The Christmas Schooner | Mercury Theater Chicago | Theater & Performance, Holiday Shows | Chicago Reader
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Brett Beiner

When: Wednesdays-Sundays. Continues through Dec. 31 2016
Price: $30-$69
John Reeger and Julie Shannon, creators of this facile, treacly Christmas musical, implant a purportedly rhetorical question at its center: Why would Michigan sea captain Peter Stossel risk his life sailing his schooner laden with Christmas trees 300 miles to Chicago across a stormy November Lake Michigan in 1882 just so that others "can know the joy of Christmas?" Here's my answer. Stossel, singled out in the show as an astute businessman, chops down 2,500 trees without paying for them, then sells them for 50 cents a pop. He and a skeleton crew score $1,250—roughly $30,000 in 2016 dollars—for five weeks of work. Profit is a singular motivator, especially when you can mask it behind Jesus and tradition. Bring the whole family! —Justin Hayford

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