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Showing posts with label Hell in a Handbag Productions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hell in a Handbag Productions. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

World Premiere of FRANKENSTREISAND Via Hell in a Handbag Productions September 29 – October 31, 2022 at Redline VR

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar 

World Premiere!

Hell in a Handbag Productions Presents

FRANKENSTREISAND

By Ensemble Member Tyler Anthony Smith

Directed by Stephanie Shaw

September 29 – October 31, 2022 at Redline VR

The music... the mem’ries... the magic... the dog cloning! This Halloween season, Hell in a Handbag Productions kicks off its 2022-23 season with the world premiere of FRANKENSTREISAND by Tyler Anthony Smith* and directed by Stephanie Shaw, playing September 29 – October 31, 2022 at Redline VR, 4702 N. Ravenswood Ave. in Chicago. Tickets are currently available at handbagproductions.org or buytickets.at/hellinahandbagproductions/749389. I'll be out for the press opening October 1, so check back soon for my full review. 

Take a peek at what’s under Barbra’s underground mall – Babs’ secret laboratory! Witness Dr. Barbra Frankenstreisand’s (Tyler Anthony Smith*) first performance in 27 years, having gone into seclusion after her precious dog Samantha suddenly died. All these years later, The Greatest Star is back, and she’s determined to clone her perished pooch live on stage. She’s brought all of her tools, but because of those fingernails, she’s going to need a little help from her loyal assistant, The Hunchback, and a tired but vampy German stage manager. Don’t be surprised if Barry Gibb, Judy Garland, and other mega-stars stop by for a visit, along with twisted versions of all the signature Barbra songs you expect to hear in a show of this caliber! Don’t sit and putter! Be one of the luckiest people in the world and see... FRANKENSTREISAND!

The production also features ensemble members Elizabeth Lesinski*, Nicky Mendelsohn*, Ryan Oates*, and Robert Williams* with Dakota Hughes and Brian Shaw.

The production team includes Beth Laske-Miller (Costume Design), Keith Ryan* (Wig Design, Dresser), Sydney Genco* (Make-Up Design), Jabberwocky Marionettes (Puppet Design), Dakota Hughes (Music Director) and Jenna Raithel (Stage Manager).

*Denotes Handbag Ensemble Member

 


Please note: Handbag will continue to adhere to all city, state and federal COVID safety guidelines in place at the time of performance including, but not limited to, proof of full vaccination and masking at all performances.

 


PRODUCTION DETAILS:

Playwright: Ensemble member Tyler Anthony Smith*

Director: Stephanie Shaw

Cast (in alphabetical order): Dakota Hughes (The Hunchback), Elizabeth Lesinski* (Judy Garland, Lainie Kazan, James Brolin, Céline Dion) Nicky Mendelsohn* (Barry Gibb), Ryan Oates* (Dog Walker, Chuck, Stefani), Brian Shaw (Frau Fräulein) Tyler Anthony Smith* (Dr. Barbra Frankenstreisand) and Robert Williams* (O).

Location: Red Line VR, 4702 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago

Previews: Thursday, September 29 at 7:30 pm and Friday, September 30 at 9:15 pm

Opening/Press performance: Saturday, October 1 at 9:15 pm

Regular run: Thursday, October 6 – Monday, October 31, 2022

Curtain Times: Thursdays at 7:30 pm; Fridays and Saturdays at 9:15 pm. Please note: there will not be a performance on Saturday, October 8 at 9:15 pm; there will be an added performance on Monday, October 31 at 7:30 pm (Halloween).

Tickets: $21 previews, $25 advanced general admission, $30 at the door, $40 VIP/reserved seating with drink ticket. Group rates $21 for 10 or more. Tickets are currently available at handbagproductions.org or buytickets.at/hellinahandbagproductions/749389. Industry Night: Monday, October 10 at 7:30 pm

 

About the Artists

Tyler Anthony Smith (Playwright) is in show business. He/They is/are a proud Hell in a Handbag ensemble member. To quote Barbra: "I don't like talking about myself and I don't like talking about the work." Instagram: @judithnightlight

Stephanie Shaw (Director) has performed her own work for The Paper Machete, The Encyclopedia Show, Chicago Ideas Week, The Estrogen Fest, 2nd Story, The Poetry Center of Chicago, Fillet of Solo, The Neo-Futurarium, The New York Fringe Fest and the NYC Estrogenius Fest. An alumni member of the Neo-Futurists, she wrote and performed regularly for Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind from 1990-1995, and was a founding member of the Solo Performance Ensemble BoyGirlBoyGirl, with whom she wrote and performed for 10 years. She has directed a number of Solo Shows for Live Bait Theatre, The New York Fringe, and the simple pleasure of Tyler Anthony Smith and his audiences. She has directed for The Neo-Futurists, Oak Park Festival Theatre, and over a dozen plays and musicals for the theatre department of Columbia College Chicago, where she is a Professor of Instruction. Once upon a time, she was a theatre critic for The Chicago Reader. 


