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Listen to The Ben Joravsky Show

Reader senior writer Ben Joravsky riffs on the day’s stories with his celebrated humor, insight, and honesty, and interviews politicians, activists, journalists and other political know-it-alls. Presented by the Chicago Reader, the show is available by 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays at chicagoreader.com/joravsky—or wherever you get your podcasts. Don’t miss Oh, What a Week!–the Friday feature in which Ben & producer Dennis (aka, Dr. D.) review the week’s top stories. Also, bonus interviews drop on Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays. 

Chicago Reader podcasts are recorded on Shure microphones. Learn more at Shure.com.

With support from our sponsors

Chicago Reader senior writer Ben Joravsky discusses the day’s stories with his celebrated humor, insight, and honesty on The Ben Joravsky Show.


The Florida strategy

MAGA’s attempt to scare white voters into voting against Pritzker didn’t work so well, to put it mildly.


It worked!

Leasing CHA land to the Chicago Fire is part of a longstanding plan to gentrify the city.


MAGA flip-flops

Men from Blago to Bolduc are trying to sing a new song.

Read More

Monologuing: Title Ten at Artemisia Theatre

Int. messy Chicago apartment, unseasonably hot end of November. 

Being a theater critic can be so isolating when you don’t fit the story being told. Most of the time, I sit through shows that center on the cishet male experience or at the very least shows that don’t pass the Bechdel Test. I am not shy about how much I loathe theater that rehashes the same, tired narrative. Yet, every once in a while I get a glimpse of something new which, even then, can be struck a deadly blow if one voice demands it. 

[increasingly exasperated] 

I have a master’s degree in writing, rhetoric, and discourse with a certificate in women and gender studies. I’ve written for Ms. Magazine. I’ve worked for Planned Parenthood. I grew up Catholic. I have polycystic ovary syndrome, which means I have fertility and period issues. Title Ten at Artemisia Theatre, written and codirected by artistic director Julie Proudfoot (Willow James also directs), should have been my cup of tea. [pause] But it wasn’t. 

Title TenThrough 12/18: Thu-Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 2:30 PM, Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont, 773-975-8150, artemisiatheatre.org, $25-$44

[cross to center] 

Nine monologues over the course of 90 minutes. The play is a two-hander asking far too much of the two actors (Kaitlyn Cheng and Melanie McNulty) in its employ. A well-timed monologue is one thing, an excellent opportunity for epiphany, but there are some stories that are best served by dialogue. Especially with a topic like abortion, folks with uteruses spend a lot of time talking to themselves or feeling like they’re talking to a wall. When we’re given the chance to talk about Title X so openly, some of our stories are best served through an act of showing rather than telling. 

[realizes the irony of that last statement as this is a crude monologue at best]

If we’re going to tell intimate stories of tribulation, let’s really dig into them. Give audiences a full scene of a credible fearful interview between an immigration officer and an asylum-seeking mom. Allow us a chance to see the interaction not just from the side of the problematic officer. Let audiences see how harmful the process is. Parcel out monologues along with dialogue. Give us moments to really sink our teeth into. Play devil’s advocate at times, sure, but show us the pro-birthers protesting at clinics with more authenticity. 

Kaitlyn Cheng in Title Ten at Artemisia Theatre Credit Willow James

[increasing intensity] 

Give in to the vitriol, pain, heartache, and joy. Really give us the experience of what it is to exist in a world, as the text says, that demands so much of us simply for existing in these bodies. 

[hand over heart, three deep breaths]

Just let the stories really breathe.


Wednesday, November 30, 2022 at the Museum of Contemporary Art

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Season of the Grinch

After earning rave reviews during its Chicago premiere last year, Matthew Lombardo’s provocative take on a holiday classic makes a triumphant return to Theater Wit. Who’s Holiday follows a now 40-year-old Cindy Lou Who (Veronica Garza) as she tells the story of the infamous night she met The Grinch Who Stole Christmasand the not-so-heartwarming events that followed after they crossed paths. 

