Pages

Showing posts with label HOLIDAY. Show all posts
Showing posts with label HOLIDAY. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

December's Delightful at Davenport’s Piano Bar & Cabaret In Chicago

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar


Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Make the Yule-tide Gay

New Year’s Eve Special Event Nitz and Howe Experience


DAVENPORT’S PIANO BAR & CABARET’S DECEMBER INCLUDES HOLIDAY OFFERINGS AND MORE

The Wicker Park Venue Hosts Mr. Cooke for his Christmas Spectacular, Miriam Plotkin, Kim Grossman’s Holiday Spectacular and Much More During This December

Davenport’s Piano Bar & Cabaret, Chicago’s premier location for enjoying music in an intimate setting, announces its roster of December performances including Holiday offerings in its Cabaret and Piano Bar. Davenport’s, 1383 North Milwaukee Avenue, is open Thursdays from 7 - 11 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 7 p.m. - 12 a.m. and Sundays from 6 - 11 p.m. Performers, tickets and more are available at DavenportsPianoBar.com.


*Please note: All patrons must be vaccinated. For entry, patrons must provide proof of vaccination, such as a Vaccination Cardand a valid photo ID. Masks will be required upon entry and when not seated.



All performances In The Cabaret are ticketed events with a two-drink minimum on the night of the performance. 


In The Cabaret this December are:


Jefferey Cooke

Holly and Berries and Everything Merry - My Christmas Spectacular!

Friday, Dec. 3 at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $20 with a two-drink minimum

Join us for a fun, lighthearted tribute to the Christmas specials of yester-year. Packed with audience participation (including games and fabulous prizes), there will be a mix of old holiday classics and some songs that you may have never heard before; along with a surprise guest star.


Miriam Plotkin

Anxiety Tonight! (Pigtails are Kosher)

Saturday, Dec. 4 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 11 at 8 p.m.

These performances are sold out - encore performance added Saturday, Jan. 22 at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $25 with a two-drink minimum 

After missing last year because of the pandemic, Miriam Plotkin returns with her hit show Anxiety Tonight! (Pigtails are Kosher), a Jewish themed parody song filled cabaret in true Allan Sherman fashion. Extra shpilkes! Masks! New material! Get ready to laugh your “OY” off and “shed” the neurosis, not the virus!


Kim Grossman

Kim Grossman’s Holiday Spectacular

Sunday, Dec. 5 at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $20 with a two-drink minimum

It’s been quite a while since we’ve been together and I’ve missed you all oh so dearly. So put on your coziest sweater, grab a friend and join us for an evening of holiday tunes both old and new. Featuring Kim Grossman, Kimi Arquines and Ben Hebert, with a special visit from your friendly neighborhood elf! Let's raise a glass and celebrate the season!


Las Tinas

Fa-la-la Las Tinas: A Christmas Special

Friday, Dec. 10 at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $10 with a two-drink minimum

‘Tis the season to be DRAMATIC! Come see Fa-la-la Las Tinas: A Christmas Special, a show where your favorite telenovela stars will reward all who’ve been nice with a steamy kiss, punish the naughty with a treacherous slap and gift everyone with plenty of laughs.


Michael Joseph Mitchell

“Reclaiming the [Musical] High Ground”

Sunday, Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 19 at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $20 with a two-drink minimum

Us! In pants! In a room! Together! We’ll shake the rafters with some jubilant music, some exuberant harmonies, plus a few quiet moments to contemplate what the heck just happened. Pop, showtunes, unexpected mashups, mushy stuff, you name it. We’ve been holding it in for 18 months, so step back and give us some room. Or better yet, pipe up and chime in! Michael is joined by the amazing singers Devri Chism, Emily Goldberg and Valerie Jonkoff, plus Adam Whiteman on drums and Andrew Hollander-Urbach on piano.

Michael Joseph Mitchell is a Chicago-based actor and singer, who has performed at The Lyric Opera, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Drury Lane Oakbrook, Victory Gardens, and many regional theaters. This is his fourth new act at Davenport’s.

 

Sarah Christine w/ Special Guest Taylor Tuke

The Festive Vibes Tour

Thursday, Dec. 16 at 8 p.m. 

Tickets are $15 with a two-drink minimum

The wonderfully talented Sarah Christine is bringing her Holiday Tour to Chicago on the Davenport's stage! She will be singing favorite carols and, wait…WHAT?!? Yes! Some original holiday songs as well as requests of originals! Oh, but there’s more! The amazing Taylor Tuke is making his way from Nashville to join in the festivities! Missing this spirited show would be like missing Christmas morning itself. In other words - get your tickets now!