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.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

World Premiere! Hell in a Handbag's A FINE FEATHERED MURDER: A MISS MARBLED MYSTERY - Extended Through August 13th, 2022 at The Chopin Theatre

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

World Premiere!

A FINE FEATHERED MURDER: 

A MISS MARBLED MYSTERY


by David Cerda

Directed by Cheryl Snodgrass

Now extended through August 13th, 2022 at The Chopin Theatre

Hell in a Handbag Productions is pleased to conclude its 20th anniversary season with the world premiere of A Fine Feathered Murder: A Miss Marbled Mystery, by Artistic Director David Cerda*, directed by Cheryl Snodgrass. This wild whodunit inspired by everyone’s favorite female British mystery writer will play through August 13th, 2022 at The Chopin Upstairs Theatre, 1543 W. Division St. in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. Tickets are currently available handbagproductions.org. I'll be out to review on June 23rd, so check back like we vote in Chi, IL... early and often.

The production features ensemble members David Cerda*, Sydney Genco*, Caitlin Jackson*, Ed Jones*, Nicky Mendelsohn*, Michael Rashid*, Tyler Anthony Smith* and Danne W. Taylor* with Barbara Figgins, Michael Hampton, Max McKune, Shane Roberie, Elizabeth Rude, Coco Sho-Nell and Maria Stephens.

 

PHOTO CREDIT: The cast of Hell in a Handbag Productions’ world premiere of A Fine Feathered Murder: A Miss Marbled Mystery includes (top, l to r) David Cerda, Barbara Figgins, Sydney Genco, Michael Hampton and Caitlin Jackson (middle, l to r) Ed Jones, Max McKune, Nicky Mendelsohn, Michael Rashid and Shane Roberie (bottom, l to r) Elizabeth Rude, Coco Sho-Nell, Tyler Anthony Smith, Maria Stephens and Danne W. Taylor.

Handbag goes posh with Ed Jones* as Miss Jane Marbled, an unassuming spinster with a knack for solving murders. It’s a good thing because people drop dead wherever she goes. Join Miss Marbled as she visits her dear friend, the wickedly and ridiculously chic, Lady Violetta Fowler (David Cerda*) for the annual Fine Feathered Ball at the Fowler Estate, England’s largest poultry farm. All is well until murder shows up, unannounced, and, in the most brutal fashion. Poor unflusterable Miss Marbled is left to contend with a rogues’ gallery of suspects sure to delight audiences in the tastefully intriguing manner they’ve come to expect from Hell in a Handbag Productions.

The production team to date includes Pamela L. Parker* (Scenic Designer), Bill Morey and Beth Laske-Miller (Costume Designers), Liz Cooper (Lighting Designer), Danny Rockett (Sound Designer/Music), Hannah Dains (Props Designer), Keith Ryan* (Wig Designer), Sydney Genco* (Make-up Designer), Jabberwocky Marionettes (Puppetry), Sammi Grant (Dialect Coach), Abby Teel (Production Manager), Spencer Douglas Clark (Assistant Director, Intimacy, Choreographer) and Drew Donnelly* (Stage Manager).

Please note: Handbag will continue to adhere to all city, state and federal COVID safety guidelines in place at the time of performance including, but not limited to, proof of full vaccination and masking at all performances.

*Denotes Handbag Ensemble Member

 

PRODUCTION DETAILS:

Cast (in alphabetical order): David Cerda* (Lady Violetta Fowler), Barbara Figgins (Mrs. Hawk), Sydney Genco* (Gerta Rabe), Michael Hampton (Nigel Drake), Caitlin Jackson* (Vivian Birdsong), Ed Jones* (Miss Jane Marbled), Max McKune (Constable Hatcher), Nicky Mendelsohn* (Chick), Michael Rashid* (Garson), Shane Roberie (Lord Reginald Fowler, Inspector Byrd), Elizabeth Rude (Millicent Lark), Coco Sho-Nell (Treasure Abundance), Tyler Anthony Smith* (Charles Fowler), Maria Stephens (Prudence Peck) and Danne W. Taylor* (The Dowager Countess Edith Fowler).

Understudies: Kelly Bolton, Chad Gearig-Howe, Kristen Secrist, Ben Stacy and Robert Williams*.

Location: The Chopin Upstairs Theatre, 1543 W. Division St., Chicago

Regular run: Though Sunday, July 31. 2022

Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 3 pm

Tickets: $24 advanced general admission, $42 at the door, $62 VIP/reserved seating with drink ticket. Group rates $34 for 10 or more. 

Tickets are currently available at handbagproductions.org.

