12 Shops of Christmas {2015}: Genesee Theatre Waukegan

Welcome to Little Lake County’s 12 Shops of Christmas! Each day for 12 days, we will feature a wonderful local retailer as a way of encouraging our community to shop local this holiday season.

When you buy local, you are making an investment in yourself and your community. Learn more about these unique shops by doing business close to home.

Genesee Theatre WaukeganGenesee Theatre

203 N. Genesee Street, Waukegan | 847-782-2366
Facebook | Twitter

Every year my mother-in-law gives each of the kids a “Grandma Day.” This is an activity, event or experience of the child’s choosing that he or she gets to do with Grandma and the family. It’s their favorite present every year! They love planning their Grandma Day adventures. My two girls almost always pick to share their day and go to show with their grandma.

Theatre experiences make great non-toy gifts the whole family can enjoy. They also make great gifts for that person on your list that seems to have everything. You know the one who no matter what you get him or her you can just see the forced smile behind his or her eyes.

The Genesee Theatre is located in Waukegan’s Arts District, and rightfully so; when you walk inside prepare to be amazed at the beauty. The theatre was built in 1927 and no expense was spared. From the terra cotta and pressed brick ornate design of the outside to the Spanish Renaissance interior design with a stunning chandelier in the lobby, no expense was spared in it’s construction. After closing in 1989, the City of Waukegan purchased the property in 1999 and began renovations at a cost of almost $23 million with the help of more than 120 volunteers. The theatre re-opened in 2004 and despite the changes to it, the historic integrity of the Genesee remains.

Genesee Theatre Waukegan
Photo Credit: Genesee Theatre

The Genesee Theatre has several upcoming shows that are not only perfect for families and children but would make great holiday gifts or outing as an extended family. In addition to the shows, the Genessee Theatre has some promotions with local restaurants. Plan a family day this season and have dinner and show together. Multi-generational outings are experiences your children will never forget.


The perfect show for a multi-generational family celebration is The Magic of the Nutcracker presented by Dancenter North. This production of the holiday classic is the most lavish performance you will find in Lake County. It rivals anything you will see in a larger city, and it’s close to home. Clara’a dream has been brought to life in a beautiful production by Dancenter North that features more than 100 performers, including internationally renowned guests artists. For more than 20 years, Dancenter North’s “Nutcracker” has been Lake County’s favorite version of the classic holiday ballet. Tickets prices range from $15-$36 and are available now.

Families with younger children should consider getting tickets to the School Performance of Dancenter North’s The Magic of the Nutcracker. If you don’t mind a theatre full of school children it’s a great show for the preschool set. The 80-minute professional live performance inspires and provides an opportunity to enjoy dance, drama and classical music. I took my three and a half year old last year and while she was a little antsy through the first half (where are the tutus, mama/!) she sat in awe and amazement for the whole second half. And we were home for lunch! The school performance takes place December 11 at 10:00 a.m., and tickets are $9 per person.

If you are looking to give the gift of theatre:

goodnight moon at Genesse theatreThe Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia brings you a celebration of familiar nighttime rituals with Goodnight Moon & the Runaway Bunny. This widely traveled production incorporates puppetry, striking scenic effects and evocative original music to provide audiences of all ages with an effortless introduction to the performing arts and the excitement of reading. Celebrate Valentine’s Day with your children with this classic bedtime story brought to life! While not this production, we saw a version of this show last year and my three year old loved it! This would be a great first theater experience for younger children. Tickets for the show are $12 general admission.  The school performance of this show will take place on February 16 at 10:00 a.m.

very hungry catepaller at genesseeOn our theatre bucket list for 2016, The Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia brings you three beloved stories by Eric Carle. Retold through the magic of black light and fanciful puppets, The Very Hungry Caterpillar follows the wonderful adventures of a tiny caterpillar as he eats his way through an amazing variety of foods on his path to becoming a beautiful butterfly. This performance will also feature Little Cloud and The Mixed Up Chameleon. I can’t wait to take my soon-to-be three-year-old son as I think he will absolutely delight in seeing favorite story book characters come to life on stage! Tickets for this show are $12 general admission. The school performance will take place March 7 at 10:00 a.m.

In addition to the great theatre productions and national acts, The Genesse Theatre also shows films.  One that you will want to have your calendar this holiday season is It’s a Wonderful Life. Not only will you get to watch this classic film on the large screen of a gorgeous theatre, Karolyn Grimes who played Zuzu will be there for a question-and-answer session after the movie concludes. The show is December 6 at 2:00 and 6:30 p.m., and tickets are $15 for adults and $13 for children.

Give the gift of theatre this season with the Genessee Theatre!

Genesee Theatre
203 N. Genesee Street, Waukegan | 847.782.2366
Facebook | Twitter

Disclosure: 12 Shops of Christmas is part of a paid advertising partnership with Little Lake County.

About Melissa Haak 626 Articles
Melissa is mom to 4. She used to dream of traveling the world, now she dreams of a clean kitchen. She can be found on most social media sites as @PBinmyHair because with this much hair and four kids, you're bound to find something in it.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.