 

Jennifer Blades and John Bowen

Dear Santa, a Christmas Cabaret

Saturday, Dec. 18 at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $20 with a 2-drink minimum

Join the dynamic cabaret duo of Jennifer Blades and John Bowen for a musical letter to the North Pole's most famous resident. This holiday romp will offer perspectives on the fat man in the red suit ranging from the traditional to the surprising to the downright shocking. So whether you're naughty or nice, check your schedule and check it twice, because if you don't see this show, not only do you not know Santa, you don't know Jack. . . Frost!

 

New Year’s Eve Special Event

Nitz and Howe Experience

Friday, Dec. 31 - doors open at 8:30 p.m. - show from 9:30 p.m. - 12:30 a.m.

Tickets are $25 

Davenport’s favorites celebrate the start of 2022 with a special New Year’s Eve performance. Ring in the new year at Davenport’s with song and laughter and a countdown to midnight with a champagne toast and party favors. The New Year’s Eve performance is limited to only 50 tickets.

 

December performances in The Piano Bar include: 

Sundays 8 - 10 p.m.

Every Sunday: Sunday Night Social Lounge. hosted by Micky York


Mondays 8 - 10 p.m.

December 13: George Howe Holiday Sing-Along


Thursday 8 - 10 p.m.

December 2: Julie Merchant

December 9: Mark and Anne Burrell

December 16: Mark and Anne Burnell

December 23: Closed

December 30: Closed


Fridays 8:30 - 11:30 p.m.

Every Friday: George Howe


Saturdays 9 p.m. - 12 a.m.

Every Saturday: The Nitz & Howe Experience+

Please note: Davenport’s will be closed from December 20 - 30.

+All Saturday appearances have a $5 cover, with no drink minimum and is limited to 50 guests.  


ABOUT DAVENPORT’S PIANO BAR & CABARET

Davenport's Piano Bar and Cabaret is Chicago's premier location for enjoying music in an intimate setting. With two performance spaces, visitors may enjoy performances by national and local talent. The cabaret room has performances most nights showcasing a variety of types of music. The piano bar provides music from an accomplished roster of musicians and a talented serving staff that can both make a drink and sing you a Broadway-caliber song.


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

THE RIP NELSON HOLIDAY 

QUARANTINE SPECIAL

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.

AND

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)


REVIEW: THE RIP NELSON HOLIDAY 
QUARANTINE SPECIAL

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: ChiILLiveShows.com (adult) & ChiILMama.com (family friendly). 



 MORE ON THE RIP NELSON HOLIDAY QUARANTINE SPECIAL

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 handbagproductions.org or stage773.com. 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.

PRODUCTION DETAILS:

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 handbagproductions.org.


Monday, November 26, 2018

REVIEW: Hell in a Handbag Productions' World Premiere of SnowGirls – The Musical Through December 30, 2018 at Mary’s Attic

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar:

World Premiere!
Hell in a Handbag Productions Presents 
SnowGirls – The Musical
Book by Derek Van Barham
Music by David Cerda, Scott Lamberty & Jeff Thomson
Directed by Jon Martinez
Music Direction by JD Caudill

(pictured) Harper Leander in Hell in a Handbag Productions’ world premiere of SnowGirls – The Musical. All Production Photos by Rick Aguilar Studios.

November 15 – December 30, 2018 
at Mary’s Attic



Guest Review:
by D'Arcy Mies

If you are looking for looking for an adult-themed holly-jolly good time this holiday season, Snowgirls will not disappoint!  Not your mama’s Christmas show, this raunchy, silly, and high-spirited musical features all your favorite yuletide characters:  pole-dancing reindeer, foul-mouthed elves, and a horny Santa.


(left to right) Amelia Bell, Harper Leander and Sharon Rae Ryan 


Mary’s Attic, aglow with pink and red lights, serves up hot toddies and other holiday spirits to a laughing and appreciative crowd. 

Photo Credit: D'Arcy Mies

Photo Credit: D'Arcy Mies

Photo Credit: D'Arcy Mies

The show opens with an energetic musical number introducing small-town reindeer Snowmi Malone. Snowmi hitchhikes her way to the North Pole to become a dancer, and sexy hilarity ensues!  Snowgirls delivers catchy musical numbers, clever one-liners, and a sexy villainess who wouldn’t be out of place as the wicked queen in a (very twisted) Disney movie.


