Holiday Fun At The Rialto Square Theatre On Rt. 66

Can’t-miss seasonal activities at The First Hundred Mile’s premiere live venue

Provided by Rialto Square Theater

Home for the Holidays, the Rialto Square Theatre’s annual season of festive special events, runs now through Dec. 22 in downtown Joliet. The spectacular lineup of family-friendly shows includes revival screenings of classic holiday films, special performances by well-known artists, and all-ages shows by up-and-coming performers. Join us as we take a look at some of the exciting revival film screenings, musical and theatrical events coming to the opulent Rialto Square Theatre this holiday season.

Holiday Movies: “The Polar Express”

Saturday, Nov. 25 | 6 pm

Tom Hanks and director Robert Zemeckis (“Forrest Gump”; “Cast Away”) reunite for “Polar Express,” an inspiring adventure based on the beloved children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg. When a doubting young boy takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery that shows him that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe.

Von Heidecke’s Chicago Festival Ballet’s production of “The Nutcracker”

Sunday, Nov. 26 | 2 pm

The holiday favorite fairy tale ballet is perfect for the entire family. The magical production features lavish costumes, exquisite sets, including a Christmas tree that grows before your eyes, and sensational choreography. Journey through the land of whirling snowflakes and visit the kingdom of the Sugar Plum Fairy. This is one holiday tradition you won’t want to miss.

The Gatlin Brothers: Country & Christmas

Thursday, Nov. 30 | 7:30 PM

For more than 67 years, the Gatlin Brothers have entertained audiences in venues and stages all over the world from the Grand Ol’ Opry to Carnegie Hall. They have performed for the Grammy Awards, American Music Awards, and People’s Choice Awards. They appeared on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,” “Oprah,” “Hee-Haw,” “The Love Boat,” “The Midnight Special” with Wolfman Jack, the “Merv Griffin Show,” “Solid Gold,” Barbara Mandrell’s show and their own variety special on ABC.

“Away In The Basement: A Church Basement Ladies Christmas”

Sunday, Dec. 3 | 2 pm

The musical comedy “Away in the Basement” takes us back to 1959 and the day of the Sunday School Christmas Program. In the midst of holiday preparations and sprinklings of love in the air, the ladies in their witty, down-to-earth style are creating their own memories from Christmases past and present. Content to do things the way they have always been done yet pondering new ideas, the reality of everyday life hits home as they plan the Sunday School Christmas Program. As the children rehearse up in the sanctuary, several of the ladies of the kitchen are finishing up the treat bags filled with apples, peanuts and ribbon candy, while the others put the final touches on the Nativity pieces. As they mend old bathrobe costumes, discuss the politics of who’s going to play the various roles, little do the ladies know what surprises are in store for them. Known for their hilarious antics and subtle charm, they are once again called upon to step in and save the day.

“It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play”

Friday, Dec. 8 | 7 pm

An annual holiday tradition returns to Rialto Square Theatre – join WJOL for an evening you won’t forget, as local radio talents perform the Christmas classic, “It’s A Wonderful Life” live from the Rialto stage, as it broadcasts on WJOL simultaneously. This is always a highlight of the holiday season. All proceeds from ticket sales benefit the Rialto Square Theatre’s mission to bring the biggest and brightest talents to the Rialto Square stage.

Steven Curtis Chapman Christmas

Saturday, Dec. 9 | 7:30 PM

Steven Curtis Chapman has spent the last 35 years writing and performing genre-defining songs that shaped a generation. With a staggering 50 No. 1 singles in his catalog, he is the most awarded artist in Christian music history, winning 59 GMA Dove Awards, five Grammy Awards, an American Music Award, and selling more than 16 million albums with 10 RIAA-Certified Gold or Platinum albums. In short, Steven Curtis Chapman is synonymous with contemporary Christian music.

American Legion Band Concert

Sunday, Dec. 10 | 2 pm

The Joliet American Legion Band will bring the sounds of the season to life on the Rialto Square Theatre stage. Enriched by tradition, military sharpness and musical integrity, these musicians are delighted to bring you an unforgettable performance with their tremendously rousing musical spirit. A ticket is free in exchange for a generous food/nonperishable donation, with donation exchange dates and times to be announced.

Merry Little Soiree featuring Nova Soul Quartet

Monday, Dec. 11 | 6:15 pm

Tuesday, Dec. 12 | 6:15 pm

Wednesday, Dec. 13 | 6:15 pm

Cocktail hour: 6 p.m.; 7 p.m. performance

Enjoy a swanky Christmas party with local favorite Nova Soul. Start the evening with cocktail hour (cash bar), and then be escorted to your table for two in the Esplanade where you will be served a charcuterie board by Bella Cucina and a bottle of wine from the local winery Bishops Hill, while Nova Soul performs holiday music. You also will receive a keepsake Rialto Square Theatre wine stopper. Enter at 15 E. Van Buren St. Reservations are required. Holiday or business casual dress code. Cash bar available. Tickets are available only at the box office. Reserve red or white wine for your table.

The Joliet Christmas is decorated and ready for the official lighting on Friday.

Holiday Movies: “Elf”

Sunday, Dec. 17 | 2 pm

Buddy (Will Ferrell) was accidentally transported to the North Pole as a toddler and raised to adulthood among Santa’s elves. Unable to shake the feeling that he doesn’t fit in, the adult Buddy travels to New York, in full elf uniform, in search of his real father. As it happens, this is Walter Hobbs (James Caan), a cynical businessman. After a DNA test proves it, Walter reluctantly attempts to start a relationship with the childlike Buddy with increasingly chaotic results. Rated PG.

“A Magical Cirque Christmas”

Thursday, Dec. 21 | 7:30 pm

Embrace the holiday spirit with “A Magical Cirque Christmas,” a variety show full of nostalgia, charm and awe-inspiring performances for all ages. Get ready to be dazzled, enchanted, and filled with holiday cheer as you witness the incredible talents of world-class entertainers performing to your favorite holiday music. Celebrate the magic of the season with the entire family at “A Magical Cirque Christmas.”

Holiday Movies: “Home Alone”| PG

Friday, Dec. 22 | 6 pm

When bratty 8-year-old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) acts out the night before a family trip to Paris, his mother (Catherine O’Hara) makes him sleep in the attic. After the McCallisters mistakenly leave for the airport without Kevin, he awakens to an empty house and assumes his wish to have no family has come true. But his excitement sours when he realizes that two con men (Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern) plan to rob the McCallister residence, and that he alone must protect the family home.

The Rialto Square Theatre, known as the “Jewel of Joliet,” was opened to the public in 1926 – the same year Route 66 was completed. For nearly a century, this gorgeous Neo-Baroque-style building has entertained locals and 66 travelers alike. Originally designed as a massive almost 2,000 seat vaudeville movie house, the opulent theatre now hosts touring bands, lavish live theater performances and some of the biggest names in standup comedy. The photo-worthy building has even earned a high-ranking spot on the American Institute of Architects’ list of “150 Great Places In Illinois”.

Visit for more information and to learn how to reserve your tickets for these exciting holiday events.