Sunday, December 20, 2020

HELP OUT: Hell in a Handbag Productions Announces Annual Benefit “THE MORNING AFTER” Featuring the Very First Live Stream of POSEIDON! AN UPSIDE-DOWN MUSICAL Streaming January 1, 2021 from 6 – 9:30 pm CST

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar 

Hell in a Handbag Productions Announces Annual Benefit


Featuring the Very First Live Stream of


Streaming January 1, 2021 from 6 – 9:30 pm CST

Hell in a Handbag Productions is pleased to announce its annual benefit “The Morning After,” featuring the streaming world premiere of the smash hit musical that started it all for them, POSEIDON! An Upside-Down Musical on Friday, January 1, 2021 from 6 – 9:30 pm CST. Tickets ($22–$30) include a 6 pm pre-show discussion and never-before-seen clips from past POSEIDON! productions, memories from cast and crew members of all three productions, and a raffle and silent auction featuring fabulous self-care items for you to bid on to make your quarantine bearable! Handbag will also provide links to order food and cocktails from partnering restaurants. Tickets are currently available at All proceeds benefit Hell in a Handbag Productions, Chicago’s leading camp and parody theater company.

(left to right) Shane Roberie, Elizabeth Lesinski, Katherine Bellantone, Nicky Mendelson, David Lipschutz, Frankie Leo Bennett, Scott Sawa, Stevie Love, Tommy Bullington and Michael S. Miller in Hell in a Handbag Productions’ revival of POSEIDON! An Upside Down Musical. All Photos by Rick Aguilar Studios.

(front, l to r) Brittney Brown, Michael S. Miller, Tommy Bullington, Maiko Terazawa and the cast of Hell in a Handbag Productions’ revival of POSEIDON! An Upside Down Musical. 

“What do you to when your world turns upside down? That’s what POSEIDON! is about,” comments Artistic Director David Cerda*. “This is what makes the first live stream of POSEIDON! in 18 years so relevant for today. We’re all just trying to survive, physically and mentally.”

The 2019 production of POSEIDON! An Upside-Down Musical was recorded by Peter Neville* in HD with stereo sound at Chicago’s Edge Theater. POSEIDON! features book and lyrics by Handbag Artistic Director David Cerda*, music by David Cerda* with Scott Lamberty, direction by Derek Van Barham, music direction by Andrew Milliken and choreography by Breon Arzell.

(left to right) Frankie Leo Bennett, Shane Roberie, Elizabeth Lesinski, Katherine Bellantone, Stevie Love, Nicky Mendelson, Scott Sawa, Tommy Bullington, David Lipschutz and Michael S. Miller

The cast includes Katherine Bellantone, Frankie Leo Bennett, Brittney Brown, Tommy Bullington, Sydney Genco*, Caitlin Jackson*, Josh Kemper, Elizabeth Lesinski*, David Lipschutz*, Stevie Love*, Nicky Mendelson, Michael S. Miller*, Courtney Dane Mize, Elissa Newcorn, Marc Prince, Shane Roberie, Scott Sawa, Patrick Stengle and Maiko Terazawa.

(front) Stevie Love (with back, l to r) David Lipschutz, Shane Roberie, Elizabeth Lesinski, Nicky Mendelson and Scott Sawa 

It’s New Year’s Eve and a group of hardcore fans have gathered for their annual viewing of the greatest film ever – The Poseidon Adventure, the story of the capsize of the SS Poseidon on New Year’s Eve, and the handful of misfit passengers that decide to climb to the top of the ship – which is now the bottom. As the story progresses the viewers become one with the film. POSEIDON! An Upside-Down Musical is part parody, part homage – and a look at how movies can leave their mark on you.

(front, l to r) Katherine Bellantone, Frankie Leo Bennett and Courtney Dane Mize with (back) Stevie Love 

(pictured) The cast of Hell in a Handbag Productions’ revival of POSEIDON! An Upside Down Musical. 

Handbag’s original 2002 Chicago production of POSEIDON! was a critical and popular smash and extended for a five-month sold-out run in Chicago, and was accepted into The New York International Fringe Festival, where it was the most attended show of 2003, winning an award of excellence for Best Ensemble. The show was remounted in 2009 at The Chopin Theatre and enjoyed another extended run.

For Tickets and More Information click here.

(left to right) Elizabeth Lesinski, Scott Sawa, Tommy Bullington, Shane Roberie and Frankie Leo Bennett 

(pictured) The cast of in Hell in a Handbag Productions’ revival of POSEIDON! An Upside Down Musical. 

Benefit Schedule: 

6 pm: Pre-show with never-before-seen clips, and memories with the cast members from all three productions.

6:30 pm: the virtual world premiere of POSEIDON! An Upside-Down Musical.

7:45 pm: Intermission, raffle drawings and bonus clips.

8:50 pm: POSEIDON! ends – raffle and silent auction winners.

9:15 pm: You end up giving us all of your money!

(left to right) Elissa Newcorn, Shane Roberie, Elizabeth Lesinski, David Lipschutz and Caitlin Jackson

(left to right) Scott Sawa, Josh Kemper, Elizabeth Lesinski, Marc Prince, Nicky Mendelson and the cast of Hell in a Handbag Productions’ revival of POSEIDON! An Upside Down Musical. Photo 

The production team includes Christopher Rhoton (scenic design), Beth Laske Miller (costume design), Cat Wilson* (lighting design), Danny Rockett (sound design), Adrian Hadlock (props design), Sydney Genco* (make-up design), Keith Ryan* (wig design), R & D Fight Choreography (violence and stunt choreography), Madison Smith (assistant director), Noah Watkins (technical director), Andrew C. Donnelly* (stage manager) and Dani Bar-Lavi (assistant stage manager).

Although 2020 has put a stop to live performances, Hell in a Handbag has met the challenge with their very first virtual production of The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes; a fun, safe drive-in series of their greatest hits; Airport 1970SOMETHING, a streaming parody of another ‘70s disaster classic: and their current holiday show, The Rip Nelson Holiday Quarantine Special, filmed on a set with the magic of green screen and a little ingenuity, playing through January 9, 2020. 

*Denotes Handbag ensemble members and artistic associates

(front, l to r) Marc Prince, Elizabeth Lesinski, Scott Sawa, Shane Roberie and the cast of Hell in a Handbag Productions’ revival of POSEIDON! An Upside Down Musical.

(left to right) Patrick Stengle and Stevie Love in Hell in a Handbag Productions’ revival of POSEIDON! An Upside Down Musical. Photo by Rick Aguilar Studios.