(pictured) Erin Daly

Don’t expect any plot-twists as Snowgirls closely parodies the 1995 movie Showgirls, but do expect full-frontal reindeer nudity, theatre-in-jokes, and a scene-stealing Mrs. Claus. References to “Saved by the Bell:”, Rankin and Bass Christmas specials, and even a bit of puppetry round out this naughty-but-nice addition to the Holiday theatre season.


Photo Credit: D'Arcy Mies


Photo Credit: D'Arcy Mies


Photo Credit: D'Arcy Mies


D'Arcy Mies is a Montessori teacher, mom, and long time theater lover who lives in Chicago burb, Franklin Park. She drives a "Tardis Blue" car decked out like Dr. Who's time machine and can often be found at pop culture events.




(left to right) Brittani Yawn, Marissa Williams and Patrick Stengle

(left to right) Brittani Yawn, Harper Leander and Grant Drager 

Hell in a Handbag Productions rings in the holidays with the world premiere of SnowGirls – The Musical, a parody of the classic cult film Showgirls. Featuring a book by Derek Van Barham, music by Artistic Director David Cerda* with Scott Lamberty and Jeff Thomson, direction by Jon Martinez and music direction by JD Caudill. SnowGirls will play November 15 – December 30, 2018 at Mary’s Attic, 5400 N. Clark St. in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. Tickets are currently available at brownpapertickets.com or by calling (800) 838-3006. 


(clockwise from left) Sharon Rae Ryan, Amelia Bell, Sydney Genco, Marissa Williams and Patrick Stengle 


SnowGirls – The Musicalfeatures Ensemble Members Sydney Genco*, Grant Drager* and Terry McCarthy* with Amelia Bell, Erin Daly, Harper Leander, Max McKune, Sharon Rae Ryan, Patrick Stengle, Marissa Williams and Brittani Yawn.

Snowmi Malone is a rebel who dreams of becoming a dancer. Her quest leads her to the cold cruel world of the North Pole, where she’ll stop at nothing to fulfill her fantasy. SnowGirls explores what happens at the North Pole the other 364 days of the year – and it isn't always pretty.


Harper Leander and Brittani Yawn 

The production team for SnowGirls – The Musical includes: Kate Setzer Kamphausen (costume design), Cat Wilson* (lighting design), Keith Ryan* (wig design) and Drew Donnelly (stage manager).

*Denotes Handbag ensemble member.

Cast (in alphabetical order): Amelia Bell (Ensemble, Dancer), Erin Daly (Mrs. Claus), Sydney Genco* (Ice Krystal), Grant Drager* (Zip), Harper Leander (Snowmi Malone), Terry McCarthy* (Santa, Tony), Max McKune (Rudolph, Ensemble), Sharon Rae Ryan (Ensemble, Dasher), Patrick Stengle (Ensemble, Herbie), Marissa Williams (Gay, Ensemble, Dance Captain) and Brittani Yawn (Jolly). 


(left to right) Sydney Genco, Brittani Yawn and Harper Leander


Location: Mary’s Attic, 5400 N. Clark St., Chicago

Dates:Previews: Thursday, November 15 at 7:30 pm, Friday, November 16 at 7:30 pm, Saturday, November 17 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, November 18 at 6 pm.

Regular run: Sunday, November 25 – Sunday, December 30, 2018

Curtain Times: Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 6 pm. Please note: there will not be a 6 pm performance on Sunday, December 2 due to the Handbag Gala.

Tickets: Previews $17. Regular run $27 in advance, $30 at the door. Group rates $24 for 10 or more. $20 senior and student rates. 


About the Artists    

Derek Van Barham (Book) is the Associate Artistic Director of Pride Films & Plays and a member of the Red Tape Theatre ensemble. For PFP, he has directed Perfect Arrangement, Angry Fags (Steppenwolf Garage), Songs from an Unmade Bed (Jeff nomination), and (co-directing) PRISCILLA, Queen of the Desert: The Musical. He also wrote BITE: A Pucking Queer Cabaret and Kill Your Boyfriends. Other directing credits include The View Upstairs (Circle Theatre), Three Days of Rain (Boho), Miracle! by Dan Savage, Skooby Don't (Hell in a Handbag), and HOT PINK (New American Folk Theatre). Choreography credits include The CiviliTy of Albert Cashier (Permoveo/PFP), Nevermore, Shockheaded Peter, Coraline (Black Button Eyes) and Salonathon. He was named one of Windy City Times 30 Under 30, recognizing Chicago's LGBTQ+ community. Up next: directing When Adonis Calls and Poseidon! An Upside Down Musical and choreographing Evil Dead the Musical.   

