This lovely little show is like a Shakespeare comedy set to Rimsky-Korsakov’s Sheherazade, full of wise and generous leaders, beautiful young couples, comic relief, and easily averted trouble. Or perhaps it’s a counter to The Merchant of Venice, since the wrath of Jew haters is turned away by a soft answer and a Jew’s daughter clings to her father rather than seeking to escape from him to Christianity. In any case, the Chicago Festival of the Arts’ debut production–Paul D’Andrea’s adaptation of Gotthold Lessing’s 18th-century play about the Crusades, set in Jerusalem during the 12th-century reign of the tolerant sultan Saladin–is the best Christmas show you’re likely to see this year, full of peace on earth and goodwill toward everyone. David Darlow is the perfect Nathan, a Jewish merchant modeled on the scholar Maimonides: as the still heart of the action, Darlow looks like a Chagall rabbi or the Moses that Cecil B. De Mille should have had in mind. Scott Aiello is elfin as Al-Hafi, a Muslim court treasurer in love with Nathan’s Christian servant, played by Susan Gosdick, who delivers malapropisms with utter aplomb, completely convincing us she’s “the prawn of fate.” Through 12/31: Wed-Sat 8 PM, Sun 2:30 PM, Theatre Building Chicago, 1225 W. Belmont, 773-327-5252, $33-$40.