Christmas Comes But Once a Year | Newberry

Christmas Comes But Once a Year

Christmas card from the Elmer Jacob papers.

Christmas card from the Elmer Jacob papers.

A theatrical reading by the Shakespeare Project of Chicago
Saturday, December 14, 2019

Door open for refreshments at 9:30; performance begins at 10

Ruggles Hall

Free and open to all. Reserve your free tickets now.
Open to the Public

Join us for a special holiday-themed morning, with traditional carols, a special holiday performance, and free hot chocolate and treats.

The morning opens with a selection of carols, featuring a program of holiday music by Hannah Mary Simpson accompanied by Camille Cote, followed by a theatrical reading of George Zahora’s Christmas Comes But Once a Year, a new work commissioned for The Shakespeare Project of Chicago, featuring a cast of Shakespeare Project favorites directed by Peter Garino.

Late December 2019: At a backwater British university, a trio of squabbling academics attempt to unlock an ancient puzzle box containing the script for “Christmas Comes But Once A Year,” a long-lost holiday extravaganza penned by a quartet of Shakespeare’s contemporaries. And, in a flashback to November 1602, those playwrights—Thomas Heywood, Henry Chettle, Thomas Dekker, and John Webster—struggle to complete an “accessible” holiday story.

Can they meet their deadline? Will their famous frienemy “Wm Shakspr” come through with a bit of help? And why was “Christmas Comes But Once A Year” erased from history? Past and Present collide messily in this rollicking world-premiere original holiday comedy, written by longtime Shakespeare Project sound designer George Zahora.

Running time with a brief intermission will be about one hour, 15 minutes.

Your generosity is vital in keeping the library’s programs, exhibitions, and reading rooms free and accessible to everyone. Make a donation today.

Cost and Registration Information 

Open to the public; free tickets required. Obtain tickets using this link.

Doors open half an hour before the program begins, with first-come, first-served seating for registered attendees. We will admit walk-ins without tickets if space permits, 10 minutes before the event begins.

People with disabilities and other accessibility concerns can request to be seated first. To reserve an access-friendly space in the room, first register using the link above, then email at least 48 hours before the event. Seats arranged in this way will be held until 10 minutes before the event starts.