David Cerda (Music) is the Artistic Director and co-founder of Hell in a Handbag Productions. Cerda has written or collaborated on POSEIDON! An Upside Down Musical, Caged Dames, Sexy Baby, Lady X: The Musical, Christmas Dearest, Rudolph the Red-Hosed Reindeer, SCARRIE-The Musical, and many others. He has also worked as a songwriter with Amazon Studios and as an actor around Chicago. In 2016, Cerda was in inducted into the Chicago GLBT Hall of Fame and in 2017 he received a Lifetime Achievement Jeff Award for his contributions to the Chicago theater community and philanthropic efforts.

Jeff Thomson (Orchestrations) is a recipient of the Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation Award as well as the Dramatist Guild Musical Theatre Writing Fellowship. Jeff’s original musical Trails was performed in New York, Los Angeles, Seattle and Tokyo, winning him the NYMF award for Best Music, as well as the Stage Entertainment Development Award. Other projects include Virtually Me for TheatreworksUSA, and a club musical adaptation of the cult film Jawbreaker, an arena rock musical adaptation of Allan Moyle's Pump Up the Volume (book and lyrics by Jeremy Desmon). He was commissioned by Broadway Across America to compose the music to the children’s musical Mad Libs Live!, which premiered Off-Broadway. Jeff was selected by Amazon Studios to write the music for the animated movie musical, Midnight with lyricist David Cerda. Most recently, Jeff was selected by Simon & Schuster to pen the score to a new Broadway musical based on the iconic and beloved sleuth, Nancy Drew. www.JeffThomsonMusic.com 

Scott Lamberty (Arrangements, Tracks) has collaborated with David Cerda on several Handbag musicals including Rudolph the Red-Hosed Reindeer, POSEIDON! An Upside Down Musical, SCARRIE – The Musical, Sexy Baby and Lady X The Musical. Scott has also worked extensively with Corn Productions on the Tiff and Mom shows, The Bad Seed The Musical and Jesus Camp – The Musical, among many others.

Jon Martinez (Director) is excited to make his Handbag debut! Credits include: The Buddy Holly Story (American Blues Theatre), The View Upstairs (Circle Theater), In The Heights (Civic Theatre), On A Clear Day… (Porchlight Music Theater), It’s Only a Play, Priscilla Queen of the Desert (Joseph Jefferson Award nomination) (Pride Films & Plays), Rock of Ages (Timberlake Playhouse), Tonya & Nancy The Rock Opera (Chicago Premiere – Underscore); 3C (Red Orchid); We’re Gonna Die (Haven Theater/Steppenwolf). Jon also directed the Theater On The Lake remount of Bailiwick Chicago’s Jeff Award-winning production of Murder Ballad. He also has served as assistant/associate director/choreographer on LIZZIE (Firebrand), Xanadu (American Theater Company); Carrie, Murder Ballad (Bailiwick Chicago). His first ballet, Le Apache, premiered in 2016 at The Harris Theater in Chicago. Jon is a company member of Underscore and Firebrand Theatre. 

JD Caudill (Music Director) is a Chicago-based director, music director and performer. Since coming to Chicago in 2014, JD has performed onstage with The New Colony, Hell in a Handbag Productions, New American Folk Theatre, Forks and Hope and Hobo Junction, and directed for over 15 companies, including Broken Nose Theatre, The New Colony and Haven Theatre. JD is a company member of Hell in a Handbag and Haven Theatre (where they are also marketing director), and an associate company member of Broken Nose Theatre.


(left to right) Harper Leander and Grant Drager

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.

