Event—Public Programming

Christmas Comes But Once a Year

Christmas card from the Elmer Jacob papers.

Christmas card from the Elmer Jacob papers.

Christmas card from the Elmer Jacob papers.

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.