Who’s Holiday Through 12/30: Thu 7 PM, Fri-Sat 7 and 9:30 PM, Sun 3 PM; also Tue-Wed 12/20-12/28 7 PM, Sun 12/18 7 PM, Fri 12/2-12/9 and Sat 12/3 7 PM only, no performances Sat-Sun 12/24-25; Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont, 773-975-8150, theaterwit.org, $36-$50

With Garza and director Christopher Pazdernik at the helm, Who’s Holiday transcends the Dr. Seuss story it’s based on and the expectations of anyone who might come in anticipating a typically wholesome Christmas story. Garza is a brilliant comedian who nails each of Cindy’s raunchy quips, droll physical quirks, and moments of frank sentimentality. From the moment she steps into Cindy’s humble trailer on the outskirts of Whoville, decked in festive garb and a grown-up take on her iconic hairdo, it’s clear that Garza thoroughly embodies an edgy variation on the classic character. 

Throughout the show’s 65-minute run, Garza commands and captivates, inviting the audience to laugh, riff, sing, and even cry with her as she recounts Cindy’s plight in the same rhyming cadence as the show’s source material. While Lombardo’s script isn’t afraid to go there in its humorand its whimsy, the honesty that Garza brings to Cindy makes this story feel totally earnest and enduring.


Wednesday, November 30, 2022 at the Museum of Contemporary Art

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American Blues plants a whole holiday garden

Frank Capra’s 1946 Christmas classic film is packed frame-by-frame with small moments of storytelling perfection, and as I get older, there’s one that just guts me like a fish. Exhausted, panicked, and facing certain financial and reputational ruin, George Bailey tries in vain to cajole Zuzu, his littlest one, to bedtime. “I’m not sleepy,” she whispers. “I want to look at my flower.”   

“I know, I know,” he says through tears in the dark. “But you just go to sleep, and then you can dream about it. And it’ll be a whole garden.” For all the melodrama and feel-good sweetness of It’s A Wonderful Life, it’s a story whose bell rings true precisely because it sees the cold cruelty of the world eye-to-eye and takes its blows right on the bloody lip. That contrast—a bit of grace and fellowship against life’s bleakest hardships—is the heart of American Blues Theater’s joyful 1940s radio broadcast rendition, now in its 21st year and the first in its gorgeous and fitting home at the Chopin.   

It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! Through 12/23: Thu-Fri 7:30 PM, Sat 4:30 and 7:30 PM, Sun 2:30 PM; also Wed 12/21 7:30 PM and Fri 12/23 4:30 PM; Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division, 872-205-9681, americanbluestheater.com, $25-$55

Director Gwendolyn Whiteside’s production may run as smooth as a well-oiled machine, but there’s nothing rote about it. This year’s ensemble of returning veteran players, including Brandon Dahlquist (George), Audrey Billings (Mary), Manny Buckley (Joseph), Dara Cameron (Violet), Joe Dempsey (Clarence/Mr. Potter), and Ian Paul Custer (Harry) creates a wholly encompassing theater-of-the-mind, honoring the traditions of Wonderful Life’s well-trodden lines while making them their own. And the radio play format (featuring foley art by J.G. Smith) heightens the inherently nostalgic vibe of Christmas festivities, as does announcer and music director Michael Mahler’s crowd work and sing-along scoring at the piano. The mark of a worthwhile holiday show, I find, is whether or not it feels like a celebration. And by that metric, American Blues Theater has created and maintained one of the great Chicago Christmas traditions that welcomes its audience like family and overflows with holiday spirit. 


Wednesday, November 30, 2022 at the Museum of Contemporary Art

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God bless us, once again

At a preshow reception introducing the Goodman’s new artistic director, Susan V. Booth, executive director Roche Schulfer talked about how the theater’s production of A Christmas Carol, which turns 45 this year, has grown from an annual tradition to something of a public trust and an institutional responsibility. And indeed, though it may be a cash cow (no shame in that—we need a whole herd of fiscal cattle to come through for live performance right now), the show continues to thread the needle between hewing to the original while providing just enough dashes of contemporary references to blow away the seasonal cobwebs. (This year, the show begins with a young woman, Rika Nishikawa, singing a Ukrainian carol while wearing a wreath of yellow and blue flowers in her hair.)

In that way, it mirrors the holiday experience for many families, which blend past and present. Children get older, move out, and perhaps have kids of their own that they bring to the gathering. People die, but their memories live on in the stories their surviving loved ones tell. (This year’s production is dedicated to William J. Norris, who first played Scrooge for the Goodman and died a year ago this week.) There is comforting sameness in traditions—as long as we don’t get lost in the mazes of memory, unable to find our way back to the needs of the here and now.