 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

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Review: Fefu And Her Friends Streaming Through December 9th To Benefit Season Of Concern $5-$10

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar:


By Bonnie Kenaz-Mara

What a joy to stream María Irene Fornés’ Fefu and Her Friends last night. I'm still glowing from all the girl power energy. It's a rare treat to find an all female show with eight women and the cast is superb. It's eerie how prescient and relevant these word are today. Set in 1935, through a 2020 lens, Fornés’ words from 1977 are timeless truths. Life is theatre and theatre is life indeed. 

I'm generally not an outwardly emotional audience member, but I confess, this production had me laughing along and enjoying the palpable camaraderie of the characters. In the talkback, the actors' genuine affection for one another came through, and I'm 100% sure this is the first Q&A that made me tear up. This staged reading is the best example of Zoom-style staging I've seen to date, and it's a tough style to pivot to. Props were passed seamlessly, and it was lovely how intimate breakout dialogues alternated with small groups and the energy of the full cast interacting. Ultimately there was such a true interconnection between characters, so often lacking while we can't share stage space. 

I loved the way Fornés included the complicated layers of women and their relationships, touching on the physical work, philanthropic volunteering, accountability, healing, and emotional work women do among friend circles. The sheer fear and exhaustion of womanhood is brilliantly brandished along with deep reserves of courage and the power of humor and playfulness. The characters are quirky enough to be fascinating and universal enough to ring true, and their traumas, accomplishments, fears and friendships are all too familiar.

In our current covid induced crisis of connection this production is a welcome way to reconnect. Even better, tickets and donations directly benefit Season of Concern, the emergency fund for Chicago theater artists. Highly recommended. 

Bonnie Kenaz-Mara is a Chicago based writer-theater critic-photographer-videographer-actress-artist-general creatrix and Mama to two terrific teens. She owns two websites where she publishes frequently: (adult) & (family friendly). 

Season of Concern, the emergency fund for Chicago theater artists, is co-producing a virtual production of Fefu and Her Friends, Cuban-American playwright María Irene Fornés’ feminist masterwork, in partnership with much-admired Chicago theater artist Mary Beth Fisher.

Director Stacy Stoltz has assembled an amazing, dream team of eight of Chicago’s top leading ladies to co-star in this special benefit production 

WGN-TV news anchor and reporter Lourdes Duarte is the evening’s virtual host.

Fefu and Her Friends will be presented as a virtual, enhanced stage reading. The 80-minute production will be immediately followed by a live talk back with members of the cast and production team.

Ticket sales will be turned into direct financial aid for members of Chicago’s theater community who cannot work due to illness, injury or circumstance. As Chicago’s stages remain shuttered due to Covid-19, these funds are particularly critical for Chicago artists in need.

Season of Concern, the emergency fund for Chicago theater artists, is thrilled to announce it will co-produce a virtual production of Fefu and Her Friends, Cuban-American playwright María Irene Fornés’ feminist masterwork, in partnership with much-admired Chicago theater artist Mary Beth Fisher.

Director Stacy Stoltz has assembled an amazing, dream team of eight of Chicago’s top leading ladies to co-star in this special benefit production: Charin Alvarez, Sandra Delgado, Ora Jones, Delia Kropp, Sadieh Rifai, Lisa Tejero, Janet Ulrich Brooks and Penelope Walker.

WGN-TV news anchor and reporter Lourdes Duarte has signed on as the evening’s virtual host.

Anne Garcîa-Romero, Associate Professor of Theatre at the University of Notre Dame and co-founder of The Fornés Institute, is dramaturg. Devin Brain is technical director and video editor.

Fefu and Her Friends will be presented as a virtual, enhanced stage reading. The 80-minute production will premiere online on Saturday, December 5 at 7 p.m. CT, and will be immediately followed by a live talk back with members of the cast and production team.

Tickets for Fefu and Her Friends -- $10/$5 for students and seniors – are on sale now. To purchase, visit the Season of Concern website,, or call (312) 375-1133.

All ticket buyers will receive a private Vimeo link a few hours before show time with simple instructions how to stream the performance. The show will debut promptly at 7 p.m., although ticket holders have the option to watch the production on demand within 24 hours.

Afterwards, the performance will be posted on Season of Concern's website,, for on-demand viewing through December 9. Post-opening tickets are $10/$5.

Proceeds will benefit Season of Concern, which provides financial assistance to Chicagoland theater practitioners impacted by illness, injury or circumstances that prevent them from working. For more information, visit

Fefu and Her Friends: Behind the scenes

Fefu and Her Friends, told in three parts, is set on one amazing day in the spring of 1935 in a New England country home, where Fefu and her seven female friends have gathered to rehearse a presentation for their charity benefiting arts education. The women interact over their planning - studying, drinking, repairing plumbing, analyzing dreams and relationships, while Fefu carries on an unusual game involving her unseen husband outside and a rifle. Shifting between realism and surrealism, this award-winning play asks its audience to consider what is most "real" - is it what is in front of you or what is inside of you? 

Originally staged and directed by Fornés herself in 1977, Fefu and Her Friends is best known for its use of an all-female cast and her bold and experimental deviations from conventional playwriting and stage presentation. The play earned Fornés one of her nine Obie Awards and is still considered one of the most influential Off-Broadway plays ever - remaining a key work of the American avant-garde.

"Fornés, my teacher and mentor, taught me to seek authenticity and truth in my playwriting," said dramaturg Anne García-Romero. "Fefu and Her Friends remains one of the most important (and lesser known) plays of the twentieth century and explores the authentic and true experiences of women in the 1930's as they struggle to survive in a patriarchal society. In these times, Fefu and Her Friends reminds me of the importance and power of women in community, joining together to uplift each other, in the face of relentless inequities."

"I think Fornés was always mining what is underneath the surface," said co-producer Mary Beth Fisher. “Gender roles, friendship, love, sexuality, conformity, community, the haves and the have-nots - to me, all these things speak clearly to the present moment in our country. If you feel powerless, what does it take to feel powerful? If you feel like you don't have a voice, how do you find it? And how do you use it?"

Director Stacy Stoltz adds, “This play settles some of my very unsettled feelings about being a woman in our country right now - what would it be like if I didn't have to censor myself or smile and stay calm when I'm feeling the opposite. It kind of scratches an infuriating itch. It's a rare thing for a group of women to be given so much time and space to try to connect and grapple with their intimate feelings.”

