Sunday, December 3, 2017

REVIEW: Hey Mary! Christmas With Rudolph the Red Hosed Reindeer Through 12/30

Chi IL Live Shows On Our Radar: 

Old School Drag Delight, 20th Season of Rudolph the Red Hosed Reindeer  Classic Camp

All Photos by Rick Aguilar Studios

Come out of the closet and into the attic, Hamburger Mary's attic that is. On opening night drag queens on roller skates were camping it up in the ground floor burger joint, while upstairs, a hilarious holiday musical tradition hit the double decades mark. It was a hoot to catch opening night as the audience was filled with Hell in a Handbag celebs and divas from their other hit shows. Everyone is welcome, gay... straight... non binary... crossdressing... LGBTQ... LPGA... 

This parody of, you guessed it, the animated Rudolph Christmas classic is ripe for high camp and Hell in a Handbag kills it. I have friends that have come to this show annually for years, but I was a Mary's Attic virgin. The show was every bit as kitschy as I'd expected from King of Camp, David Cerda, and the upstairs bar had an impressive selection of drinks. 

The script has been updated to lampoon current political figures and events (Melania's holiday twigs decor makes a cameo!) with Trump's over the top crazy front and center. Expect a jilted, alcohol soaked ex on the prowl, a slightly incestuous hybrid Ivana/Ivanka, and even Kellyanne "Conjob". I must know where Mrs. Claus gets her collection of holiday themed polyester babydoll dresses!

Of course, leave the littles home for this one unless you want them traumatized by santa in a g-string, drunken cougar ex Mrs. Claus, the abominable drag beast who abducts people and makes them listen to her sing, and other assorted sordid characters, but it's great fun for the 21+ set. We adored "Yukon Cornelia" (who claimed to be straight), crossdressing Rudolph (so adorable I want to adopt him and raise him as my own), gender fluid metal chick Clarice, Herbie the not gay enough elf, the "mean girls" elves, the island of misfit toys, and of course the hilarious snowman narrator.

Rudolph (Graham Thomas Heacock) upstaging the also adorable Herbie (Kristopher Bottrall)

Overall, the message is much like the original, it's OK to be different. Friends and allies can be found in unlikely places. And sometimes you have to run away before your family can appreciate the true you.

Back by Popular Demand!
Hell in a Handbag Productions Presents the Holiday Hit
By David Cerda

Co-Directed by Becca Holloway & AJ Wright
November 25 – December 30, 2017 at Mary’s Attic

Hell in a Handbag Productions is pleased to conclude its 15th Anniversary Season with its most popular show ever: the holiday hit RUDOLPH THE RED-HOSED REINDEER 2017 by David Cerda*, co-directed by Becca Holloway and AJ Wright*. Handbag’s irreverent parody of the 1967 Rankin Bass children’s television special will play November 25 – December 30, 2017 at Mary’s Attic, 5400 N. Clark St. in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. Tickets are on currently available at (through Brown Paper Tickets) or by calling (800) 838-3006.

RUDOLPH THE RED-HOSED REINDEER will feature Graham Thomas Heacock as Rudolph, Kristopher Bottrall* as Herbie, Allison Petrillo as Jane Donner, Chase Wheaton-Werle as Tom Donner, Michael Hampton as Santa, Tommy Bullington as Mrs. Claus, Sydney Genco* as Elfina, Colin Funk as Spike, Michael Rawls as Score, Josh Kemper as Coach Comet, Lori Lee* as Yukon Cornelia, Terry McCarthy* as Connie Blitzen, David Cerda* as Gladys Dasher, Christea Parent* as Clarice and Matthew Sergot as Sam the Snowman.

Chicago’s favorite cross-dressing reindeer is back and he’s 20 years old! RUDOLPH THE RED-HOSED REINDEER had its first reading in 1996 and has evolved into one of Chicago’s most popular anti-holiday, holiday shows. Join Rudolph and all of his misfit friends as they struggle with fitting in and being ‘normal’ in an increasingly abnormal world. Playwright David Cerda* always adjusts the show to fit the current social climate. 