A Christmas Carol Through 12/31: Wed-Thu 7 PM, Fri 7:30 PM, Sat 2 and 7:30 PM, Sun 2 and 7 PM; also Tue 12/6 7 PM, Tue 12/20 2 and 7 PM, Thu 12/1 and Wed 12/7 11 AM, Wed 12/14 noon, Wed 12/21-12/28, Thu 12/15-12/22, and Fri 12/23-12/30 2 PM, Sat 12/24 and 12/31 2 PM only, no performances Fri 12/30 7:30 PM or Sat 12/25; audio description Sat 12/10 2 PM, ASL interpretation Fri 12/16 7:30 PM, open captions Sun 12/18 2 PM, Spanish subtitles Sun 12/18 7 PM; Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn, 312-443-3800, goodmantheatre.org, $25-$159

Larry Yando, returning for his 15th season as Ebenezer Scrooge, also knows how to thread that needle. The production never hits harder than when we see the losses that shriveled his heart during his journey with the Ghost of Christmas Past (played with ethereal charm by Lucky Stiff, who looks like a harlequin in costume designer Heidi Sue McMath’s shimmery, icy-blue ensemble, with a crescent moon on the cap serving as a subtle reminder of the waxing and waning of days). From the harshness of the boarding school where young Ebenezer (Jalen Smith) is held in by forbidding iron gates to the temporary reprieve with his beloved sister Fan (Ariana Burks), his earliest holiday memories seem to weave together harshness and light. Jessica Thebus’s staging incorporates a bit of the surreal in this segment, as we see a white stag—the traditional symbol of innocence, great change, and even Christ himself—walking just beyond those gates.

This year’s production also leans heavily on the talents of the women in the cast, suggesting how much Yando’s Scrooge has lost over the years by running away from the nurturing offered not just by Fan, but by his first boss, Mrs. Maud Fezziwig (played with infectious bonhomie by Cindy Gold) and his lost love, Belle (Amira Danan). The cross-gender casting continues with Frida (Dee Dee Batteast), Scrooge’s niece, who’s determined to keep the spirit of Christmas no matter how many “bah, humbugs” are tossed her way.

The splendid Bethany Thomas as the Ghost of Christmas Present also nimbly walks the line between jolly and stern, her admonitions to Yando’s Scrooge taking on sharp urgency as her own time on Earth draws to a close. (In place of the usual gigantic pile of presents and a holiday repast, Scrooge’s gloomy room is transformed into a green and glorious bower of plants for Christmas Present’s arrival, and a sprig of evergreen remains behind to remind Scrooge of his spectral adventures once his transformation is complete.) Thomas J. Cox’s Bob Cratchit and his “good wife” (Susaan Jamshidi) embody the mundane, but miraculous, comforts of loving companionship in an otherwise harsh world. 

As usual, much of the comedy in Yando’s performance comes from Scrooge’s growing sense of vanity. He smooths his hair as he awaits the arrival of the first spirit (well, the first after Kareem Bandealy’s fearsome Marley, that is.) At one point, Yando’s miser is looking at himself in the mirror, his back turned to the audience, and begins twitching his posterior like Hugh Grant’s prime minister in Love Actually. It’s endearingly ridiculous, but also reinforces that loving others does indeed begin with loving oneself enough to believe you can actually make a difference in the world, no matter how small.

The appearance of the Ghost of Christmas Future (Daniel Jose Molina) is suitably grim. The spirit looks like a cross between the Grim Reaper and a plague doctor with his beaky mask, and there’s a company of others wearing the same mask gathered wordlessly behind him, as if to remind us of those we’ve lost in the past few years. But despite the inevitable mournfulness evoked by that image, Tom Creamer’s adaptation remains a stouthearted study in the power of transformation. (Minor quibble: Andrew White is fine as the narrator, but I’ve never felt Creamer’s version has figured out exactly how much to bring the character into the story itself.)

It’s perhaps easy to view A Christmas Carol with seasonal cynicism, given how many versions compete for audience dollars this time of year. But after several seasons away from the Goodman’s production, it was good to be there opening night, remembering past productions, absent loved ones, and the importance of treasuring the ones who remain.