“We can’t wait for audiences to enjoy this inventive new staging of Fefu and Her Friends,” added Season of Concern Managing Director Michael Ryczek. “A virtual revival of Fornés’ most famous feminist masterpiece seems more than relevant at this particular moment in history. Moreover, ticket sales will be turned right back into direct financial aid for members of Chicago’s theater community who cannot work due to illness, injury or circumstance. As Chicago’s stages remain shuttered due to the Covid-19 pandemic, these funds are particularly critical for Chicago artists in need.”

Elizabeth Morse Genius Charitable Trust is the generous sponsor of this event, along with The Actors Fund and Jay Kelly PR.

Special thanks to Theater Wit and its artistic director, Jeremy Wechsler.

About Season of Concern Chicago:

The short-term emergency fund for Chicago’s theater community

 Season of Concern is the short-term emergency fund for Chicago’s theater community. Since 1987, it has provided direct, short-term emergency financial assistance to Chicago-area actors, directors, designers, technicians, playwrights—anyone working in the theater—who have found themselves temporarily unable to work due to injury, illness or circumstance.

Season of Concern supports both members of Actors’ Equity Association, as well as Non-Equity theater makers. If your name appears in a local theater program, you’re eligible to apply for short-term financial assistance. Season of Concern also provides sustaining support to the Chicago office of The Actors Fund, the national human services organization for entertainment and performing arts professionals in theater, film, music, opera, television and dance with a broad spectrum of social, health, employment and housing programs. Last year alone, Season of Concern Chicago donated more than $100,000 to the Chicago office of The Actors Fund.

Season of Concern was founded more than 30 years ago as the Chicago theater community’s response to the advent of the AIDS crisis and has consistently worked to support those afflicted with AIDS-related illnesses ever since, collecting over $3 million through audience donations. Season of Concern relies on fundraising and donations to complete its mission, including its well-known holiday season fundraising campaign in which Chicago theater artists at participating theaters volunteer to make an appeal and pass a donation bucket through the audience after each show.

Season of Concern continues to provide critical funding to over 25 Chicago-based direct care HIV/AIDS organizations, but has expanded its mission more recently to support the greater health needs of the Chicagoland theater community. Following a two-year strategic planning initiative, Season of Concern’s updated mission statement is to provide financial assistance to those in our community impacted by illness, injury or circumstance. Its vision is to work toward a future where no member of the Chicagoland Theatre community struggles alone.

Earlier this year, Season of Concern launched new branding and an enhanced website – – to bring new attention to this expanded mission. Visit the site’s new Get Help and Apply Now pages to link directly to guidelines for medical assistance.

Season of Concern Chicago, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, is led by managing director Michael Ryczek, board president Luther Goins, and a dedicated board of directors: Melissa Carsten, Mike Checuga, Sandra Delgado, Martin (Marty) Grochala, Charls Sedgwick Hall, Mark David Kaplan, Doug MacKechnie, Ken-Matt Martin, Billy Mayer, Bridget McDonough, Marcelle McVay, Rondi Reed, Jane Nicholl Sahlins, Steve Scott, Leslie Shook and Richard Turner.

For more information, visit or call (312) 332-0518. For the latest updates, follow Season of Concern on social media:, or 


María Irene Fornés (playwright) was born on May 14, 1930, in Havana, Cuba, to Carlos Luis and Carmen Hismenia Fornés. After her father died in 1945, she moved with her mother and sister to the United States, becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1951. From 1954 to 1957, Fornés lived in Paris, studying to become a painter. However, after attending a French production of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot, Fornés decided to devote her creative energies toward playwriting. Upon returning to the United States, she worked for three years as a textile designer in New York City. The Widow, Fornés' first professionally produced play, was staged in 1961. Fornés acted as the director for many of her subsequent works, including There! You Died (1963; later retitled Tango Place, 1964), The Successful Life of 3: A Skit in Vaudeville (1965), and Molly’s Dream (1968), among others. In 1973 she founded the New York Theatre Strategy, which was devoted to the production of stylistically innovative theatrical works. Fornés has held teaching and advisory positions at several universities and theatrical festivals, such as the Theatre for the New City, the Padua Hills Festival, and the INTAR (International Arts Relations) program in New York City. She received eight Obie awards — in such categories as distinguished playwriting and direction and best new play — for Promenade (1965), The Successful Life of 3, Fefu and Her Friends, The Danube (1982), Mud, Sarita (1984), The Conduct of Life and Abingdon Square (1987). Fornés received numerous other awards and grants for her oeuvre, including Rockefeller Foundation Grants in 1971 and 1984, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1972, National Endowments for the Arts grants in 1974, 1984, and 1985, an American Academy and Institute of Letters and Arts Award in Literature in 1986, and a Playwrights U.S.A. Award in 1986. She also produced several original translations and adaptations of such plays as Federico Garcia Lorca's Blood Wedding (1980), Pedro Calderón de la Barca's Life is a Dream (1981), Virgilio Piñera's Cold Air (1985), and Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya (1987). She died in New York City on October 30, 2018.

Charin Alvarez (Christina) performed in I am Not Your Perfect Mexican daughter; La Ruta; Infidel; Ordinary Yearning; Fermi at Steppenwolf Theatre. Lettie; Mojada; Oedipus El Rey; Anna in the Tropics; A Park in the House at Victory Gardens Theater. Pedro Paramo; El Nogalar; Dollhouse and Electricidad at Goodman Theatre.  In the time of the Butterflies; Our Lady of the Underpass; I put the fear of Mexico in 'em; Dreamlandia; Another Part of the House at Teatro Vista. Alvarez has also appeared at Chicago Dramatist Theatre; Remy Bumppo Theatre; About Face Theatre; 16th Street Theatre; Chicago Children's Theatre and others. Film/TV credits include: Easy; Shameless; Chicago Fire; Mob Doctor; Boss; Chicago Code; Approach Alone; Rooftop Wars; Arc of a Bird; Were the World Mine and others.

Sandra Delgado (Cecelia) is a Colombian-American writer and actor best known for her smash hit play La Havana Madrid, featured in the New York Times and CNN/CNÑ. Also a respected veteran of the stage, her acting highlights include work at Steppenwolf and The Goodman Theatre in Chicago and The Public Theatre in New York. She is a member of Collaboraction and Teatro Vista and is one of the twenty iconic women of Chicago arts and culture honored in Kerry James Marshall's mural Rushmore on the facade of the Chicago Cultural Center. She is currently writing The Boys and the Nuns, centering on the fight for LGBTQ and women's rights in 1980s Chicago.

