Mercury Theater Chicago presents

Coming soon - dates TBA

Book by John Reeger
Music and Lyrics by Julie Shannon

Returning for its annual voyage, THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER has become Chicago’s holiday tradition.  The whole family will enjoy this heartwarming story of the first Christmas tree ship and the family who risked their lives to fill Chicago with the Christmas spirit.

The Chicago Tribune calls this show “a sacred part of a Chicago Christmas”. The Chicago Sun-Times raved, “An inheritance to be treasured”. A timely and uplifting tale of love and loss, THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER reminds us of tradition, and our responsibility to celebrate the living while honoring our heritage.    


The shipwreck of the Rouse Simmons, known as ‘The Christmas Tree Ship’, served as inspiration for THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER. Her captain and crew risked the notoriously violent winter lake to bring Christmas trees from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to Chicago’s German immigrants. Each year, Captain Herman Schuenemann would sell trees right off of the ship at the Clark Street Docks, and was known to give free trees to the needy. On November 23rd 1912, the ship was swept up in a terrible storm. It was not until 59 years later that she was discovered, lying in 170 feet of water. Today the Rouse Simmons and her cargo of 5,500 well stacked trees remain preserved in the cold, fresh waters of Lake Michigan and her legend has grown to mythical proportions. The Blaine Nickelodeon – the silent film theater that now houses the Mercury Theater Chicago – opened that very same year.

Wednesday at 8pm
Thursday at 8pm
Friday at 8pm
Saturday at 3pm & 8pm
Sunday at 3pm

Running time:
2 hours, 15 minutes
(including intermission)

Mercury Theater