Friday, December 15, 2017

REVIEW: The Christmas Schooner Returns For Its Annual Holiday Voyage at Mercury Theater Through 12/31/17

ChiIL Mama's Chi, IL Picks List:

Mercury Theater Chicago
THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER SETS SAIL 
Through December 31, 2017



Review: 
by Catherine Hellmann, guest writer 

Inspired by true events, The Christmas Schooner is a delightful musical currently playing at the Mercury Theater through the month of December. If you haven't seen it, the show is a wonderful addition to the other holiday-themed theatrical offerings now running in the Windy City. In its seventh year, The Christmas Schooner relates an inspiring story of a Michigan family who braved the icy waters of Lake Michigan to bring Christmas trees from the Upper Peninsula to Clark Street Docks in Chicago in the early 1900s. Selling the trees for fifty cents to a dollar apiece, Captain Herman Schuenemann would also give trees away to the needy. A letter from his cousin in Chicago woefully explains there are no evergreen trees to be had in the bustling city for her beloved Tannenbaum. Against his wife's wishes, she realizes a winter storm on the lake can be deadly, the captain is determined to bring Christmas cheer to the German immigrants of Chicago.
  
The first outing seems foolhardy, and wife Alma's dismay of her husband, Captain Peter Stossel, daring such a journey in the dead of winter is shown amusingly by Brianna Borger's silent treatment and angry knitting. Ms. Borger has a lovely voice and her stage presence is warm and perfect as the supportive wife, mother, and daughter-in-law. Her husband is played dutifully by a returning Stef Tovar, who was so convincing, and unrecognizable, as the lead character in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center of New York City. Also of particular note is Don Forston as the German grandfather Gustav Stossel. He lapses into his native German frequently at the beginning, but his daughter-in-law admonishes him to "speak in American." He also utters a "Gott im Himmel!" disguising his swearing in German. Coincidentally, my own father recalled his German grandmother using the exact same phrase when she wanted to curse in front of her grandchildren!  

The costumes and songs are delightful, and my companion and I enjoyed learning a little bit more about Chicago's immigrant past. One of the most memorable songs was the haunting "What Is It about the Water?" We forget what these ship workers and sailors went through, and how anxious life on land was for their patiently waiting wives.  



(There is also a funny scene about how the city could also be a dangerous place not to be trusted as a swindler takes advantage of the Michigan visitors and their gullibility.) On the first voyage, uncertain whether the crew would sell a single tree, they are shockingly greeted with a crowd of 500 people, mostly European immigrants who want to experience the familiar Christmas ritual of decorating a tree in their homes. The "Christmas Schooner," as it becomes dubbed, makes several subsequent journeys for years until tragedy strikes. The danger on the Great Lakes is very real. Interestingly, the last year of the original Christmas Schooner was also the year the Mercury theater opened in 1912.  

Plan to make The Christmas Schooner a part of your family tradition. It will sail into your hearts.

Individual tickets range from $30-$69, and are available online at www.MercuryTheaterChicago.com, over the phone at 773.325.1700, or in person at 3745 N. Southport Avenue, Chicago. 



Meet the creative team of THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER! from Mercury Theater Chicago on Vimeo.

Hear from Director L. Walter Stearns, Music Director Eugene Dizon and Choreographer Brenda Didier and learn why THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER is so special to them.



Mercury Theater Chicago, 3745 N. Southport Avenue – THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER will be sailing for its seventh year at Mercury Theater Chicago, from November 24 through December 31, 2017. We are pleased to welcome new cast members to the Schooner family including Nicole Armold, Harter Clingman, Jared Rein, Ron Keaton, Ryan Stajmiger and Holly Stauder with Don Forston returning at the helm as “Gustav Stossel.” The cast will be led by the Jeff-award winning team of L. Walter Stearns (Director), Eugene Dizon (Musical Director) and Brenda Didier (Choreographer). Whether it is your first or tenth time seeing THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER, this heartwarming Chicago-centric story never fails to remind us what the holidays are all about: sharing love.


The whole family will enjoy this heartwarming musical story of the first Christmas tree ship and the family who risked their lives to fill Chicago with the Christmas spirit. Hailed as "A sacred part of a Chicago Christmas!" by the Chicago Tribune, this production has become one of Chicago’s great holiday traditions. The production features a powerful, moving story, an exquisite score of original music and traditional holiday favorites.
 
Director L. Walter Stearns: “There are a great many holiday shows to choose from, but the importance of continuing THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER is too great, not only to us personally, but to the families who have made us part of their holiday tradition each year. This show is a holiday slice of Chicago history...a story of immigrants sharing their family traditions. It seems we need that reminder this year more than ever”

 
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 23, 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 - opened that very same year.
 
THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER has entertained audiences in hundreds of productions including a twelve-year run at Chicago's Bailiwick Repertory Theatre. A timely and uplifting tale of love, THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER is a poignant ode to the rich legacy of Chicago and a reminder of our responsibility to celebrate the living while honoring our heritage. In 2011, Mercury Theater Chicago revived THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER with a full orchestra and an all-star cast, garnering a "Best Production" nomination for the 2012 Jeff Awards. 

The production has been called "A grand family tradition!" by the Chicago Tribune and "An inheritance to be treasured...Highly recommended!" by the Chicago Sun-Times. Time Out Chicago Kids says that “An emotion-packed, Christmas-themed tale of redemption give the Mercury Theater’s production of THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER all the trappings of a family holiday tradition in the making!"



THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER is written by Chicagoans John Reeger (book) and Julie Shannon (music and lyrics).  Don Forston will return to the helm as ‘Gustav Stossel’ with Brianna Borger as Alma and Stef Tovar as Peter Stossel.  Rounding out the crew on this year's schooner voyage are Kelly Anne Clark, Dan Gold and Christian Libonati.  New shipmates include Nicole Armold, Harter Clingman, Leo Gonzalez, Stella Hoyt, Ben Miller, Jared Rein, Ryan Stajmiger, Holly Stauder and Elise Wolf. The scenic design is by Jacqueline and Richard Penrod, with costume design by Carol Blanchard and sound design by Mike Ross.

The beautifully renovated Mercury Theater Chicago is an intimate jewel box of a theater in the heart of the Southport Corridor, a sophisticated neighborhood of restaurants and boutiques just steps from Wrigley Field. A delightful theater destination, Mercury Theater Chicago takes care of its guests from the moment they arrive with valet service and dining at its adjoining restaurant, Grassroots.
 
The performance schedule for THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER is Wednesdays at 8pm, Thursdays at 3pm and 8pm, Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 3pm and 8pm and Sundays at 3pm.  There are additional holiday performances on Tuesday, December 19th at 8pm and Tuesday, December 26th at 8:00pm.

 
Connect with us on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/MercuryChicago
 


Upgrade your evening. Click image for details:


Friday, December 8, 2017

Klingon Christmas Carol at Raven Theatre Via E.D.G.E THEATRE

E.D.G.E THEATRE PRESENTS   
Klingon Christmas Carol,   
ADAPTED BY 
CHRISTOPHER KIDDER-MOSTROM & SASHA WARREN ,
AT Raven Theatre, November 30th-December 17th


Get your geek on with a rendition of Christmas Carol like no other! Here at ChiIL Live Shows, we caught A Klingon Christmas Carol a few years back and were astonished. It plays out like a foreign language movie with subtitles, yet the carefully crafted script and translation is far from gibberish. The Klingon values of courage and honor shine through and the language is impressive, to say the least. This is a must see for Star Trek fans and anyone who enjoys pop culture, unique takes on holiday classics, and a fun night out.

A Klingon Christmas Carol, written by Christopher Kidder-Mostrom & Sasha Warren, and translated by Laura Thurston, Bill Hedrick, Christopher Kidder-Mostrom & Chris Lipscombe. This production is directed by John Gleason Teske and performs  November 30th-December 17th at Raven Theatre, 6157 N Clark St, Chicago, IL.  

The performance schedule is Thursdays and Saturdays at 8:00PM and Sundays at 2:00PM (with a special Friday performance on December 1st at 8:00PM). Tickets are $22 and may be purchased at edgeoforion.com/purchase-tickets/.

A Klingon Christmas Carol is the first play to be performed entirely in Klingon, a constructed language first appearing in Star Trek. It is the Charles Dickens classic tale of ghosts and redemption, adapted to reflect the Klingon values of courage and honor, and then translated into Klingon (performed with English supertitles).

The cast of  Kllingon Christmas Carol includes  Jamie Spagnola (Narrator); Tony Bunnell SQUJA’ (Scrooge); Matt Calhoun QACHIT (Cratchit); Justin Blankenship VRED (Fred); Andrea Hansen EMLI (Mrs. Cratchit); Alexander C. Ferguson BEN QEYLIS QA' (Christmas Past); Rhys Read DAHJAJ QEYLIS QA' (Christmas Present); Kreg Kennon PIQ QEYLIS QA' (Christmas Yet-To-Come); Angela Rak

SQUJA' QUP (Young Scrooge); Darrick Jackson VESIWIQ (Fezziwig); Mandi Corrao VAN (Fan); Cat McKay BEL (Belle); John Mobley MARLI'(Marley); Erin Caswell SUY (Weapon Merchant/Old Joe); Lucinda Lodder Lindstrom TIMHOM (Tiny   Tim).