Mary Beth Fisher (Co-Producer) has worked as an actor, director, acting teacher and coach in Chicago, NYC, and in theaters all over the country. Her TV/film credits include Saint Frances, Sense8, Chicago Fire, Chicago Justice, Without a Trace, Numb3rs; Prison Break, NYPD Blue; Profiler and others. Fisher has received two Joseph Jefferson Awards, Drama Desk, Lucile Lortel and Bay Area Critics Circle nominations, the L.A. Drama Critics Circle Award and Chicago’s Leading Lady Award from the Sarah Siddons Society. She was a Beinecke Fellow at Yale University and an Inaugural Lunt-Fontanne Fellow at the Ten Chimney’s Foundation. She has been a proud member of AEA since 1978.

Anne García-Romero (Dramaturg) is the author of plays including Lorca in New York, Staging the Daffy Dame, Provenance, Paloma, Mary Domingo, Juanita’s Statue, Earthquake Chica and Santa Concepción. Her plays have been developed and produced most notably at the Public Theatre, Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Goodman Theatre, Denver Center Theater, and South Coast Repertory. Her book, “The Fornés Frame: Contemporary Latina Playwrights and the Legacy of Maria Irene Fornés” (University of Arizona, 2016), explores the work of six award-winning Latina playwrights. She’s a founding member of the Fornés Institute and an Associate Professor of Theatre at the University of Notre Dame.

Ora Jones (Fefu) is a member of Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company ensemble. At Steppenwolf: The Children; Familiar; The Roommate; The Doppleganger; Wheel; Middletown; The Brother/Sister Plays; Three Sisters; The Unmentionables; The Violet Hour; Carter’s Way; and Morning Star. Locally she has also appeared on the stages of Chicago Shakespeare Theater; Goodman Theatre; Rivendell Theatre; Timeline Theatre; Writers Theatre; About Face Theatre and others. Her Broadway roles include Madame de Volanges in Les Liaisons Dangereuses at the Booth, and Mrs. Phelps in Matilda the Musical, both at the Shubert and in the first national tour. Regional and other New York credits include performances at Long Wharf Theatre, Yale Repertory, Manhattan Theatre Club, Public Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory, Next Act, and a particular favorite, the role of Mrs. Muller in Doubt for The Weston Playhouse in Weston, VT, directed by Malcolm Ewen.

Delia Kropp (Cindy) has enjoyed storytelling at LGBT events, and for Fresh Meat. She's worked over 40 years as a actor and stage director, and since gender transitioning she's been an advocate for trans people in the entertainment industry. Delia serves as Artistic Associate and Board Member of About Face Theatre Company, and her new initiative "Brave Conversations" looks at the significance of personal identity, and ways to constructively talk about gender. She stars in the film Landlocked, debuting on the Indy festival circuit in 2021.

Sadieh Rifai (Emma) is an ensemble member at A Red Orchid Theatre. At A Red Orchid: Do You Feel Anger; An Evening at The Talk House; and Grey House. Her credits include, Short Shakes Macbeth, the world premiere of The Humans (Jeff Award nomination for Best Ensemble) at American Theatre Company. Other Chicago credits include Support Group for Men and A Christmas Carol at Goodman Theatre. Film credits include The Wise Kids, Nate and Margaret and Olympia. TV credits include Chicago Med, Netflix’s Easy, CBS’s The Red Line and Amazon's Patriot in which she plays the recurring role of Mahtma El-Mashad. Sadieh is a graduate of the School at Steppenwolf and received the Princess Grace Award in 2011.

Stacy Stoltz (Director) is so happy for this opportunity to share her favorite play and to help raise funds for Season of Concern. Last fall, she directed a reading of Fefu and her Friends for The Fornes Festival at The University of Notre Dame. With Erasing The Distance, she has created, directed and performed documentary plays including her solo show, Walk a Mile. Acting credits include: Hatfield and McCoy (The House Theatre), Stupid Fucking Bird (Sideshow Theatre), Marjorie Prime and A Streetcar Named Desire (Writers Theatre).

Lisa Tejero (Julia) most recently opened then was furloughed in an all-female production of Henry the 6th titled Bring down the House at Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, where she last performed in White Snake. Other credits include The Agitators at Upstream Theatre, Metamorphoses in the Broadway production at Circle in the Square Theatre, and Anything Goes at Arena State. She is an artistic associate of Lookingglass Theatre where she has appeared in 1984, Argonautika, Curiosity Shop, Ethan Frome, Fedra, and S/M. She has also appeared on the stages of Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Iowa Repertory Theatre, Oak Park Festival Theatre, Court Theatre, Victory Gardens and many others. Tejero is a recipient of two After Dark Awards, a Drama League Distinguished Performance nomination and a Jeff award nomination for her portrayal of Vivian Bearing in The Hypocrite’s production of Wit.

Janet Ulrich Brooks (Sue) has performed at Chicago’s TimeLine Theatre (Company Member), Goodman, Steppenwolf, Lookingglass, Victory Gardens, Northtlight, Drury Lane, Theatre at the Center and others. She received the Joseph Jefferson award for principal role as Maria Callas in TimeLine’s production of Master Class. Television: Fargo S4 (FX), Sense8 (Netflix), Proven Innocent (FoxTV), Boss (STARZ) & NBC’s Playboy Club & Chicago Fire/Med/Justice. Film: Divergent, Conviction, M.O.M., One Small Hitch, Fools, Polish Bar, Market Value and several shorts.

Penelope Walker (Paula) performed in A Christmas Carol, The Story, Crowns and Wit at Goodman Theatre, Don DeLillo's Love Lies Bleeding at Steppenwolf Theatre and at The Kennedy Center, Mother Of The Maid, Into The Breeches, Curve Of Departure, Eclipsed and Gee's Bend at Northlight Theatre, and The House That Will Not Stand and No One As Nasty at Victory Gardens Theatre. Walker has also appeared on many other Chicago area stages including Lookingglass Theatre, Theater Wit, Remy Bumppo Theatre, American Theater, Chicago Dramatists, Next Theatre, Rivendell Theatre and Chicago Theatre Company, among others. Walker also created and starred in her own solo piece, How I Jack Master Funked the Sugar in My Knee Caps! She has appeared regionally with Alliance Theatre, Arena Stage, Hartford Stage and Alley Theatre.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Review: Hell in a Handbag's Hilarious Holiday Special Perfect Panacea For Pandemic Blues

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar 

Hell in a Handbag Productions Presents 

The World Premiere of



By Artistic Director David Cerda

Directed and Choreographed by Stevie Love

Now Streaming Through January 9, 2021

Grant Drager as Bing Crosby, Sydney Genco as Vampira, Tyler Anthony Smith as Bernadette Peters and David Lipschutz as Doug Henning in a publicity image forHell in a Handbag Productions’ world premiere of The Rip Nelson Holiday Quarantine Special. All Photos by Rick Aguilar Studios.


THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes

The Holiday Edition, Vol. 2 recorded in 2019
Now streaming through December 31st

(*Virtual General Admission $15.00 +$2.55 Fee. Choose your amount to donate as all monies got to Groceryland in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago)


By Bonnie Kenaz-Mara

H... E... double toothpicks. H... E... double holiday shows. Yes, the intrepid drag queens, singers and comedians of Chicago's Hell in a Handbag have just the pill for your quarantine ills. They have not one, but two holiday shows now streaming and the best news is neither one is A Christmas Carol! Make it a double. 

I invited a friend over for the press opening of The Rip Nelson Holiday Quarantine Special, and though we were masked and 6 feet apart, things almost felt normal. It was fun ChiILin' in Chi, IL in my heated back yard tent, getting my holiday Hell in a Handbag Productions fix, streaming another David Cerda original, projected on a 10' screen. I could almost see the steep, creaking stairs to the cozy confines of Mary's Attic, and taste the martinis. On the bright side, audience members don't have to make it to Chicago anymore to experience Hell in a Handbag's unique brand of hilarity. They've been at it for 18 years now, and aren't about to let a little thing like a worldwide pandemic stop the fun.

The Rip Nelson Holiday Quarantine Special is a brand new production, perfect for all the adults out there who've spent the last 9 months in quarantine exhausting everything on Netflix and cable and are about to resort to DIY puppet shows with their pandemic snacks, in desperation for something new. This green screen extravaganza is a welcome relief from the flood of Zoom theatre productions now streaming and allowed for lots of creative backgrounds, and even an exaggerated hourglass figure for Vampira. It is the darkest time of the year after all, and what's a holiday special without a touch of the macabre? The only ghosts of Christmas past are dead celebrities, and this 70's style variety show lineup is capably and campily played by a host of Handbag regulars. 

Coming along for the strange ride is Rip’s stage manager Tony (Michael S. Miller*) and his line-up of celebrity guests: Bing Crosby (Grant Drager*), David Cassidy (Nicky Mendelsohn), Shari Lewis and Lambchop (Caitlin Jackson*), Ella Fitzgerald (Robert Williams*), Charlton Heston (Michael Rashid*), Bernadette Peters (Tyler Anthony Smith*), Vampira (Sydney Genco*), Quentin Crisp (Danne W. Taylor*) Lucie Arnaz (Alexa Castelvecchi), and her mother, Lucille Ball (David Cerda*) – or at least that’s who Rip thinks they are.

The wacky plot is a kitschy nod to the star laden holiday shows of the past, with a dose of covid angst, and a Wizard of Oz twist at the end. This is a show best served to an all adult audience with copious amounts of booze and/or edibles. 

RipNelson-1 (left to right)Alexa Castelvecchi as Lucie Arnaz,David Cerda as Lucille Ball andEd Jonesas Rip Nelson in a publicity image forHell in a HandbagProductions’ world premiere of The Rip Nelson Holiday Quarantine Special. Photo by Rick Aguilar Studios.

Sure, quarantine times are strange, and we miss live theatre passionately, but till we can safely meet again, we suggest this double feature as a fun alternative and a great way to forget about 2020 for a few hours. Highly recommended! 

(left to right)Tyler Anthony Smith as Bernadette Peters andNicky Mendelsohn as David Cassidy. 

(pictured)Ed Jones as Rip Nelson. Photo by Rick Aguilar Studios.

Bonnie Kenaz-Mara is a Chicago based writer-theater critic-photographer-videographer-actress-artist-general creatrix and Mama to two terrific teens. She owns two websites where she publishes frequently: (adult) & (family friendly). 


Hell in a Handbag Productions celebrates the holidays with the return of America’s favorite funnyman, Rip Nelson (Ed Jones*), in the star-studded world premiere of The Rip Nelson Holiday Quarantine Special, streaming through January 9, 2021 via Vimeo. The world premiere is written by Artistic Director Cerda* and directed and choreographed by Stevie Love*, with music and lyrics by David Cerda and Scott Lamberty. Tickets ($25) are currently available at or The show streams at designated performance times (see schedule below). 

It’s 2020 and Rip is in the hospital after an ill-advised gig on a Pride cruise. Rip’s devoted make-up woman and confidante Gladys (Lori Lee*), is worried sick, but Rip is more upset that Ryan Seacrest is taking over as host of his annual television holiday special! Rip’s not going to let anything, including the overbearing Nurse Ursula (Terry McCarthy*), stop him from being on that show! A determined Rip makes it to the studio with a little help from trippy magician, Doug Henning (David Lipschutz*) and soon finds himself in his weirdest television special ever.

“Our production will be filmed in a large warehouse combining a physical set and green screen techniques to ensure the safety of the cast and crew,” comments playwright and Artistic Director David Cerda. “Many people look forward our holiday shows with a combination of absurd humor and heart. This show provides both – and addresses trying to stay sane in 2020.”

Performance Schedule:

Thursdays and Friday at 8 pm

Saturdays at 7:30 pm and 9:30 pm

Sundays at 3 pm

Please note: shows stream at designated performances times. There will be an added performance on Wednesday, December 23 at 8 pm; there will not be a performance on Friday, January 1 (New Year’s Day).

The production team includes Peter Neville/Image Control Unit* (filming and editing), Pamela Parker* (scenic and props design), Liz Cooper (lighting design), Beth Laske Miller (costume design), Sydney Genco (make-up design), Jabberwocky Productions (puppetry), Keith Ryan* (wig design), Michael Rashid* (production manager) and Drew Donnelly* (stage manager).

*Denotes Handbag ensemble members and artistic associates

(pictured)David Cerda as Lucille Ball 

Hell in a Handbag Productions Presents
THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes
The Holiday Edition, Vol. 2
By Artistic Director David Cerda
Directed by Ensemble Member Stevie Love

Celebrate the season in sunny Miami as Dorothy, Rose, Blanche and Sophia return for brand new holiday episodes in THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes – The Holiday Edition, Vol. 2. Written by Artistic Director David Cerda* and directed by ensemble member Stevie Love*, the latest installment of Hell in a Handbag Productions’ long-running parody of the beloved TV sitcom recorded in 2019 at Mary’s Attic, in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. 

THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes – The Holiday Edition, Vol. 2 features ensemble members Ed Jones* as Rose, David Cerda* as Dorothy and Grant Drager* as Blanche with Ryan Oates as Sophia. The cast also includes ensemble members Lori Lee*, Michael Miller* and Michael Rashid* with Steve Kimbrough and Tyler Anthony Smith.

THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes series began in 2017 and has been going strong ever since. Chicago loves Handbag’s long-running parody of the classic TV sitcom with original scripts.

The production team includes Chris Rhoton (scenic design), David Cerda* (costume design), Liz Cooper (lighting design), DJ Douglass (sound design), Pamela Parker (prop designer), Keith Ryan* (wig design), Sydney Genco* (make-up design) and Jeremy Hollis (technical director, additional scenic design).

*Denotes Handbag ensemble member.


Title: THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes – The Holiday Edition, Vol. 2
Written by: Artistic Director David Cerda*
Directed by: ensemble member Stevie Love*

Cast (in alphabetical order): David Cerda* (Dorothy), Grant Drager* (Blanche), Ed Jones* (Rose), Steve Kimbrough (Ensemble), Lori Lee* (Ensemble), Michael Miller* (Ensemble), Ryan Oates (Sophia), Michael Rashid* (Ensemble) and Tyler Anthony Smith (Ensemble).

About the Artists     

David Cerda (Playwright, Music & Lyrics) is the co-founder and Artistic Director of Hell in a Handbag Productions, now in its 18th year. As the resident playwright, his plays include POSEIDON! An Upside-Down Musical, Rudolph the Red-Hosed Reindeer, Caged Dames, Christmas Dearest, Sexy Baby, Lady X- The Musical, The Drag Seed, and many more. Cerda was in inducted into the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame in 2016 and received an honorary lifetime Jeff Award in 2017 for his contribution to Chicago theatre. 

Stevie Love (Director/Choreographer) most recently played Nonnie in Hell a Handbag’s Poseidon! and Annie/Shelly in Evil Dead the Musical (Black Button Eyes Productions) which earned a 2019 Jeff Award nod for Supporting Actor. Other credits (directing, choreography, acting): Disney Cruise Lines, Steppenwolf Garage, Northlight Theatre, Ensemble Theatre Company, Pride Films and Plays, National Pastime Theater, Red Tape Theater, The New Colony, and many Handbag shows (notably: Helen in MIRACLE! which garnered Jeff and BroadwayWorld Award nominations).

Scott Lamberty (Music) is a composer, arranger, sound designer and audio engineer who has

been bringing sound and music to the Chicago theater scene since the early 1990s. He has written and produced musical scores for more shows than he can count including The Bad Seed The Musical and The Passion Follies at Corn Productions; and POSEIDON! An Upside Down Musical, The Birds and Rudolph The Red-Hosed Reindeer at Hell in a Handbag Productions. His work as an audio engineer has included the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera, Chicago a capella, Music of the Baroque and the Elgin Symphony Orchestra. He is the recording engineer for the Ravinia Steans Music Institute.

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

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Music Box Theatre Virtual Cinema Streaming WE ARE LITTLE ZOMBIES Starting 7/10/20

Missing Indie Cinema? 
Chicago's Music Box Theatre Virtually Has You Covered

Oscilloscope Laboratories and Music Box Theatre present the acclaimed, smile-inducing, toe-tapping debut feature from Japanese writer/director Makoto Nagahisa, WE ARE LITTLE ZOMBIES, which will be available as a Virtual Cinema presentation, beginning Friday, July 10, 2020.

The Virtual Cinema experience was created to assist temporarily closed and gradually reopening independent theaters. By purchasing a “ticket,” you’ll be directly supporting Music Box Theatre, as all revenue is being shared between distributor and exhibitor just as if you bought your ticket at the theater’s box office.

For information on rentals, click here:
(The Virtual Cinema Link will be live on July 10.)

“Explosively ingenious and energetic...A hyper-stylized, hyperactive and hyper-fun movie spectacular.” — Variety

“A rainbow-colored scream into the abyss...One of the most exciting premieres at Sundance 2019.” — New York Magazine

When four young orphans—Hikari, Ikuko, Ishi, and Takemura—first meet, their parents’ bodies are being turned into dust, like fine Parmesan atop a plate of spaghetti Bolognese, and yet none of them can shed a tear. They are like zombies; devoid of all emotion. With no family, no future, no dreams, and no way to move forward, the young teens decide that the first level of this new existence involves salvaging a gaming console, an old electric bass, and a charred wok from their former homes—just enough to start a band and then conquer the world. Tragedy, comedy, music, social criticism, and teenage angst are all subsumed in this eccentric cinematic tsunami. 

Pricing & Scheduling:
Rentals are $12, and are good for 72 hours. Your purchase will go toward supporting Music Box Theatre during our gradual reopening.

Become a member:

About Music Box Theatre:
Operating since 1929, the Music Box Theatre has been the premier venue in Chicago for independent and foreign films for more than three decades, playing host to over 200,000 patrons annually. It currently has the largest theater space operated full time in the city. The Music Box Theatre is independently owned and operated by the Southport Music Box Corporation. SMBC, through its Music Box Films division, also distributes foreign and independent films in the theatrical, DVD, and television markets throughout the United States.

Regular events produced, presented and hosted at Music Box Theatre include the 70mm Film Festival; the genre film festival Cinepocalypse; the annual 24-hour horror-movie marathon Music Box of Horrors; and Noir City: Chicago, co-presented by the Film Noir Foundation.

Follow the Music Box Theatre on Facebook (, Twitter (@musicboxtheatre), and Instagram (@musicboxchicago)

Monday, July 6, 2020


Tickets on Sale Now for Virtual Performances 
Every Friday and Saturday in July
(Great for ages 12+ through adults of all ages)

By Bonnie Kenaz-Mara

Friday night, my son and I ditched our quarantine casual wardrobes, donned cocktail party attire, and settled in to enjoy opening night of an interactive magic show in real time. The audience included folks from multiple states and even Mexico. It was at once familiar and completely new. In the era of Covid-19, when all live shows have gone dark, Dennis Watkins has worked nothing short of real magic, creating an astonishing social distancing show that still feels remarkably intimate and engaging. 

Like his acclaimed Palmer House iteration of Magic Parlour that's been wowing people for 9 years now, audience members are called on to assist with every trick. As individuals were called on via Zoom, our screens would appear, inset in the larger image of Dennis' show. We got to introduce ourselves and where we were watching from, then join in the fun as magician's assistant. 

