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

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.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

OPENING: Irreverent Adult Comedy Barney the Elf at Greenhouse Through 12/30/17

The Smash Hit Returns!
Other Theatre Presents the Holiday Musical
BARNEY THE ELF
By Bryan Renaud
Lyrics by Bryan Renaud and Emily Schmidt
Directed and Choreographed by Tommy Rivera-Vega
Music Direction by Nik Kmiecik
Music Arrangements by Jermaine Hill



November 17 – December 30, 2017 at Greenhouse Theater Center

ChiIL Live Shows will be out for the press opening November 28th and we can't wait to catch another snarky adult holiday revival, and an antidote to the over saccharine sweetness of the season. Check back soon for our full review.

Other Theatre is pleased to continue its 4th season with the third revival of its holiday hit BARNEY THE ELF, a campy and irreverent musical comedy, written by Bryan Renaud with lyrics by Renaud and Emily Schmidt. After helming the 2016 production, Tommy Rivera-Vega returns to direct and choreograph, with music direction by Nik Kmiecik and arrangements by Jermaine Hill. BARNEY THE ELF will play November 17 – December 30, 2017 at Other Theatre’s resident home, The Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood.  

Tickets are available at www.theothertheatrecompany.com, in person at the Greenhouse Theater box office or by calling (773) 404-7336. Season subscriptions are currently available. 

BARNEY THE ELF will feature Roy Samra as Barney, Chicago drag sensation Dixie Lynn Cartwright returning as Zooey, Maggie Cain as Mrs. Claus, Jaron Bellar as Junior and Courtney Dane Mize as Cookie/Ensemble with Emilie Rose Danno, Colleen DeRosa, LiSean McElrath, Lance Spencer and Cody Talkie.

After Santa Claus retires, his wicked son begins a not-so-jolly reign as the new head of Christmas. The North Pole begins to crumble under his bigoted rule, and Barney the Elf is forced to leave his home for being different from the others. Soon he embarks on a fabulous journey of self-discovery (or is it elf-discovery?) that lands him in one of Chicago's hottest drag bars. But can he truly leave Christmas behind for a new life in the big city? BARNEY THE ELF brings pop-infused musical numbers galore and plenty of queer holiday cheer to Lincoln Park for the third year in a row! 

"Rather endearing [with] surprising emotional payoffs... Renaud and his collaborators may well have a fringe holiday repeat hit to call home for the holidays."  –The Chicago Tribune

The production team for BARNEY THE ELF includes Michael Johannsen (scenic design), Olivia Crary (costume design), Matthew Carney (lighting design), Ashley Pettit (sound design, production manager), Bobby Taves (asst. music director) and Meghan Erxleben (asst. lighting designer).

PRODUCTION DETAILS:

Location: The Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago
Dates: Preview: Friday, November 17 at 8 pm, Saturday, November 18 at 7 pm, Sunday, November 19 at 3 pm and Sunday, November 26 at 3 pm.
Press opening: Tuesday, November 28 at 8 pm
Regular run: Thursday, November 30 – Sunday, December 30, 2017
Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm; Sundays at 3 pm. Please note: there will not be a performance on Sunday, December 24 (Christmas Eve).

Tickets: Previews: $20 with code “PREVIEW.” Regular run: $25. Students $15 with code “STUDENT.” Industry $15 with code “INDUSTRY.” Tickets are available at www.theothertheatrecompany.com, in person at the Greenhouse Theater Center box office or by calling (773) 404-7336. Season subscription are currently available.

Creative Team Bios

Bryan Renaud (Book and Lyrics) is the Associate Artistic Director of Other Theatre, where he has premiered his plays Barney the Elf and Other Letters, the latter co-written with Carin Silkaitis. He is also a founding member of Random Acts, where he premiered Strangest Things! The Musical, All Our Twilight and Ladies Night of the Living Dead. As a performer, Bryan has worked with American Theater Co., Pride Films & Plays, Provision Theater, Music Theatre Co., GreatWorks, Prologue Theatre, Shakespeare at the Centre, Oak Park Festival Theatre, NWaC and Two Pigs Productions. www.BryanRenaud.com

Emily Schmidt (Lyrics) is a freelance playwright and grant writer based in Chicago. She earned her Masters in English from Loyola University. Other works include writing for Acid Reflux Comedy as well as the plays All Our Twilight, Awkward Family Gatherings and Strangest Things! The Musical. 