The production team for RUDOLPH THE RED-HOSED REINDEER includes: Roger Wykes (set design), Kate Setzer Kamphausen (costume design), Cat Wilson* (lighting design), Ralph Loza (sound design), Adrian Hadlock* (props design), Lauren Griffith (choreography), Keith Ryan* (wig design), Sydney Genco* (make-up design) JD Caudill* (music director) and Drew Donnelly (stage manager).

*Denotes Hell in a Handbag Ensemble Members

Cast (in alphabetical order): Kristopher Bottrall* (Herbie), Tommy Bullington (Mrs. Claus), David Cerda* (Gladys Dasher), Colin Funk (Spike), Sydney Genco* (Elfina), Michael Hampton (Santa), Graham Thomas Heacock (Rudolph), Josh Kemper (Coach Comet), Lori Lee* (Yukon Cornelia), Terry McCarthy* (Connie Blitzen), Christea Parent* (Clarice) Allison Petrillo (Jane Donner), Michael Rawls (Score), Matthew Sergot as (Sam the Snowman) and Chase Wheaton-Werle (Tom Donner).

Location: Mary’s Attic, 5400 N. Clark St., Chicago
Dates: Previews: Saturday, November 25 at 7:30 pm, Sunday, November 26 at 7:30 pm and Thursday, November 30 at 7:30 pm
Regular run: Thursday, December 7 – Saturday, December 30, 2017

Curtain Times: Thursday, Fridays and Saturday at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 6 pm. Please note: there will not be performances on Saturday, December 2, Sunday, December 3 or Sunday, December 24 (Christmas Eve); there will be an added performance on Wednesday, December 20 at 7:30 pm.

Tickets: Previews $13. Regular run $25 in advance, $30 at the door. VIP tickets with cocktail $40 and up. Group rates $20 for 10 or more. Tickets are currently on sale at (through Brown Paper Tickets) or by calling (800) 838-3006.

About the Creative Team

David Cerda (Playwright) is the Jeff Award winning co-founder and Artistic Director of Hell in a Handbag Productions. He has written and appeared in POSEIDON! An Upside Down Musical (Jeff Recommended), The Birds, Rudolph the Red-Hosed Reindeer, SCARRIE The Musical, Caged Dames (Jeff Recommended), Lady X, How Whatever Happened to Baby Jane Happened, TROGG! A Rock and Roll Musical, Christmas Dearest (Jeff Recommended), Scream, Queen! SCREAM!, The Rip Nelson Halloween Spooktacular, Sexy Baby (Jeff Award Nomination – Best New Work), Lady X: The Musical (Jeff Recommended) and his new hit, The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes. His plays have been produced around the country. He has also worked as a songwriter/lyricist with Amazon Films on an animated project and as an actor with various theater companies throughout the city of Chicago. Cerda was recently inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame for his contributions to Chicago theatre.

Becca Holloway (Co-Director) is thrilled to be working with Hell in a Handbag again after assistant directing Bewildered this past fall. Directing credits include: 44 Plays for 44 Presidents (Oil Lamp Theatre) and Buried in the Bahamas (Artistic Home). Becca has also had opportunities to work around Chicago and surrounding areas with: The Comrades, Refuge Theatre Project and Big Noise Theater. Stay tuned for her choreography in Brown Paper Box Co.'s Speech and Debate this February.

AJ Wright (Co-Director) is a proud ensemble member with Hell in a Handbag Productions. Directing credits with Handbag include: Caged Dames (Jeff Recommended), Christmas Dearest (Jeff Recommended), and Rudolph the Red-Hosed Reindeer (2011 & 2012). Around Chicago, AJ has also had the pleasure of directing/assistant directing with Kokandy Productions, Pride Films and Plays and Waltzing Mechanics.  You may also recognize AJ from his work as an actor in Handbag’s Bewildered (Darrin G), The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes (Blanche), Rip Nelson’s Holiday Spectacular (Peggy Lennon), Sexy Baby (Kyle Kennedy) and SCARRIE (Tommy Ross).  AJ holds a degree in theatre from Ball State University.

About Hell in a Handbag Productions
Hell in a Handbag is dedicated to the preservation, exploration, and celebration of works ingrained in the realm of popular culture via theatrical productions through parody, music and homage. Handbag is a 501(c)(3) Not for Profit.

For additional information, visit

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