Organized chronologically, from opening date

Global Rhythms: Human Rhythm Project
Concert series dedicated to American tap and contemporary percussive arts companies showcases rhythms from around the world, featuring Diabolus in Musica, BAM!, Jump Rhythm Jazz Project, Step Afrika!, and Ensemble Espanol. Half the proceeds benefit over 50 Chicago non-profits through the Thanks4Giving program. Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph, (312)334-7777. November 26, 8pm; November 27, 3pm and 8pm; November 28, 3pm. $15-55.

Thirsty: Improv Drinking Party
Christmas comes early for the drinkers and actors of the Improv Drinking Party. Each show is crafted from audience suggestions, featuring new drinking games and songs. Apollo Theater, 2540 N. Lincoln, (773)935-6100. Saturdays through December 18 (no show November 27), 10:30pm. $15.

Ethan Claymore
Norm Foster’s holiday comedy premieres in Chicago at Attic Playhouse. The title character, a recluse artist and struggling egg farmer, has succumbed to loneliness until his estranged brother returns a week before Christmas. An enthusiastic neighbor and beauteous new school teacher help reinvigorate him, just in time for the holiday. Attic Playhouse, 410 Sheridan, Highwood, (847)433-2660. Through December 19, Fridays-Saturdays, 8pm, Sundays, 3pm. $22 ($20 advance).

Octavarius: So Nefarious at ComedySportz
On the Monday before their Sunday night show, the improv group Octavarius releases a podcast on the week’s theme. Naturally,  then November 28 is musicals, then December 5 is drinking games, and December 12, the final show, is holidays. Spectators dressed to the theme get $3 off their tickets. ComedySportz Theatre, 929 W. Belmont, (773)549-8080. Sundays, through December 12, 7pm. $10.

A Christmas Carol
Charles Dickens’ classic tale adapted by Tom Creamer for the Goodman Theatre will feature a brand-new Ebenezer Scrooge: Chicagoan John Judd. Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn, (312)443-3800. Through December 31.

A Klingon Christmas Carol
Commedia Beauregard continues its translated tales with Dickens’ holiday classic in the Klingon language of “Star Trek,” with English subtitles for those not fluent. A hit in the Twin Cities, the “Feast of the Long Night Song” makes its Chicago debut this season. Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln, (773)404-7336. November 26-December 19, 7:30pm, 2:30 pm Sundays. $32.

It’s A Wonderful Life: Live at the Biograph
American Blues Theater opens its 2010-2011 season with another rendition of “It’s A Wonderful Life.” Set as a 1940s radio broadcast based on Frank Capra’s original film, the show features real commercial breaks and live Foley sound effects. Richard Christiansen Theater at Victory Gardens, 2433 N. Lincoln, (773)871-3000. Previews November 26-December 5, shows December 8-31, Wednesdays-Sundays. $32-$50 ($20 preview).

Dysfunctional Holiday Revue
Second City spins the holidays according to the company’s famed improvisational style with a sprig of holiday mischief. Scenes with ensemble members include an uneven girlfriend-boyfriend gift exchange and couples therapy with Mary and Joseph. Second City e.t.c. Theatre, 1608 N. Wells, (312)337-3992. November 30-December 27, Tuesdays-Wednesdays, 7:30pm, Saturdays-Sundays, 4pm, Mondays, 8pm. $16-$22.

Poverty Christmas Pageant II
Bringing the holidays and the recession together, Lights Out Theatre Company presents its second annual rendition of the impoverished Christmas pageant through sketch comedy and live music. Apollo Theatre, 2540 N. Lincoln, (773)935-6100. December 2-11, 8pm. $15.

Amahl and the Night Visitors
Chamber Opera Chicago closes its 2010 season with its fifth annual presentation of Gian Carlo Menotti’s “Amahl and the Night Visitors.” Sung in English, the three kings’ one-act Christmas classic features Español Dance Theater and a children’s chorus. Cindy Pritzker Auditorium at Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State, (312)951-7944. December 4, 7:30pm; December 5, 3pm. $25 ($20 students, $10 children).

The Nutracker by Salt Creek Ballet
Salt Creek Ballet returns to Paramount Theatre for this dreamy holiday tale, featuring sixty-five local dancers. Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena, Aurora, (630)896-6666. December 4, 1pm and 5pm. $30 adult, $24 children.

A Christmas Carol at Paramount
The musical returns for two days this holiday season. Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena, Aurora, (630)896-6666. December 5, 3pm; December 6, 9am and 12pm. $20-$37 adult, $14-$26 children.

A Christmas Carl
Chicago dell’Arte revamps the classic Dickens tale with a Southern perspective. Proprietor of a Texan auto shop, Carl Scrooge and his employees venture through a series of events twisted from the original play. Director Ned Record modernizes the characters and relates them to his own childhood in Texas. RBP Rorschach, 4001 N. Ravenswood, (773)530-1040. December 7-22, 8pm, 2pm Sundays. $15 suggested donation.

Joffrey Nutcracker
The ballet holiday special turns American with Robert Joffrey’s rendition, complete with Tchaikovsky’s original score. Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress, (312)922-2110. December 10-26, Tuesdays-Sundays, 2pm and 7pm.

A John Waters Christmas
Cult filmmaker John Waters talks up and down holiday traditions, stories, and Santa in the Chicago debut of his one-man show, “A John Waters Christmas.” He will also join 100 fans at a cocktail reception after the show ($150). Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph, (312)334-7777. December 14, 7:30pm. $35-65.

White Christmas
Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas,” The Musical debuts in Chicago this holiday season. Featuring some of the singer’s best-known holiday hits, the show follows a similar storyline as the 1954 movie. Bank of America Theatre, 18 W. Monroe, (312)977-1700. December 15-January 2, 2pm and 7:30pm. $25-$98.