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A City Lit Christmas
City Lit Theater
Chicago, IL
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A City Lit Christmas
A City Lit Christmas, a new edition of last years critically acclaimed revue of stories, songs and other holiday writings adapted and directed by City Lit artistic director Terry McCabe, will begin previews at City Lit Theater on Saturday, November 24 and open on Monday, November 26.  The production runs through December 30.

"A City Lit Christmas is a Christmas revue for grownups," stated McCabe.  "The show explores various adult perspectives on Christmas.  It is neither about Frosty and Rudolph, nor is it cynical and post-modern about the holiday.  It brings together stories and prose pieces by classic writers such as Mark Twain, Edna Ferber, Charles Dickens, Ben Hecht, and O. Henry, along with a complete Christmas episode of the old time radio series The Shadow, plus half a dozen songs stretching from the fifteenth century up to the present, including the Chicago performance premiere of a 1916 Irving Berlin number lost for eighty years.   The show is stuffed fuller than a Christmas stocking.  Or possibly a goose."

Last years world premiere edition of the revue was hailed by critics as a thinking holiday show for those who outgrew Santa but not the need for him (Chicago Free Press) and a mature and contemplative Christmas revue (Windy City Times Critics Pick) for those who like their holiday cheer served without forced smiles(Tribune).  This year--and every year we do the show, according to McCabe--approximately a third of the material will be new to the revue.  "One of the pleasures of reviving a holiday show every year," McCabe added, "is the opportunity to make it different each time."

The cast for A City Lit Christmas is Melanie Esplin, Meghan M. Martinez, Thomas M. Shea, and Brandon Zale, who also accompany themselves and each other on piano, flute, accordian, and percussion.  The revue's music director is Daniel Robinson, the lighting designer is Stephen F. Murray, the costume designer is Branimira Ivanova, and the sound design is by Robert Steel.  Choreography is by Thomas M.Shea.


The pieces making their first appearances in this years edition of the show are:
     "A Gift of Murder," the Christmas 1947 episode of The Shadow  (The Shadow character, copyright, and trademarks are owned by The Conde Nast Publications, and used by permission);
     "It Was My Fathers Custom," an undated Victorian Christmas song for which the tune has been lost, and for which Chicago songwriter Kingsley Day has composed new  music;
     "Holiday Thoughts" by Ben Hecht, a 1922 Chicago Daily News column about visiting the toy department at Marshall Fields;
     "The Cherry Tree Carol," Child Ballad #54, which dates from the early 1400s, and tells an apocryphal story of the Virgin Mary craving cherries during her pregnancy; and
     "Santa Claus--a Syncopated Christmas Song," written by Berlin for magazine publication in 1916 and thought to be lost until its rediscovery in 1996  

Returning from last year are:
    "A Christmas Wish," a letter to the editor by Mark Twain, singling out one person to exclude from the blessings of the joyous season;
    "Drive the Cold Winter Away," a broadside ballad hit from 17th Century London;
    "Catching Up with Christmas," an Edna Ferber short story about a woman who has reason to feel she's being left behind by the holiday;
    "Just What I Wanted," a comic essay by P.G. Wodehouse about gift-giving;
    "I Remember Christmas," a song by award-winning Chicago musical theatre composer Kingsley Day;
     "A Christmas Sermon," a piece by Robert Louis Stevenson that is precisely what the title says it is;
     "The One-Horse Open Sleigh" by James Pierpont, the original (from 1857) version of "Jingle Bells," with a different melody for the chorus than the one most of us are used to hearing, plus an unfamiliar verse or two;
      "Miss Fogarty's Christmas Cake," a 19th Century comic Irish song by Pennsylvania Dutch songwriter C. Frank Horn, about a fruitcake that "could kill a man twice after eating a slice;"
    "What Christmas Is as We Grow Older" by Charles Dickens, an essay in which the author asks what secular value Christmas has for us once we have outgrown the magic we believed in as children; and
    "The Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry, the greatest American Christmas story.



City Lit Theater
1020 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.
Chicago, IL 60660
United States

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Arts > Theatre

Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: No
Wheelchair Accessible: No


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