Redmoon Theater’s eighth annual Winter Pageant may be the most nonconforming, nontraditional holiday show currently playing in Chicago. The Winter Pageants have always been nonreligious by design, but this year not only are Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanza never mentioned, winter gets only scant attention. This year’s pageant is based roughly on the Logan Square mural depicting three firefighters in angels’ wings who gave their lives putting out an apartment fire in the mid-80s–though it might be more accurate to say that fires and firemen are only the jumping-off point for a gorgeous, sprawling work about the beauty of spring, the despoiling of nature, and the growth of cities. As in past pageants, an army of adults and children–from the neighborhood and all corners of Chicago’s non-Equity theater scene–have banded together to create this show, packed to the rafters with wit, invention, sweet storytelling, and awesome spectacle: rolling hills that sprout houses like flowers, firemen in gorilla masks, 20-foot-high women with skirts that hide tiny puppet stages. By the end of the show winter does rear its chilly head: the final images are as pointed and bittersweet as the sight of bare tree branches against an overcast sky, and they’ve stayed with me longer than any scene in any more obvious holiday show. Logan Square Auditorium, 2539 N. Kedzie, 773-388-9031. Through December 19: Thursday, 7:30 PM; Friday, 7 PM; Saturday, 5 and 7:30 PM; Sunday, 2 and 5 PM. $8. –Jack Helbig

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Kari Bromfield.