The  Klingon Christmas Carol production team includes  Shauna Warren,  stage manager; Rachel Flesher, fight director; Peter McManus, set designer and  David Trudeau, lighting designer.

ABOUT E.D.G.E. THEATRE
E.D.G.E.’s anachronism stands for “Esteem Development through Greater Expectations”. Using the theatre arts, they educate and entertain to foster the tools of social change. E.D.G.E has a goal of finding every participant’s personal best and holding them accountable to it. E.D.G.E. main thrust is developing theatre for marginalized communities and to bring a message of non-violence, civic and social change through exploration of the theatre arts. E.D.G.E.’s four sectors are: E.D.G.E Core, company produced classes offered on a select curriculum in theatre, social skills, history and stage combat; E.D.G.E. Satellite, 

E.D.G.E programs produced, collaborated or sub contracted by an outside produced program; E.D.G.E Troupe, a professional actor program providing a training ground for interns from our marginalized community to observe the highest standards of professionalism and be part of the process and E.D.G.E Workshops, limited time commitment programs are meant to harness their educational and entertainment abilities in a workshop environment. These programs are targeted for school assemblies, conventions, and camps.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

OPENING: WORLD PREMIERE Steampunk Christmas Carol at Raven Theatre Via E.D.G.E THEATRE 12/6-16

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

E.D.G.E THEATRE PRESENTS THE WORLD PREMIERE OF Steampunk Christmas Carol, 
ADAPTED BY Jared McDaris, at Raven Theatre
December 6-December 16


Get in gear, break out your top hats and check out Steampunk Christmas Carol. 

E.D.G.E. Theatre is pleased to announce the world premiere of Steampunk Christmas Carol, adapted and directed by Jared McDaris, December 6-December 16 at Raven Theatre, 6157 N Clark St, Chicago, IL. Opening night is December 6. The performance schedule is 12/6, 12/8, 12/15 at 8pm and 12/9, 12/16 at 2pm. Tickets are $18. Tickets may be purchased at https://edgeoforion.com/steampunk-christmas-carol.

Charles Dickens meets Jules Verne (the Father of Science Fiction) in EDGE Theater and Steampunk Chicago's inventive reimagining of the classic holiday tale A Christmas Carol. Set in fanciful Victorian England, mechanized ghosts tell of the fate of a world without Christmas. In this land of industry, populated with strange machines powered by gas, gears and electricity, Scrooge comes to realize that the best investment man can make is in mankind. Witness the revolution of a soul when Jared McDaris' Steampunk Christmas Carol swings into Chicago's Raven Theatre.

The cast of Steampunk Christmas Carol includes X-2: Gilly Guire
The
Engineer: Sarah Franzel
Scrooge:
Joshua Carroll

Fred: Erik Burke
Barb
Ratchet: Elizabeth Quilter
Marley:
Jessica Goforth
Christmas
Past: Kate Lass
Mad
Madam Fizzlewig: Jennifer Mohr Young Scrooge: Seamus McMahon
The
Creation "Claire": Sarah Jean Tilford Christmas Present: Kaelea Rovinsky

The Steampunk Christmas Carol production team includes Roxie Kooi, stage manager; Kate Lass, fight director; Peter McManus, set designer and David Trudeau, lighting designer.

ABOUT E.D.G.E. THEATRE
E.D.G.E.’s anachronism stands for “Esteem Development through Greater Expectations”. Using the theatre arts, they educate and entertain to foster the tools of social change. E.D.G.E has a goal of finding every participant’s personal best and holding them accountable to it. E.D.G.E. main thrust is developing theatre for marginalized communities and to bring a message of non-violence, civic and social change through exploration of the theatre arts. E.D.G.E.’s four sectors are: E.D.G.E Core, company produced classes offered on a select curriculum in theatre, social skills, history and stage combat; E.D.G.E. Satellite, E.D.G.E programs produced, collaborated or sub contracted by an outside produced program; E.D.G.E Troupe, a professional actor program providing a training ground for interns from our marginalized community to observe the highest standards of professionalism and be part of the process and E.D.G.E Workshops, limited time commitment programs are meant to harness their educational and entertainment abilities in a workshop environment. These programs are targeted for school assemblies, conventions, and camps.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Chicago Gift Ideas for Theatre Lovers: New Gift Card Option at Steppenwolf

