Holiday Shows and Concerts in Lake County 2023

By: Jonathan Jones 10/30/2023

"Giddy-yup, giddy-yup, giddy-yup, Let's Go to the show," Lake County!

There's no better way to soak up Lake County than witnessing a delightful holiday concert or show. 

Fill yourself up with holiday cheer and the festive spirit by attending one of these stupendous hot ticket items. "O Come All Ye Faithful" Lake Countians. 

"The Snow Queen at Marriott Theatre (Children's Theatre Production) (Nov. 17-Dec. 31)

The Snow Queen is a winter/holiday staple as the Marriott Theatre features this production. The story, originally written by Hans Christian Andersen, follows the Snow Queen as she kidnaps a young boy named Kai and takes him to her palace. Kai's best friend, Gerda, sets out on a journey to rescue him. Along the way, Gerda meets many interesting characters, including a talking crow, a reindeer and a group of robbers. Will Gerda rescue her buddy Kai before the Snow Queen freezes his heart? This version of Snow Queen is inspired by the Disney film "Frozen."

Girl Named Tom: One More Christmas Tour at Genesee Theatre (Nov. 18)





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The sibling winners of “The Voice” season 21 take their talents to the road as they perform “One More Christmas Tour” at the Genesee Theatre in Waukegan. The trio consisting of Bekah Grace, Caleb and Joshua Liechty have an eclectic style meshing the sounds of pop, folk and crisp harmonies as they won their reality series with the help of coach, pop sensation and “American Idol” winner Kelly Clarkson. The title track from the album named after their tour reached no.1 on the iTunes Charts. The siblings group have released two albums in their young career.

"Charlie Brown Christmas" at Genesee Theatre (Nov. 19)

"Good grief! You’re a blockhead, Charlie Brown." Based on the “Peanuts” comic strip by Charles M. Schulz, Charlie Brown and the gang explore the true meaning of Christmas as they navigate through adolescence in this comedic musical. Visit Genesee Theatre for the jazzy tunes of Vince Guaraldi's score, a post sho, sing-along concert and enjoy a little Peanut nostalgia. 

A Karaoke Christmas at Three Brothers Theatre (Nov. 24-Dec. 16)

Sing alongs are such a big part of the holiday season no matter what religion you are. The Three Brother’s Theatre in downtown Waukegan leans into the festive weeks with “A Karaoke Christmas.” The presentation follows a group of tired and frustrated individuals snowed in at the airport during their holiday travels. The travelers make the most of the situation after finding a karaoke machine in one of the terminals. The show runs on select days through Saturday, December 16.

Chris Isaak - "It's Almost Christmas Tour" at Genesee Theatre





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This triple threat musician, movie and TV star is taking his ax  to the road for the holiday season. From blues to rockabilly, to ballads, Isaak is a superstar under the bright lights. View the two-time Grammy Award-nominated singer perform an unforgettable production at the Waukegan hall. 


Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith Christmas at Genesee Theatre (Dec. 1)

Christian music and Christmas jingles go together like peas and carrots. Musicians Amy Grant (also known as the Queen of Christian Pop) and Michael W. Smith join forces to spread holiday cheer with a festive show for the entire fam and them. The duet in their extensive repertoire have taken home nine Grammy Awards (Grant won six; while Smith won four) and as solo artists the two have sold nearly 50-million albums. Grant and Smith have showcased their rapport with one another after creating numerous songs together complemented by several tours.

College of Lake County (CLC) Dance Presents: Winter Dance Concert at the James Lumber Center for the Performing Arts (JLC) (Dec. 1-2)





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The Winter Dance by the CLC is a culmination of hours of practice and choreography. Visit the JLC and watch students and community members perform in a series of dance styles. These rug cutting routines include ballet, modern, hip hop, tap, jazz and more.

Traditional Christmas Concert Ft. Organist Dave Wickerham at the Sanfilippo Estate (Dec. 1-3)

There's no such thing as the holidays without the sounds of the mighty Sanfilippo Wurlitzer. Organist and wizard with the ivory, Dave Wickerham tickles the keys to give onlookers a bit of the Christmas spirit. The Barrington facility will feature a concert three times December 1-3. The San Filippo House three-day event also is highlighted by tours, libations, dinner, brunch, organ demonstrations and so much more. 

Cirque Musica Holiday Wonderland at Genesee Theatre (Dec. 2)





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“So up to the rooftop the coursers they flew, with a sleigh full of” aerialists and breathtaking balancing acts too. Be at the edge of your seat in early December at the Genesee Theatre as Cirque Musica Holiday Wonderland levitates to the city of progress. Electrifying leaps, dazzling costumes and adventure are abound as these courageous and thrilling souls fly through the air complemented by your favorite festive holiday songs and carols. This family-fun event is a must-see during the holiday season.

