wracked by changes both personal and systemic. Performers include Chicago actors  Sydney Charles, Kirsten Fitzgerald, and Tony Santiago, as well as Gabriel Ruiz, now in New York, and Behzad Dabu, now based in Los Angeles. Rea.d the digital playbill.   Writers Theatre. Photo credit Joe Mazza--Bravelux. One-Man A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens Presented by Writers Theatre Adapted by and featuring Michael Halberstam, directed by Stanton Long On demand through January 3 Artistic director Michael Halberstam’s one-man adaptation of Charles Dickens’ holiday ghost story, featuring Halberstam in a solo performance, recreates the greatest ghost story ever written. Not seen at Writers Theatre since its in-demand run in 2008, One-Man A Christmas Carol will be directed by Stanton Long in collaboration with HMS Media (PBS Great Performances, numerous Broadway productions) to bring this streamed holiday tradition to your home. Tickets are available for viewing on demand through January 3.   Peter Pan—A Musical Adventure New version presented by Chicago Shakespeare Theatre Free on demand December 19 through January 1 Sail away on a journey to Neverland with Peter, Wendy, John and Michael. Audiences of all ages will enjoy this newly remastered, 80-minute feature film of Chicago Shakes’ 2018 production. Based on J.M. Barrie’s beloved tale about the boy who wouldn’t grow up, this musical version has a score by George Stiles and lyrics by Anthony Drewe—the award-winning songwriting duo behind Broadway’s smash hit Mary Poppins.Available free on demand from this page starting at 12midnight CST Saturday, December 19, and through 12noonCST on Friday, January 1.   Eleanor’s Very Merry Christmas—The Musical Streaming through December 27 The Chicago-based theater production, Eleanor’s Very Merry Christmas, will be streamed by 23 theaters across the country during this holiday season. The virtual production, represented by Broadway & Beyond Theatricals,   features the 2019 recorded opening night performance as well as additional holiday music. Producer Ed Tracy said they apso offer two options for Eleanor-themed party boxes with merch related to the show. Buy tickets here.   The Chimes by Charles Dickens Remy Bumppo Theatre Adapted and performed by Nick Sandys Streaming on demand through January 3 This classic Dickensian tale returns to Remy Bumppo for the first time since 2013. This time it’s available virtually on demand. Sandys portrays Dickens and many of his lively characters in a story that builds towards New Year’s Day. Buy tickets here. Download the digital playbill.   It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago American Blues Theater Based on the Frank Capra film Virtual performances through January 2 George Bailey—the Everyman from small town Bedford Falls whose dreams of escape and adventure were stopped by family obligation and civic duty—has fallen onto desperate times. Only a miracle can save him from despair. Filled with original music and classic holiday carols, the live retelling of this warm holiday show has been presented for Chicago audiences by American Blues Theater for 19 years. It’s done ad a 1940s radio broadcast. The audio play is directed by Gwendolyn Whiteside, with musical direction by Michael Mahler and an original score by Austin Cook. Get tickets hereor call the box office at 773-654-3103. Read the Backstage Guide. View the digital program.  
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Nancy S Bishop

Nancy S. Bishop is publisher and Stages editor of Third Coast Review. She’s a member of the American Theatre Critics Association and a 2014 Fellow of the National Critics Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. You can read her personal writing on pop culture at, and follow her on Twitter @nsbishop. She also writes about film, books, art, architecture and design.