With all mics unmuted, the interconnection of show goers was palpable, with audible applause, laughter, and reactions, missing from so much theatre online. It was also fun to catch a sneak peak "behind the curtain" as Dennis gave us a quick tour of his home studio space, designed specifically to morph remote magic into table magic, in your own home! Theatre people are nothing if not creative, and Dennis has discovered a way to reinvent post-covid parlour magic and storytelling in a way that works wonderfully.

The $75 ticket price may seem a bit spendy for an online show, but you can bring the whole family or a party of friends, all included in the base price, as long as you're watching in the same location on one screen. And this is no prerecorded piece. This is personal and worth every penny. 

As a third generation magician, Dennis' shows are a bit family history, a whole lot of mystery, and pure joy. We're no strangers to the Magic Parlour shows. I did a video interview with Dennis back in 2012, and I'd seen his act years before that even, in the pre Palmer House days, when The Magic Parlour was in the basement of Chicago's beloved House Theatre. 

So much has changed in the intervening decade, even pre-coronavirus. Dennis Watkins is a father to an adorable toddler now, and has been featured on Penn and Teller: Fool Us. Since opening at The Palmer House on New Year’s Eve of 2011, The Magic Parlour has enjoyed phenomenal success and unimagined growth. With fewer than 50 seats available per show, The Magic Parlour has entertained over 45,000 guests in its nine-year run. Additionally, it has hosted more than 1,300 ticketed audiences and dozens of private groups, facilitated three truly magical wedding proposals, and has been featured in two books (Chicago Magic: A History of Stagecraft and Spectacle and 100 Things to do in Chicago Before You Die).

I've taken my whole family and several lucky friends to Magic Parlour at Palmer House over the years, catching the show a handful of times, and it's always just as baffling and brilliant as the first time. Even with a jump to Zoom now, Dennis' world class prestidigitation, storytelling, and showmanship hasn't changed. The pandemic may be winning in the world at large this July, but it can't keep a great magician down. 

One of our favorite new bits is a group card trick where everyone brings their own deck. Despite copious amounts of shuffling, ripping of cards, putting a bit aside, and discarding of varied numbers of half cards (different for everyone), we all ended up reuniting two of our half cards in the end! In a time when disconnection from family and friends is taking a toll on everyone, this group magic was particularly gratifying. The whole show was a welcome and invaluable break from reality.

My son was called on for a mind reading bit, traditionally done in person with books, cleverly converted to cellphone. Dugan secretly picked Narwhals (his favorite animal) on Wikipedia from millions of possible entries, then randomly 
highlighted a word from the article that happened to be recommended. Even remotely, Dennis successfully divined both and wrote them in sharpie, amazing and amusing us all! I've got to agree with that choice and add another word... highly. “THE MAGIC PARLOUR AT HOME” is highly recommended. Don't miss this!

Bonnie Kenaz-Mara is a Chicago based writer-theater critic-photographer-videographer-actress-artist-general creatrix and Mama to two terrific teens. She owns two websites where she publishes frequently: (adult) & (family friendly). 

Tickets on Sale Now for Virtual Performances Every Friday and Saturday in July

Famed third-generation magician, Dennis Watkins, is taking his one-of-a-kind magical experience The Magic Parlour online for a completely new virtual offering dubbed “The Magic Parlour at Home.” The new virtual magic show, designed for group and family viewings, will offer multiple performances every Friday and Saturday evening in July. After the roaring success of several livestreams hosted on The Magic Parlour’s Facebook page, Watkins developed “The Magic Parlour at Home” to dazzle audiences with new and interactive magic and mind reading available directly on their screens.

Tickets are now on sale for $75 and can be purchased online at A maximum of 30 tickets will be sold for each performance and each ticket will admit one “household” or up to 10 guests on one screen. All performances will take place via Zoom and require a computer with a functioning camera and microphone to participate as well as a high-speed internet connection. After tickets are purchased, patrons will receive an email containing instructions and a link to access the performance.

“During this time, I’ve learned to adapt my craft to be able to virtually perform the same caliber of magic my guests have come to expect from my performances at the Palmer House,” said Watkins. “The new acts I’ve created for The Magic Parlour at Home will provide a truly engaging and participatory magical experience for my virtual audience.”

"The Magic Parlour at Home” is recommended for adult audiences. Guests ages 12 and up are welcome to join, while guests under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult. For a fully immersive experience, guests are recommended to sport cocktail attire and bring their own deck of cards.

A complete list of performance dates and times is below. Additional 9:30 p.m. performances may be added subject to demand:

Friday, July 3: performances at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 4: no performances due to Independence Day
Friday, July 10: performances at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 11: performance at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, July 17: performance at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 18: performance at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, July 24: performance at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 25: performance at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, July 31: performance at 7:30 p.m.

For complete details and information on “The Magic Parlour at Home” and Watkins’ other virtual experiences including corporate and private events, teambuilding workshops and magic lessons, please visit:

Check out my 2012 interview with Dennis Watkins here for a blast from the past:

About The Magic Parlour
The Magic Parlour is an intimate evening of classic magic and mind-reading featuring the work of third-generation magician Dennis Watkins. Guests to this intimate, magic-packed evening gather at Potter's in the Palmer House lobby before Watkins personally escorts them to the performance space. Once inside, the audience participates in much of the performance as Watkins wows the room with classic sleight of hand, unbelievable mind-reading and magical wisdom passed down from his grandfather.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

HELP OUT: Live Stream Fundraiser Thursday 3/19/20 To Star DIANA DeGARMO, ACE YOUNG And More

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar
Season of Concern Chicago Fundraiser
The Beautiful City Project 

With nearly all of Chicago's theater productions shuttered, one of the first fundraisers primarily aimed at a streaming audience has been put together by The Beautiful City Project, a Chicago-based musical theater company that exists solely as a fundraising arm for local charities and nonprofits.

This live stream-only event featuring American Idol and Broadway alums Diana DeGarmo and Ace Young, who were in town for the new HIT HER WITH THE SKATES at The Royal George Theatre, will be simulcast on The Beautiful City Project's Facebook and Instagram accounts Thursday, March 19 at 7:30 p.m. CST/8:30 p.m. EST.

The stream is completely free, with a suggested donation to Season of Concern Chicago, via a link from the feed, to help local artists most in need from the recent upending of the theater landscape.

The evening, musically directed by David Fiorello, also features a starry Chicago cast of Broadway veterans, multi-Jeff Award winners and a diverse crop of local favorites. Jessica Needham, Executive Director, The Beautiful City Project, will be monitoring the live stream and responding to questions and comments in real time.