Wednesday, November 30, 2022 at the Museum of Contemporary Art

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Listen to The Ben Joravsky ShowBen Joravskyon November 30, 2022 at 8:02 am

Reader senior writer Ben Joravsky riffs on the day’s stories with his celebrated humor, insight, and honesty, and interviews politicians, activists, journalists and other political know-it-alls. Presented by the Chicago Reader, the show is available by 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays at chicagoreader.com/joravsky—or wherever you get your podcasts. Don’t miss Oh, What a Week!–the Friday feature in which Ben & producer Dennis (aka, Dr. D.) review the week’s top stories. Also, bonus interviews drop on Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays. 

Chicago Reader podcasts are recorded on Shure microphones. Learn more at Shure.com.

With support from our sponsors

Chicago Reader senior writer Ben Joravsky discusses the day’s stories with his celebrated humor, insight, and honesty on The Ben Joravsky Show.


The Florida strategy

MAGA’s attempt to scare white voters into voting against Pritzker didn’t work so well, to put it mildly.


It worked!

Leasing CHA land to the Chicago Fire is part of a longstanding plan to gentrify the city.


MAGA flip-flops

Men from Blago to Bolduc are trying to sing a new song.

Read More

American Blues plants a whole holiday gardenDan Jakeson November 30, 2022 at 6:34 pm

Frank Capra’s 1946 Christmas classic film is packed frame-by-frame with small moments of storytelling perfection, and as I get older, there’s one that just guts me like a fish. Exhausted, panicked, and facing certain financial and reputational ruin, George Bailey tries in vain to cajole Zuzu, his littlest one, to bedtime. “I’m not sleepy,” she whispers. “I want to look at my flower.”   

“I know, I know,” he says through tears in the dark. “But you just go to sleep, and then you can dream about it. And it’ll be a whole garden.” For all the melodrama and feel-good sweetness of It’s A Wonderful Life, it’s a story whose bell rings true precisely because it sees the cold cruelty of the world eye-to-eye and takes its blows right on the bloody lip. That contrast—a bit of grace and fellowship against life’s bleakest hardships—is the heart of American Blues Theater’s joyful 1940s radio broadcast rendition, now in its 21st year and the first in its gorgeous and fitting home at the Chopin.   

It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! Through 12/23: Thu-Fri 7:30 PM, Sat 4:30 and 7:30 PM, Sun 2:30 PM; also Wed 12/21 7:30 PM and Fri 12/23 4:30 PM; Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division, 872-205-9681, americanbluestheater.com, $25-$55

Director Gwendolyn Whiteside’s production may run as smooth as a well-oiled machine, but there’s nothing rote about it. This year’s ensemble of returning veteran players, including Brandon Dahlquist (George), Audrey Billings (Mary), Manny Buckley (Joseph), Dara Cameron (Violet), Joe Dempsey (Clarence/Mr. Potter), and Ian Paul Custer (Harry) creates a wholly encompassing theater-of-the-mind, honoring the traditions of Wonderful Life’s well-trodden lines while making them their own. And the radio play format (featuring foley art by J.G. Smith) heightens the inherently nostalgic vibe of Christmas festivities, as does announcer and music director Michael Mahler’s crowd work and sing-along scoring at the piano. The mark of a worthwhile holiday show, I find, is whether or not it feels like a celebration. And by that metric, American Blues Theater has created and maintained one of the great Chicago Christmas traditions that welcomes its audience like family and overflows with holiday spirit. 


Wednesday, November 30, 2022 at the Museum of Contemporary Art

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God bless us, once againKerry Reidon November 30, 2022 at 7:00 pm

At a preshow reception introducing the Goodman’s new artistic director, Susan V. Booth, executive director Roche Schulfer talked about how the theater’s production of A Christmas Carol, which turns 45 this year, has grown from an annual tradition to something of a public trust and an institutional responsibility. And indeed, though it may be a cash cow (no shame in that—we need a whole herd of fiscal cattle to come through for live performance right now), the show continues to thread the needle between hewing to the original while providing just enough dashes of contemporary references to blow away the seasonal cobwebs. (This year, the show begins with a young woman, Rika Nishikawa, singing a Ukrainian carol while wearing a wreath of yellow and blue flowers in her hair.)

In that way, it mirrors the holiday experience for many families, which blend past and present. Children get older, move out, and perhaps have kids of their own that they bring to the gathering. People die, but their memories live on in the stories their surviving loved ones tell. (This year’s production is dedicated to William J. Norris, who first played Scrooge for the Goodman and died a year ago this week.) There is comforting sameness in traditions—as long as we don’t get lost in the mazes of memory, unable to find our way back to the needs of the here and now.