Tommy Rivera-Vega (Director) returns after directing the 2016 remount of Barney the Elf. He also directed the smash-hit world premiere Strangest Things! The Musical. Chicago Acting credits: Parachute Men, Between You Me and the Lampshade, A View From the Bridge, Momma’s Boyz – Teatro Vista; La Havana Madrid – Steppenwolf and Teatro Vista; Mother Road – Goodman Theatre; West Side Story – Drury Lane; In the Heights – Skylight Music Theatre; In the Heights, My Fair Lady – Paramount Theatre; Three Sisters – Steppenwolf Theatre; Kiss of the Spiderwoman – BoHo Theatre; Augusta & Noble – Adventure Stage; Pippin – Music Theatre Company; CATS – Theo Ubique; Puerto Rico credits: Spring Awakening, Footloose – Black Box Theatre. Episodic: Chicago PD (Ep 411). He is a proud Teatro Vista, Other Theatre Ensemble member and an Artistic Associate of Random Acts. Tommy is represented by Paonessa Talent Agency.

Nik Kmiecik (Music Director) is thrilled to be back with Barney the Elf in his new role of music director. He has music directed youth productions with SELF theatre and musical productions at his alma mater, North Central College in Naperville. Nik was an elf/ensemble member for Barney last year and has performed with numerous theatres in Chicago including Chicago Shakespeare, Chicago Children's Theatre, Filament Theatre, Haven Theatre, Silk Road Rising and Porchlight Theatre. Nik is an artistic associate of Other Theatre and is proudly represented by Stewart Talent.



About Other Theatre:

Other Theatre is dedicated to telling the stories of persons or groups who are othered by systems of oppression. Othering individuals or groups sustains power and privilege. Othering inherently implies hierarchy. Othering keeps the power in the hands of those who already have it.  Othering is an "us" vs. "them" mentality often centered around race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, identity, class, religion and ability. Other Theatre is committed to telling these stories in the hope that we can lessen the amount of discrimination and oppression in our world. 

We are a collective of artist-activists who believe in the power of theatre to enact social change. We believe in equality for all human beings and we will fight for it. We believe theatre is an excellent conversation starter, and we hope you will come talk with us after the show. We believe radical social change is possible and we will continue to stand up, fight, and resist until it happens.

Other Theatre Artistic Staff: 

Carin Silkaitis, Founder and Artistic Director; Maddie DePorter, Managing Director; Bryan Renaud, Associate Artistic Director; Ashley Pettit, Production Manager; Savanna Rae, Company Manager; Stephen Kossak, Casting Director; Becca Sheehan, Audience Development/Intern Coordinator; Tommy Varela, Social Media Coordinator; Kelly Howe, Resident Dramaturg; Tommy Rivera-Vega, Artistic Associate; Hannah Toriumi, Artistic Associate; Gay Glenn, Artistic Associate; Nik Kmiecik , Artitic Associate.

Other Theatre Board of Directors:

Michele Thornton, President; Kelly Soprych, Vice President; Jermaine Hill, Secretary; Stephen Silkaitis, Treasurer; Lisa Wolfe, Diane Sheehan and Michael Johannsen.

Other Theatre’s 4th Season is presented by generous grants from MacArthur Funds for Arts and Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, and The Saints.


Monday, November 13, 2017

OPENING: Annual Holiday Favorite Hell in a Handbag's RUDOLPH THE RED-HOSED REINDEER 2017 Returns To Mary's Attic

Chi IL Live Shows On Our Radar:

Back by Popular Demand!
Hell in a Handbag Productions Presents the Holiday Hit
RUDOLPH THE RED-HOSED REINDEER 2017
By David Cerda


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

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

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

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

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

*Denotes Hell in a Handbag Ensemble Members

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

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

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

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

About the Creative Team

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

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

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

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

For additional information, visit www.handbagproductions.org.

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