Showing posts with label Andersonville. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Andersonville. Show all posts

Friday, December 15, 2017


Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Returning to Andersonville!
Hell in a Handbag Productions’ Hit World Premiere
By David Cerda
Directed by Shade Murray, AJ Wright and David Lipschutz

Extended Again!
Through January 10, 2018 at Mary’s Attic

Break out the cheesecake and eggnog – Chicago’s favorite gals are headed back to Andersonville for the holidays, where it all began! Following an 18-week sell-out run, including six-weeks at Lakeview’s Stage 773, Hell in a Handbag Productions' campy world premiere parody THE GOLDEN GIRLS – THE LOST EPISODES will return to Mary’s Attic (5400 N. Clark St., Chicago) for six additional performances from December 6, 2017 – January 10, 2018. Written by David Cerda and directed by Shade Murray, AJ Wright and David Lipschutz, the campy parody of one of TV's most beloved sitcoms will feature the best of the original run – plus a new holiday-themed episode! THE GOLDEN GIRLS will run in conjunction with the return of Handbag’s holiday favorite RUDOLPH THE RED-HOSED REINDEER. Tickets for both productions are currently available at or by calling (800) 838-3006.  

Enjoy lost, never-before-seen episodes of The Golden Girls featuring Dorothy, Rose, Blanche, Sophia and all of the siblings, daughters, sons, characters and rare diseases that were mentioned once, but never again. The production also features The Golden Girls trivia and games to help fully embrace the Miami experience. 

THE GOLDEN GIRLS – THE LOST EPISODES will feature original cast members David Cerda as the forthright Dorothy, Ed Jones as the sweet airheaded Rose and Adrian Hadlock as the sharp tongued Sophia with newcomer Grant Drager as the lusty Blanche. The cast also includes Chazie Bly, Robert Williams and Michael Miller.

In keeping with the Handbag tradition, THE GOLDEN GIRLS – THE LOST EPISODES is an original parody of the beloved show. Our Golden Girls find themselves in situations never before seen on television – that’s why they’re lost episodes! Watch the girls band together as Rose struggles with a debilitating malady that threatens to tear them apart. See what happens when Blanche has a hot and steamy encounter with a jazzercise instructor. The holiday edition features a new episode where Rose meets Santa Claus.

The production team for THE GOLDEN GIRLS – THE LOST EPISODES includes: Roger Wykes (set design), Myron Elliot (costume design), Cat Wilson (lighting design), Sydney Genco (make-up design), Mealah Heidenreich and Adrian Hadlock.

Location: Mary’s Attic, 5400 N. Clark St., Chicago
Dates: Wednesday, December 6, Monday, December 18, Tuesday, December 19, Wednesday, December 27, Wednesday, January 3 and Wednesday January 10
Curtain times: 7:30 pm
Tickets: $25. VIP seats $35-$80. Group rates $21 for 10 or more. Ticket are currently available at or, or by calling (800) 838-3006.

About the Creative Team
 David Cerda (Playwright) is the co-founder and Artistic Director of Hell in a Handbag Productions. He has written and appeared in POSEIDON!  An Upside Down Musical, The Birds, Rudolph the Red-Hosed Reindeer, SCARRIE The Musical, Caged Dames, Lady X, How Whatever Happened to Baby Jane Happened, TROGG! A Rock and Roll Musical, Christmas Dearest, Scream, Queen! SCREAM!, The Rip Nelson Halloween Spooktacular , Sexy Baby and most recently the Jeff recommended Lady X The Musical. 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.

Shade Murray (Co-Director) is happy to be back at Hell In A Handbag, where he directed The Divine Sister. He is an ensemble member of A Red Orchid Theater, where he has directed the world premieres of Brett Neveu’s Pilgrim’s Progress and Ike Holter’s Sender, as well as productions of David Adjmi's 3C, Marisa Wegrzyn’s Mud Blue Sky and The Butcher of Baraboo, Annie Baker’s The Aliens, Nick Jones’ Trevor, Mike Leigh’s Abigail’s Party and Kimberly Akimbo by David Lindsay-Abaire. He also performed in the A Red Orchid production of The Mutilated. Other directing credits include Steppenwolf Theatre Company, The House Theater, Steep Theater, Second City, Writers’ Theater and elsewhere. Shade is a lecturer at University of Chicago and teaches at DePaul University and Actors’ Studio Chicago.

AJ Wright (Co-Director) is a graduate of Ball State University and proud ensemble member with Hell in a Handbag Productions where he also serves as Production Manager. Directing credits include:  The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes (Late Night Edition), Caged Dames (Jeff Recommended), Christmas Dearest (Jeff Recommended), and Rudolph the Red-Hosed Reindeer (2011, 2012 & 2017). As an actor, he has been seen in 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 is also a member of the Jeff Committee and had the pleasure of writing and assistant directing the 44th Annual Non-Equity Joseph Jefferson Awards and looks forward to writing the 45th Annual ceremony in 2017. 