A Christmas Carol Through 12/31: Wed-Thu 7 PM, Fri 7:30 PM, Sat 2 and 7:30 PM, Sun 2 and 7 PM; also Tue 12/6 7 PM, Tue 12/20 2 and 7 PM, Thu 12/1 and Wed 12/7 11 AM, Wed 12/14 noon, Wed 12/21-12/28, Thu 12/15-12/22, and Fri 12/23-12/30 2 PM, Sat 12/24 and 12/31 2 PM only, no performances Fri 12/30 7:30 PM or Sat 12/25; audio description Sat 12/10 2 PM, ASL interpretation Fri 12/16 7:30 PM, open captions Sun 12/18 2 PM, Spanish subtitles Sun 12/18 7 PM; Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn, 312-443-3800, goodmantheatre.org, $25-$159

Larry Yando, returning for his 15th season as Ebenezer Scrooge, also knows how to thread that needle. The production never hits harder than when we see the losses that shriveled his heart during his journey with the Ghost of Christmas Past (played with ethereal charm by Lucky Stiff, who looks like a harlequin in costume designer Heidi Sue McMath’s shimmery, icy-blue ensemble, with a crescent moon on the cap serving as a subtle reminder of the waxing and waning of days). From the harshness of the boarding school where young Ebenezer (Jalen Smith) is held in by forbidding iron gates to the temporary reprieve with his beloved sister Fan (Ariana Burks), his earliest holiday memories seem to weave together harshness and light. Jessica Thebus’s staging incorporates a bit of the surreal in this segment, as we see a white stag—the traditional symbol of innocence, great change, and even Christ himself—walking just beyond those gates.

This year’s production also leans heavily on the talents of the women in the cast, suggesting how much Yando’s Scrooge has lost over the years by running away from the nurturing offered not just by Fan, but by his first boss, Mrs. Maud Fezziwig (played with infectious bonhomie by Cindy Gold) and his lost love, Belle (Amira Danan). The cross-gender casting continues with Frida (Dee Dee Batteast), Scrooge’s niece, who’s determined to keep the spirit of Christmas no matter how many “bah, humbugs” are tossed her way.

The splendid Bethany Thomas as the Ghost of Christmas Present also nimbly walks the line between jolly and stern, her admonitions to Yando’s Scrooge taking on sharp urgency as her own time on Earth draws to a close. (In place of the usual gigantic pile of presents and a holiday repast, Scrooge’s gloomy room is transformed into a green and glorious bower of plants for Christmas Present’s arrival, and a sprig of evergreen remains behind to remind Scrooge of his spectral adventures once his transformation is complete.) Thomas J. Cox’s Bob Cratchit and his “good wife” (Susaan Jamshidi) embody the mundane, but miraculous, comforts of loving companionship in an otherwise harsh world. 

As usual, much of the comedy in Yando’s performance comes from Scrooge’s growing sense of vanity. He smooths his hair as he awaits the arrival of the first spirit (well, the first after Kareem Bandealy’s fearsome Marley, that is.) At one point, Yando’s miser is looking at himself in the mirror, his back turned to the audience, and begins twitching his posterior like Hugh Grant’s prime minister in Love Actually. It’s endearingly ridiculous, but also reinforces that loving others does indeed begin with loving oneself enough to believe you can actually make a difference in the world, no matter how small.

The appearance of the Ghost of Christmas Future (Daniel Jose Molina) is suitably grim. The spirit looks like a cross between the Grim Reaper and a plague doctor with his beaky mask, and there’s a company of others wearing the same mask gathered wordlessly behind him, as if to remind us of those we’ve lost in the past few years. But despite the inevitable mournfulness evoked by that image, Tom Creamer’s adaptation remains a stouthearted study in the power of transformation. (Minor quibble: Andrew White is fine as the narrator, but I’ve never felt Creamer’s version has figured out exactly how much to bring the character into the story itself.)

It’s perhaps easy to view A Christmas Carol with seasonal cynicism, given how many versions compete for audience dollars this time of year. But after several seasons away from the Goodman’s production, it was good to be there opening night, remembering past productions, absent loved ones, and the importance of treasuring the ones who remain.


