Whether you’re entertaining out-of-town guests or simply need a break from the hustle and bustle of the season, here are 17 plays in Chicago you won’t want to miss this month and beyond.

Twelfth Night, or What You Will

Nov. 7 to Dec. 16

William Shakespeare wrote this rom-com 416 years ago, and yet, like so many of the Bard’s scripts, it remains remarkably relevant to our contemporary world. It’s a story where love triumphs amid questions about gender and sexuality, and Writers Theatre’s artistic director, Michael Halberstam, aims to bring a fresh, modern perspective to all angles. The stellar cast includes William Brown, Sean Fortunato, Kevin Gudahl, and Karen Janes Woditsch. Writers Theatre, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe

The Steadfast Tin Soldier: A Christmas Pantomime

Nov. 7 to Jan. 13

Plays in Chicago: "The Steadfast Tin Soldier" at Lookingglass

Photo by Sean Williams.

Mary Zimmerman has directed operas and revived neglected musicals, but she’s most famous for taking old stories and finding her own inventive and playful ways of presenting those tales as new works of live theater. The Evanston resident, who has won a Tony Award along with a MacArthur “genius grant,” goes back to that basic formula for this project. Just in time for the holiday season, she’s adapting and directing Danish author Hans Christian Andersen’s 1838 fairy tale about a tin soldier who falls in love with a paper ballerina. Lookingglass Theatre, 821 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago

Mansfield Park

Nov. 8 to Dec. 16

Playwright Kate Hamill, who previously adapted Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility” for the stage, wrote this world premiere based on another beloved Austen novel in which young women and men maneuver through Victorian England’s strict social rules as they seek love. Stuart Carden directs a cast that also includes Heidi Kettenring, Mark Montgomery, and Gabriel Ruiz. Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie

Rightlynd

Nov. 9 to Dec. 23

It wasn’t immediately obvious that Ike Holter, one of Chicago’s most gifted young playwrights, was writing a series of interconnected scripts. But as it turns out, several of his smart and engaging plays (starting with “Exit Strategy”) were all set in a fictional Chicago neighborhood, Rightlynd. This new one is a prequel, delving into the political power struggle in Holter’s imaginary 51st Ward. Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, 773-871-3000

A Christmas Carol

Nov. 25 to Dec. 30

Plays in Chicago: "A Christmas Carol" at Goodman Theatre

Photo by Liz Lauren.

You’ve probably seen countless versions of this Charles Dickens classic during your lifetime — and you may have even seen the dynamic Larry Yando starring as Scrooge, as this is his 11th year in the role. But don’t let that stop you from seeing it again. The magic persists. Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St., Chicago

Into the Woods

Dec. 22-31

Stephen Sondheim’s acclaimed 1987 musical (with book by James Lapine) intertwines the plots of fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault, bringing together familiar characters from “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Jack and the Beanstalk,” “Rapunzel,” and “Cinderella,” among others. Music Theater Works at Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson St., Evanston

Other plays worth checking out:

 

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Robert Loerzel is a freelance journalist who lives in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. His work has also appeared in Playbill and on WBEZ, and he is the author of the book “Alchemy of Bones: Chicago’s Luetgert Murder Case of 1897.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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