The Beautiful City Project is committed to using musical theater as a tool to give back to the Chicago community, intent on building a promising tomorrow for a beautiful city. Cabaret performances highlight a different organization every month, while the mainstage programming of musicals in concert take a community issue head-on, raising awareness and funds to be given directly to an organization in need, making an immediate impact. A city-wide campaign of beautification and positivity will be the hallmark of a project intent on taking real action in our beautiful city. For more, visit

Season of Concern Chicago provides short-term emergency financial assistance to local theatre practitioners who are unable to work due to illness or injury. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2020


**Canceled Due to Coronavirus Closures**

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar


Image of Jason Narducy courtesy of The House Theatre of Chicago

The House Theatre of Chicago presents An Evening of Songs and Stories with Verböten Composer Jason Narducy, Saturday, March 14 at 8 p.m. at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St. Verböten is the world premiere musical inspired by Narducy’s 1980’s Evanston-based teenage punk rock band, directed by The House’s Artistic Director Nathan Allen, with book by Brett Neveu and music and lyrics by Narducy and now extended through March 29 at the Chopin Theatre. Tickets for An Evening of Songs and Stories with Verböten composer Jason Narducy are $40 and may be purchased at

The House Theatre of Chicago is thrilled to be able to offer fans of Narducy, Verböten and The House a rare opportunity to experience this acclaimed musician’s “Living Room” concert on the living room set of Verböten. The evening will highlight Narducy’s career with him sharing songs and personal stories of his own multi-decade musical journey.

Jason Narducy is an Evanston-based musician. In 1982, at 11 years-old, he formed the seminal punk rock band Verböten with his childhood friends in an Evanston basement. Today, he plays bass in both the Bob Mould Band and Superchunk, and fronts Split Single, with whom he’s recorded two albums with a rotating cast of stellar musicians, including Jon Wurster, Spoon’s Britt Daniel,  Wilco’s John Stirratt, and R.E.M.’s Mike Mills.

It’s 1983 in Chicago and it’s do-or-die for Verböten—a band that is made up of outsider teens with seriously complex home lives. As they gear up for a show at The Cubby Bear that is sure to change their lives forever, can they keep their parents from destroying the fabric of their self-made punk rock family? With lyrics and music by Verböten’s original guitarist, Jason Narducy, Verböten is inspired by the true story of Chicago's own young punks.

The Verböten performance schedule through March 29 is as follows:

Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m.

Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. (Alternative times:  Saturday, March 14 at

2 p.m., no performance March 14 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, March 28 at 2 p.m.and 7 p.m.      

Sundays at 3 p.m.  (No Performance Sunday, March 22).

Ticket prices range from $30-60 and may be purchased by calling 773.769.3832 or by visiting  Student and industry same-day discounted tickets are available at $20 for all dates, based on availability. Discounted tickets for groups of 10 or more are also available. 

For additional information on Verböten and its cast and design team visit

The House Theatre of Chicago is Chicago's premier home for intimate, original works of epic story and stagecraft. Founded and led by Artistic Director Nathan Allen, along with Managing Director Erik Schroeder, The House is driven by an interdisciplinary ensemble of Chicago’s next generation of great storytellers, and aims to become a laboratory and platform for the evolution of the American theatre as an inclusive and popular artform.

The House was founded in 2001 by a group of friends to explore connections between Community and Storytelling through a unique theatrical experience. Since becoming eligible in 2004, The House has won 24 Joseph Jefferson Awards, became the first recipient of Broadway in Chicago’s Emerging Theater Award in 2007, and was awarded a 2014 National Theatre Company Grant by the American Theatre Wing, founder of the Tony Awards. The 18th season of original work began this November and The House continues its mission to unite Chicago in the spirit of community through amazing feats of Storytelling.  

The House Theatre of Chicago presents An Evening of Songs and Stories with Verböten Composer Jason Narducy, Saturday, March 14 at 8 p.m. at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St. Verböten is the world premiere musical inspired by Narducy’s 1980’s Evanston-based teenage punk rock band, directed by The House’s Artistic Director Nathan Allen, with book by Brett Neveu and music and lyrics by Narducy and now extended through March 29 at the Chopin Theatre.Tickets for An Evening of Songs and Stories with Verböten composer Jason Narducy are $40 and may be purchased at

Monday, March 9, 2020

INCOMING: Monster Magnet’s “Celebration of Powertrip” US Tour Begins March 20th

**Postponed Due to Coronavirus Closures**
All tickets will be honored for a later date TBD

Chi,IL Live Shows On Our Radar:
Kicks Off North American Tour in Two Weeks!
Nebula and Silvertomb to Support

ChiIL Live Shows will be out to catch MONSTER MAGNET in Chicago at The Metro. Don't miss this. 

Psych rock legends MONSTER MAGNET will return to the road in North America this spring to celebrate their historic release, Powertrip.  Their live set will feature select cuts from this seminal album as well as MONSTER MAGNET fan favorites.  Support on the tour will come from Nebula and Silvertomb. The tour begins March 20th in Brooklyn, NY and runs through April 18th in Sayreville, NJ. A complete list of dates can be found below.

MONSTER MAGNET W/ Nebula and Silvertomb:
3/20: Brooklyn, NY @ Elsewhere
3/21: Boston, MA @ Sinclair
3/22: Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts
3/24: Pittsburgh, PA @ Rex Theater
3/25: Toronto, ON @ The Opera House
3/27: Flint, MI @ The Machine Shop
3/28: Chicago, IL @ The Metro
3/29: Minneapolis, MN @ Fine Line
3/31: Denver, CO @ The Oriental Theater
4/1: Salt Lake City, UT @ Metro Bar
4/3: Vancouver, BC @ The Rickshaw
4/4: Seattle, WA @ El Corazon
4/5: Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theater
4/7: San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall
4/8: Los Angeles, CA @ The Fonda
4/9: Las Vegas, NV @ The House of Blues
4/10: San Diego, CA @ Observatory North Park
4/13: Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey Bar N’ Grill
4/15: Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
4/16: Charleston, SC @ The Music Farm
4/17: Baltimore, MD @ Baltimore Sound Stage
4/18: Sayreville, NJ @ Starland Ballroom

The release of Powertrip marked MONSTER MAGNET’s commercial breakthrough, seeing them achieve mainstream success due largely to the hit single, "Space Lord". Other hit songs on the album include "Powertrip", "Temple of Your Dreams", and "See You in Hell". The album itself reached #1 on the Heatseekers Charts, #21 in the German Charts, #65 in the UK Charts, and #97 on the Billboard 200. The album was certified gold by the RIAA on January 25, 1999.

Order MONSTER MAGNET’s latest Napalm Records release, 2018’s Mindfucker, HERE + watch the video for the title track below.

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