Wednesday, November 30, 2022 at the Museum of Contemporary Art

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Monologuing: Title Ten at Artemisia TheatreAmanda Finnon November 30, 2022 at 6:13 pm

Int. messy Chicago apartment, unseasonably hot end of November. 

Being a theater critic can be so isolating when you don’t fit the story being told. Most of the time, I sit through shows that center on the cishet male experience or at the very least shows that don’t pass the Bechdel Test. I am not shy about how much I loathe theater that rehashes the same, tired narrative. Yet, every once in a while I get a glimpse of something new which, even then, can be struck a deadly blow if one voice demands it. 

[increasingly exasperated] 

I have a master’s degree in writing, rhetoric, and discourse with a certificate in women and gender studies. I’ve written for Ms. Magazine. I’ve worked for Planned Parenthood. I grew up Catholic. I have polycystic ovary syndrome, which means I have fertility and period issues. Title Ten at Artemisia Theatre, written and codirected by artistic director Julie Proudfoot (Willow James also directs), should have been my cup of tea. [pause] But it wasn’t. 

Title TenThrough 12/18: Thu-Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 2:30 PM, Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont, 773-975-8150, artemisiatheatre.org, $25-$44

[cross to center] 

Nine monologues over the course of 90 minutes. The play is a two-hander asking far too much of the two actors (Kaitlyn Cheng and Melanie McNulty) in its employ. A well-timed monologue is one thing, an excellent opportunity for epiphany, but there are some stories that are best served by dialogue. Especially with a topic like abortion, folks with uteruses spend a lot of time talking to themselves or feeling like they’re talking to a wall. When we’re given the chance to talk about Title X so openly, some of our stories are best served through an act of showing rather than telling. 

[realizes the irony of that last statement as this is a crude monologue at best]

If we’re going to tell intimate stories of tribulation, let’s really dig into them. Give audiences a full scene of a credible fearful interview between an immigration officer and an asylum-seeking mom. Allow us a chance to see the interaction not just from the side of the problematic officer. Let audiences see how harmful the process is. Parcel out monologues along with dialogue. Give us moments to really sink our teeth into. Play devil’s advocate at times, sure, but show us the pro-birthers protesting at clinics with more authenticity. 

Kaitlyn Cheng in Title Ten at Artemisia Theatre Credit Willow James

[increasing intensity] 

Give in to the vitriol, pain, heartache, and joy. Really give us the experience of what it is to exist in a world, as the text says, that demands so much of us simply for existing in these bodies. 

[hand over heart, three deep breaths]

Just let the stories really breathe.


Wednesday, November 30, 2022 at the Museum of Contemporary Art

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Season of the GrinchKatie Powerson November 30, 2022 at 6:23 pm

After earning rave reviews during its Chicago premiere last year, Matthew Lombardo’s provocative take on a holiday classic makes a triumphant return to Theater Wit. Who’s Holiday follows a now 40-year-old Cindy Lou Who (Veronica Garza) as she tells the story of the infamous night she met The Grinch Who Stole Christmasand the not-so-heartwarming events that followed after they crossed paths. 

Who’s Holiday Through 12/30: Thu 7 PM, Fri-Sat 7 and 9:30 PM, Sun 3 PM; also Tue-Wed 12/20-12/28 7 PM, Sun 12/18 7 PM, Fri 12/2-12/9 and Sat 12/3 7 PM only, no performances Sat-Sun 12/24-25; Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont, 773-975-8150, theaterwit.org, $36-$50

With Garza and director Christopher Pazdernik at the helm, Who’s Holiday transcends the Dr. Seuss story it’s based on and the expectations of anyone who might come in anticipating a typically wholesome Christmas story. Garza is a brilliant comedian who nails each of Cindy’s raunchy quips, droll physical quirks, and moments of frank sentimentality. From the moment she steps into Cindy’s humble trailer on the outskirts of Whoville, decked in festive garb and a grown-up take on her iconic hairdo, it’s clear that Garza thoroughly embodies an edgy variation on the classic character. 

Throughout the show’s 65-minute run, Garza commands and captivates, inviting the audience to laugh, riff, sing, and even cry with her as she recounts Cindy’s plight in the same rhyming cadence as the show’s source material. While Lombardo’s script isn’t afraid to go there in its humorand its whimsy, the honesty that Garza brings to Cindy makes this story feel totally earnest and enduring.


Wednesday, November 30, 2022 at the Museum of Contemporary Art

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