David Lipschutz (Co-Director) is a proud company member, he has worked on nearly twenty Handbag productions. David previously directed the staged reading of Psycho Beach Party and assistant directed Miracle and Christmas Dearest. He has also directed/assistant directed with Underscore Theatre, Runaways Lab Theatre, Generic Theatre Company and BPB Co. (company member), where he will be directing the upcoming production of Speech & Debate. 

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

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Chicago Style Magic Returns with Groundbreaking on New Andersonville Art Deco Home for Chicago Magic Lounge


Multi-Million Dollar Renovation to Host “Chicago Style Magic” Featuring Close-Up Magic with More Than 35 Famed Magicians

Today, ChiIL Mama was ChiILin' just north of Chicago in the charmingly diverse Andersonville neighborhood, for the groundbreaking of a new, art deco home for Chicago Magic Lounge at 5050 N. Clark St.

Check out our full set of shots in the slideshow here and more favorites below.

Chicago Magic Lounge, Chicago’s home for close-up magic, today broke ground in its new home. The multi-million-dollar renovation, designed by Morris Architects Planners, will usher in a new wave of entertainment, bringing back “Chicago Style Magic” under the leadership of Donald Clark, Jr. and Joseph (Joey) Cranford. From magicians to mind readers, Chicago Magic Lounge will provide guests the unique, one-of-a-kind experience of seeing wonders up-close and personal.

“Chicago Magic Lounge expects to open its luxurious new entertainment center in Chicago in early 2018,” said co-owner Donald Clark, Jr. “The newly renovated building will be an art deco-style magic lounge featuring secret entrances, a performance bar—replete with craft cocktails and decadent small bites—and an approximately 100 seat cabaret theater with a mezzanine overlooking both the stage as well as the bar underneath it. In addition, the space will feature a separate, exclusive close-up performance room, the “654 Club" (named for a classic Chicago card trick story, where guests will have the option to get an even closer look into our world of magic.” He added, “You truly won’t believe your eyes.”

The renovation, which will transform what was once a commercial laundry facility into a state-of the art venue, plans to be completed by late 2017 and will be in the heart of the Andersonville community. Prior to the completion of Chicago Magic Lounge, the show will continue to run at the Uptown Underground (4707 N. Broadway) where a community of 35 magicians entertain audiences every Thursday and Saturday night. 

Chicago Magic Lounge will continue to delight audiences with close-up magic as they engage with guests by breaking the fourth wall and thrive on pure audience interaction and reaction.

As stated by Thrillist, “The Chicago Magic Lounge isn’t so much a physical structure as it is a reality that magicians have invited the audience into. The whole evening is essentially one big performance, and during it, magicians must believe in what they’re doing for it to feel real for the spectator. And when the spectator gets lost in the moment completely, even for a second -- that’s it. That’s the real magic.”

“Chicago Magic Lounge brings back a style of magic unique to the Windy City, which once hosted over 15 bars, restaurants and lounges all dedicated to what would become known as ‘Chicago-Style Magic,’” said co-owner Joey Cranford. "Dating back to the 1920s, magic bars and lounges were wonder-filled places of mystery and prestidigitation. One by one, the magic bars seemingly disappeared. Gone were the sleight of hand card tricks at the bar. Gone were simple, elegant illusions that made you wonder if you had one too many cocktails, and with it, Chicago forgot about a style of entertainment that it had created,” said Cranford.  “Well, now the magic is back.”

About Joey Cranford

An actor, director and marketing executive, Joey Cranford founded the Chicago Magic Lounge in 2015. Cranford moved to Chicago to train with The Second City in 2002, and began performing with I.O. and the Annoyance Theater while traveling with a national touring improv group. He transitioned into Film and Television with credits including “Man of Steel,” “Batman v Superman,” “Chicago Fire” and “Better Call Saul.” Cranford began his career in magic directing a local show called “Bending Minds and Bending Dreams.” He now works with a dedicated team of the best magicians in the country.  

About Donald Clark, Jr.

Donald Clark, Jr., who recently retired from his successful career as an attorney, has always been appreciative of the art of magic and is now immersed in the entertainment business. Clark’s producing credits include “The Encounter,” (winner of a Special Tony Award, an Outer Critics Circle award and a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Sound Design in a Play), as well as the upcoming “Bull Durham: The Musical” on Broadway. Clark has served as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Adler Planetarium as well as the Chicago Theological Seminary, where he is now the Acting President and General Counsel.

About Chicago Magic Lounge

The Chicago Magic Lounge reinvents the classic "magic bar" that once dotted Chicago's nightlife landscape, bringing cocktails and card tricks back together again. Shows include magic performance at the bar, on the stage and in true Chicago-Style magic form, at the tables of the guests, providing the classic "Close-Up" tradition Chicago-Style magic is known for. Chicago Magic Lounge is also the home of the Chicago-land magic community, showcasing over 30 local professionals, and serving as a networking hub for working magicians from all over the world. 

Renderings for the new space:


view from the stage

view from the audience

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