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Chicago hip-hop sensations the Q Brothers Collective heat up the holiday season with ‘Q Brothers Christmas Carol’

Chicago Shakespeare Theater is once again the ultimate destination for the holiday season. The 80-minute hip-hop holiday hit “Q Brothers Christmas Carol,” created by Chicago sensations the Q Brothers Collective (GQ, JQ, Jax, and Pos) and developed with Creative Producer Rick Boynton, is back in a limited engagement in The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare, running through December 23, 2021.

The Theater recently hosted the popular virtual Holiday Artisan Market in support of local theater makers and community artists. Nearly 20 Chicago-area artisans showcased more than 250 handcrafted wares in an online pop-up shop.

The wildly entertaining “Q Brothers Christmas Carol” remixes the Charles Dickens’ classic, mashing up musical styles ranging from reggae and dance- hall music, to dubstep and epic rock ballads. Fully decked out in the holiday spirit with stage-side cocktail tables and theater seating, the Theater is strewn with more than two miles of twinkling lights as the Ghosts of hip-hop Past, Present, and Future lead Scrooge on a journey of rhythm, rhyme, and redemption. While the temperatures drop outside, the festive party atmosphere in The Yard will be heating up with the non-stop energy of this invigorating musical.

A RASTAFARIAN
A RASTAFARIAN JACOB MARLEY (JQ, center) and his crew of reggae spirits (left to right, Jax and Pos) haunt Scrooge. (Photos by Liz Lauren)

The internationally acclaimed Q Brothers Collective fuses hip-hop and theater—adapting classic stories with a wholly original style of performance that has amassed a cult following of fans in Chicago and beyond. The Q Brothers Collective pioneered the concept of “ad-raptation” with their Off- Broadway hit “The Bomb-itty of Errors.” Their award-winning collaborations with Chicago Shakespeare Theater Creative Producer Rick Boynton include “Othello: The Remix”—which premiered at Shakespeare’s Globe and toured to sold-out houses in London, Australia, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, and Off Broadway— and “Funk It Up About Nothin’,” which garnered the Jeff Award for Outstanding Ensemble and the Dress Circle Award for Best Musical Production at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

I wrote about this performance a few years ago, and it’s a wild and fun departure from the normal Christmas “ghosts” story. The introduction of hip hop and rap make it a fun time—from beginning until the end. “Q Brothers Christmas Carol” features the members of the Q Brothers Collective portraying all of the roles in the timeless story: GQ (Scrooge), JQ (Marley/ Belle/Present/Lil’ Tim), Jax (Fred/Dick Wilkins/Mama Cratchit), and Pos (Bob Cratchit/Past/Martha Cratchit)— joined by DJ Clayton Stamper spinning live beats onstage.

The creative team features Scenic and Costume Designer Scott Davis, Lighting Designer Jesse Klug, Sound Designer Stephen Ptacek, Associate Sound Designer Ralph Loza, and original Wig and Make-up Designer Melissa Veal, with Choreography by Anacron. A Chicago Shakespeare production, the performance is presented by CST and Richard Jordan Productions.

In its ongoing commitment to accessibility, Chicago Shakespeare offers accessible performances for “Q Brothers Christmas Carol,” which includes:

Audio-described performance– Sunday, December 12, 2021, at 3:00 p.m. A program that provides spoken narration of the play’s key visual elements for patrons who are blind or have low vision.

Open-captioned performance– Wednesday, December 15, 2021, at 7:00 p.m. A text display of the words and sounds heard during a play, synced live with the action onstage.

Run time is 80 minutes (no intermission). Single tickets ($38–$56) are on sale now with special discounts available for groups of 10 or more. For info, visit: chicagoshakes.com/qchristmas or engage on social media at #QChristmas. The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare is located at 800 E. Grand Ave., Navy Pier.

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