Clara's Dance Passage of "The Nutcracker" at the Round Lake Beach Cultural and Civic Center (December 2)

On Christmas Eve, Clara Stahlbaum receives a magical nutcracker doll that comes to life and whisks her away on a journey to the Land of Sweets, where she battles the evil Mouse King and meets the Sugar Plum Fairy. However this "Nutcracker" has a different vibe. The Purple Mist Bellydance group will perform to the staple Tchaikovsky tunes while this rug-cutting troupe will be an experience you've never seen before. 

Canadian Pacific Holiday Train in Gurnee (Dec. 3)





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The train horn can be heard in the distance. That’s the sound of the Canadian Pacific Railway Holiday Train making its annual stop at Viking Park in Gurnee. This vastly illuminated 14-car train partners with local communities to raise food and funds for local food banks as well as raise awareness about hunger issues. The train will blare live holiday music, conduct a brief ceremony and will pass out candy canes for the kids. The choo-choo features live performances from Tenille Townes and BRELAND. Also, old man Kris Kringle will be there to close out the celebration. 

Jingle Bell Rock with Michael Ingersoll and Christopher Kale Jones at the Marriott Theatre (Dec. 4-5)

The Jerrsey Boys, Michael Ingersoll and Christopher Kale Jones will have you "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" as they showcase a slew of holiday hits like "little Saint Nick," "Run, Rudolph Run," "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" and more. The two performers are a part of a vocal group called Under the Streetlamp that has toured continuously and internationally with a lineup of golden oldie tunes. Don't miss this show! The December 5 date is currently sold out, while December 4 has limited availablity.

Boston Brass: "Christmas Bells are Swingin'!" at Ravinia Festival's Bennett Gordon Hall (Dec. 8-9)





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Boston Brass's arrangements fo Christmas carols are fresh and innovative, while staying true to the spirit of the season. The quintet's musicianship is top-notch, and their shows are full of energy and enthusiasm. You'll hear nostalgic hymns like "Carol of the Bells," "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," "The LIttle Drummer Boy," "Greensleeves," "The Nutcracker Dance Suite," "We Three Kings of Brubeck" and more.

"It's a Wonderful LIfe: A Radio Play" at Improv Playhouse (TBA)

“Remember, no man is a failure who has friends.” The Improv Playhouse presents “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play,” adapted by Joe Landry this weekend. The Libertyville performance center’s holiday tradition stages their interpretation of the Frank Capra holiday classic. The play, performed in the fashion of a 1940s radio show features the tale of George Bailey. The show’s protagonist puts his big dreams on hold to take over his father’s business who abruptly passes away. Bailey faces many adversities during his endeavors that essentially saves the town of Bedford Falls during the Great Depression. With Bailey down on his luck, frustrated with life and questioning his own existence a guardian angel named Clarence tries to steer him away from suicide. 

Waukegan Symphony Orchestra Presents: Joseph A. Favero Memorial "Do-it-Yourself Messiah & Carol Sing Along" at Orlinn Trapp Auditorium  (Dec. 9)

Visit Waukegan High School's for an evening of holiday cheer. The City of Progress' Symphony Orchestra performs its annual "Do-it-Yourself Messia and Carol Sing Along" featuring the Christmas portion of George Frideric Handel's "Messiah" as well as a slew of traditional carols. Visitors are encouraged to sing along in this community tradition. 

CLC Music Presents: Holiday Choral Concert at JLC (Dec. 9)

For the holiday season, the College of Lake County Chorus performs on the main stage at the James Lumber Center. The score is highlighted by a mix of musical styles from classical to Broadway to pop and everything in between. 

CLC Music Presents: Wind Ensemble Holiday Concert at JLC (Dec. 10)





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Conductor Michael Flack leads the College of Lake County Wind Ensemble for their holiday concert. The school of songsters will provide a mixed program of classical and contemporary tunes. 

"Nutcracker! Magical Christmas Ballet" in Fox Lake (Dec. 10)

Clara's magical nutcracker doll comes to life and takes her on an adventure where she battles the Mouse King and meets the Sugar Plum Fairy. This performance of the age-old tale is performed by the Ukranian Principal Artists performing at the peak of classical European Ballet

Christmas Rock Show at Hawthorn Mall (Dec. 10)

Visitors will be juking to that infectious "Jingle Bell Rock" as the Libertyville House Band performs a plethora of holiday covers at Hawthorn Mall in Vernon Hills. The show provides energy and a boost morale during the ever-daunting holiday shopping we all go through. Do you perusing with a little pep to your step while listening to these talented musicians. 

