2020 was the year that theaters went dark, suddenly and indefinitely. As this tumultuous year comes to a close, here are 3 streaming shows from Belmont Theater District theaters to bring you some light and joy this holiday season. 

It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago!

American Blues Theater

November 12, 2020 – January 2, 2021

Live, Interactive Show on Zoom – Join 15 minutes early for interactive fun!

90 minutes with no intermission        Recommended for ages 10+

For over 19 years, American Blues has treated audiences to a live retelling of the Frank Capra classic in a 1940s radio broadcast tradition, making It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! the second longest-running holiday play in Chicago! Filled with original music and classic holiday carols, this warm “holiday favorite – makes the bells ring every time.” (Chicago Tribune)

Extras: Enhance your It’s a Wonderful Life experience with The Bedford Box, a specially prepared box of goodies from ABT delivered to your home. 

Submit an Audiogram! Write a heartfelt or comedic message to your friends, family, or the audience. Selected audiograms will be read during the live broadcast by the “wonderful” cast.

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The Rip Nelson Holiday Quarantine Special

Hell in a Handbag Productions

December 4, 2020 – January 8, 2021

Streaming Production – Shows stream at designated performances times

It’s 2020, and America’s favorite has-been funnyman, Rip Nelson, is in the hospital after an ill-advised gig on a Pride cruise. Rip is upset that Ryan Seacrest will be taking over as the host for his television holiday special! Rip’s not going to let anything stop him from being on that show! 

A determined Rip makes it to the studio with a little help from trippy magician, Doug Henning and some very strong painkillers ‘borrowed’ from Nurse Ursula. Rip soon finds himself in his weirdest television special ever!

Coming along for the strange ride include guests Bing Crosby, David Cassidy, Shari Lewis & Lambchop, Ella Fitzgerald, Charlton Heston, Bernadette Peters, Vampira, and Lucille Ball – or at least that’s who Rip thinks they are. . .

Join Rip as he goes on an amazing journey and is forced to confront his biggest holiday nightmare ever — himself.

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Ballet Chicago’s The Nutcracker

Athenaeum Theatre and Ballet Chicago

December 18 – 30, 2020

Two Streaming Options

90 minutes with no intermission

Through its inspiring story, beautiful music, and charming choreography, The Nutcracker is a celebration of the joyous holiday season. Every year The Nutcracker takes us on an unforgettable journey with young Marie as she travels from her home on Christmas Eve to the Kingdom of Snow and the Land of the Sweets.

Ballet Chicago’s Nutcracker, one of the city’s favorite holiday events, ​is performed by more than 120 Ballet Chicago students, ranging in age​ from three to adult!

Although the global pandemic has shuttered most live entertainment, Ballet Chicago is pirouetting and offering a brand new experience this holiday season. With two different streaming options, your family is sure to find a new holiday tradition.

​The first features Ballet Chicago’s fully intact historic Archival Stream performances available through Zoom.​ ​The second option is the 2020 Hybrid Stream that includes dancers from its current roster, with twelve restaged and socially-distanced dances to be safely filmed at​ the Athenaeum Theatre. These dances will then be inserted into existing historic footage to create Ballet Chicago’s 2020 Nutcracker, also streamed to viewers through Zoom. 

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To see what’s playing now in the BTD, head to our Shows page. 

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