Steppenwolf Announces New Gift Card 
Give the Gift of a Great Night Out 


Steppenwolf Theatre Company announces an exciting new promotional deal in time for the 2017 holiday season. Perfect for both personal and business gifting, it’s easy to warm hearts with the gift of theatre. Spread some holiday cheer with a Night Out Gift Card that includes two flexible ticket credits to any Steppenwolf performance and $25 Front Bar gift card for the low price of $179. The Night Out Gift Card can be purchased through Audience Services (1650 N Halsted St) at 312-335-1650 or steppenwolf.org\holiday. Limited time offer through January 6, 2018.

Upcoming Shows

The Minutes
Written by ensemble member Tracy Letts
Directed by Artistic Director Anna D. Shapiro
November 9 – December 31, 2017 in the Downstairs Theatre
A scathing new comedy about small-town politics and real-world power exposes the ugliness behind some of our most closely-held American narratives.

BLKS
Written by Aziza Barnes
Directed by Nataki Garrett
December 7, 2017 – January 28, 2018
Three friends. One f**ked up night. A whole lot of growing pains.

You Got Older
Written by Clare Barron
Directed by Jonathan Berry
January 25 – March 11, 2018
Mae, brokenhearted and unemployed, returns home to care for her ailing father and escape the loneliness of a life that just can’t seem to get off the ground.

The Doppelgänger (An International Farce)
Written by Matthew-Lee Erlbach
Directed by ensemble member Tina Landau
April 5 – May 27, 2018 
After a British businessman's untimely death, his unwitting American doppelgänger is thrust into background deals that could shape the face of Africa.

Guards at the Taj
Written by Rajiv Joseph
Directed by ensemble member Amy Morton
May 31 – July 22, 2018
As the sun rises for the first time on the newly-constructed Taj Mahal, two hapless imperial guards are charged with an unspeakable task that will shake their faith in God, the empire and their lifelong friendship.

The Roommate
Written by Jen Silverman
Directed by Phylicia Rashad
June 21 – August 5, 2018
A comically mismatched pair of roommates leads to a surprising and touching friendship. Think The Odd Couple meets Breaking Bad.



Front Bar: Coffee and Drinks
Connected to the Downstairs Lobby is Steppenwolf’s own Front Bar: Coffee and Drinks, offering a warm, creative space to grab a drink, have a bite, or meet up with friends and collaborators, day or night. Open Tuesdays – Sundays from 8am to midnight, Front Bar serves artisanal coffee and espresso provided by La Colombe and food prepared by Goddess and Grocer. The menu focuses on fresh, accessible fare, featuring grab-and-go salads and sandwiches for lunch and adding shareable small plates and desserts for evening and post show service. www.front-bar.com


Steppenwolf Theatre Company is the nation’s premier ensemble theater. Formed by a collective of actors in 1976, the ensemble of 49 members represent a remarkable cross-section of actors, directors and playwrights. Thrilling and powerful productions from Balm in Gilead to August: Osage County—and accolades that include the National Medal of Arts and 12 Tony Awards—have made the theater legendary. Steppenwolf produces hundreds of performances and events annually in its three spaces: the 515-seat Downstairs Theatre, the 259-seat Upstairs Theatre and the 80-seat 1700 Theatre. Artistic programing includes a seven-play season; a two-play Steppenwolf for Young Adults season; Visiting Company engagements; and LookOut, a multi-genre performances series. Education initiatives include the nationally recognized work of Steppenwolf for Young Adults, which engages 15,000 participants annually from Chicago’s diverse communities; the esteemed School at Steppenwolf; and Professional Leadership Programs for arts administration training. While firmly grounded in the Chicago community, nearly 40 original Steppenwolf productions have enjoyed success both nationally and internationally, including Broadway, Off-Broadway, London, Sydney, Galway and Dublin. Anna D. Shapiro is the Artistic Director and David Schmitz is the Executive Director. Eric Lefkofsky is Chair of Steppenwolf’s Board of Trustees. 

For additional information, visit steppenwolf.org, facebook.com/steppenwolftheatre, twitter.com/steppenwolfthtr and instagram.com/steppenwolfthtr.

Google Analytics