CLC Music Presents: Concert Band Holiday Concert at JLC (Dec. 13)

The Grayslake band will perform the sounds of the season and give you reasons to clap and dance in your seats.

"The Real Story of Christmas" Live on Stage at Quentin Baptist Church (Dec. 14-17)





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Experience a unique presentation of Christmas past that you will never forget. The Quentin Road Baptist Church Christmas Pageant is a Lake County tradition highlighted by 300-voice children and adult cast, dramatic lighting and live animals, including an eight-foot camel. Follow the story of the first Christmas night in a musical scored with original songs and orchestration by David Clydesdale.

Lake County Symphony Orchestra Holiday Concert in Gurnee and Hawthorn Woods (Dec. 15-16)

'Tis the season to be merry, and the land of lakes orchestra (LCSO) provides a holiday performance to display the season's greetings feels. The LCSO's set list includes the Mannheim Steamroller's "Fresh Aire Christmas", baroque tunes from Bach, Handel and Corelli, and more. The Lake County Symphony Orchestra "Welcomes Chistmas" providing two performances in the land of lakes including Gurnee Community Church (Dec. 16) and at The Barn at Hawthorn Woods (Dec. 15).

"Miracle on 34th Street" at the Jack Benny Center for the Arts (Dec. 15-17)

A department store Santa Claus, Kris Kringle, spreads Christmas cheer while facing a legal battle to prove he's the real Santa. The New York City-based Kringle is only believed by Susan that he is the real man in the big red suit. After a jelly Macy's coworker cries wolf on a fake assault by the real Santa, the rosey cheeked gent is placed in a psychiatric hospital. Will Santa be able to show his true colors? This 1947 film and renowned tale is part of many Lake County family staples and the Waukegan Park District facility is sure to put on a show that'll "knock 'em dead."

Ruth Page's "The Nutcracker" at JLC (Dec. 16-17)





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Plié and Pirouette into the holiday season with the beloved Ruth Page Civic Ballet's rendition of "The Nutcracker" at the James Lumber Center. Originally performed at the Arie Crown Theatre in Chicago from 1965 until 1997, this production recreates Ruth Page’s beautiful, full-length staging. Experience the exquisite dancing, stunning costumes and magical settings in the "Land of Snow" and the "Kingdom of the Sweets" like never before on the Grayslake stage.

"Eleanor's Very Merry Christmas Wish" The Musical at Citadel Theatre (Select Days from Dec. 20-31)

Eleanor, a rag doll who lived at the North Pole, had a very merry Christmas wish: to have a best friend and home of her own. Though Eleanor loved living with Santa, Mrs. Claus, the elves and reindeer in their magical world, she knew that every toy should belong to a special boy or girl. With the help of her North Pole family, Eleanor learned that wishing alone was simply not enough to truly make her dreams come true. But Eleanor was a determined rag doll, and she wasn't about to give up on her dream. With a little perseverance and a smidgen of Christmas magic, Eleanor discovered that the greatest gift of all is the love of family and friends. The musical created by Chicagoans Denise McGowan Tracy and Kathleen Butler-Duplessis, is sure to extend your youngsters holiday spirit through the new year.

Dance Center North Presents "The Magic of the Nutcracker" at Genesee Theatre (Dec. 21-22)

The Nutcracker is a staple of the holiday season, especially when it’s the night before Christmas Eve. The Genesee Theatre in Waukegan opens its curtain for the annual Dancecenter North ballet originally composed by Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky. This legendary story follows a group of family and friends gathered together for a Christmas celebration. Clara, the story’s protagonist, is given a Nutcracker gift from her godfather. When the children go to bed, Clara stays awake and finds herself in the middle of a battle between a slew of mice and toy soldiers – and thus, the magic ensues with the soldiers led by the Nutcracker himself. 

Radiance NYE 2024 Featuring Ganja White Night, Woolie, Boogie T. and more at the Lake County Fairgrounds and Event Center (Dec. 30-Jan. 1)

Ring in New Year’s Eve weekend with enough bass to shake the Lake County Fairgrounds and Event Center's foundation. Radiance New Year’s Eve hosts two nights of electronic dance music (EDM) complemented by dazzling light shows. The Grayslake festival features a bunch of acts including Ganja White Night, Woolie, Boogie T and more. 



For more information about the Lake County arts and entertainment world, continue here. To view more holiday events in the land of lakes, click here.

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