Every few years a friend will suggest the Music Box's Christmas Show, and I always bite. It's a great way to enjoy the holidays in Chicago!
Walk in to the Mediterranean-inspired theater, blue painted skies, lanterns, tiles and even a fountain. This is an old-school theater. There are twinkling stars on the ceiling of the main theater and clouds are projected as well. Though my friend thought there were fewer stars than in the past, and the clouds were a little sloppy. The ante-lobby is all decked-out for Christmas --
In line with all the people in Santa caps and reindeer antlers you enter the main theater lobby, where members of the Chicago Chamber Choir sing carols next to a huge tree.
I went for the double feature -- White Christmas and It's a Wonderful Life -- which I had never done before. I'm kind of a White Christmas girl -- "the best things happen while you're dancing," they say (though there are parts about knights on white chargers that make me a little ill). But, my friend suggested the double feature, and I was game. I only saw It's a Wonderful Life for the first time about ten years ago, and I don't ever really watch it, so it's still fresh for me.
Between shows photos of Chicago Christmases past are projected on the screen, courtesy of the Chicago History Museum. There were some great ones. This one is of ladies making holiday wreaths --
There was also one of a horse-drawn snowplow! And the Christmas shoppers on State Street looked amazing similar to today (save the outfits, of course). They were laden with packages.
Before each movie, those carolers from the lobby would come in and sing a couple of tunes with the organist (remember -- old-school theater) to warm up the crowd. And after "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" is over -- if we sang loud enough -- guess who comes out!!
Santa leads the whole theater in song, with the carol lyrics projected on the screen. Some of these lyric pages look like they are from 1968. And people bring sleighbells to jingle as they sing.
My personal favorites are the parodies -- there was a song to the tune of "My Favorite Things", and "I'm Dreaming of a Chicago Christmas", which reminds old-timers and regales the newcomers of Field's windows, Frango mints and Uncle Mistletoe (and here), as well as memories of when the Berghoff served a meal with care -- ouch!
At during this last carol, a snowstorm is projected onto the screen, and the movie starts. The sleighbells are reprised when Clarence gets his wings!