 

About the Artists     

David Cerda (Playwright) is a founding member and Artistic Director of Hell in a Handbag Productions, now celebrating its 20th year anniversary. As resident playwright, he has written many Handbag productions as well as acted in them. His play, The Drag Seed was recently produced at LaMaMa Experimental Theater and his Golden Girls Lost Episodes parody shows have been produced around the country and was featured in Golden Con: Thank you for being a Fan, the world’s first fan convention dedicated to all things Golden Girls at Chicago’s Navy Pier. As a Latinx queer individual, he is a proud inductee into the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame and recipient of a Jeff Award for lifetime achievement for his 25 years (and counting) of work and service to the community. He lives in Chicago with his partner, Christopher.

Cheryl Snodgrass (Director) has most recently directed the remount of The Drag Seed and its move to LaMama in NYC. She first worked with HIAH as an actor, playing Bigger Lorraine in Caged Dames, but soon transitioned to directing. She has since directed Die! Mommie, Die!, Haywire, Rip Nelson’s Halloween Spooktacluar, SCARRIE The Musical,  L’imitation of Life and The Birds.  Cheryl has also assisted David in developing several scripts. Outside of HIAH, Cheryl has worked with playwright Jeff Goode for 35 years as a director, actor and producer. She directed the premiere productions of Poona the F*ckdog and Other Plays for Children (Trap Door), The Emancipation of Alabaster McGill (Studio Roanoke) and The Eight Reindeer Monologues (Brave Hearts). In the last five years, she’s directed three shows for The Foundlings – To the New Girl, Hoist, and The Eight. She directed two shows for Glass Glass Apple – Shadows of Birds and Lighthouses in the Desert and, finally, Who’s Holiday, for Penobscott Theatre in Bangor, ME.

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.


Sunday, February 27, 2022

THE DRAG SEED Via Hell in a Handbag Productions to Play February 24 – March 20, 2022 at The Chopin Theatre

 ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar 

Hell in a Handbag Productions Presents

THE DRAG SEED

By Artistic Director David Cerda

Directed by Cheryl Snodgrass

February 24 – March 20, 2022 at The Chopin Theatre

 


Plus a Limited Engagement at New York’s

LaMama Experimental Theatre Club!

 

Here at ChiIL Live Shows we adored this camp classic the last time around, and can't wait to see the revival run. I'll be out to catch this one March 3rd, so check back soon for my full review. Hell in a Handbag Productions is pleased to continue its 20th anniversary season with a revival of its popular comedy The Drag Seed, an unauthorized parody of the 1956 psychological horror-thriller film The Bad Seed. Written by Artistic Director David Cerda* and directed by Cheryl Snodgrass, The Drag Seed will play February 24 – March 20, 2022 at The Chopin Downstairs Theatre, 1543 W. Division St. in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. Tickets are currently available at handbagproductions.org and thedragseed.eventbrite.com. 



Please note: Handbag will require proof of full vaccination and masking at all performances. The entire cast and crew is fully vaccinated and tested regularly.

Handbag is also pleased to announce that following its Chicago run, The Drag Seed will play a limited engagement March 31 – April 10, 2022 at the legendary La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club in New York City, featuring the full Chicago cast.

The revival features ensemble members David Cerda*, Sydney Genco*, Ed Jones*, Elizabeth Lesinski*, Tyler Anthony Smith* and Danne W. Taylor* with Kelly Anchors and Patrick O’Keefe. Understudies: Nicky Mendelsohn*, Elizabeth Rude and Jamie Smith.

Carson (Patrick O’Keefe) is a perfect little boy who likes to dress like the perfect little girl and they’re deadly serious about crowns and pronouns. Carson’s mother, Connie (Ed Jones), loves and accepts Carson but wishes Carson wasn’t so competitive. Carson always gets what they want, and they really want to win the drag pageant at their very progressive school – The Josephine Baker Rainbow Academy for Gifted Students. When Carson loses to Summer Breeze, they vow to get that crown – one way or another…

The production team includes Lauren Nichols (scenic design), Gregory Graham (costume design), Liz Cooper (lighting design), DJ Douglass (sound design), Pamela Parker* (props design), Keith Ryan* (wig design), Sydney Genco* (make-up design), R & D Fight Choreography (fight choreography), Abby Teel (production manager) and Drew Donnelly* (stage manager).

*Denotes Handbag Ensemble Member

Dates: Previews: Thursday, February 24 at 7:30 pm, Friday, February 25 at 7:30 pm and Saturday, February 26 at 7:30

Opening/Press performance: Sunday, February 27 at 7 pm

Regular run: Saturday, February 25 – Sunday, March 20, 2022

Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 4 pm

Industry Night: Monday, March 14 at 7:30 pm

Tickets: $27 advanced general admission, $32 at the door, $50 VIP/reserved seating with drink ticket. Group rates $25 for 10 or more. Tickets are currently available at  handbagproductions.org and thedragseed.eventbrite.com.

 

About the Artists     

David Cerda (Playwright) is a founding member and Artistic Director of Hell in a Handbag Productions, now celebrating its 20th year anniversary. As resident playwright, he has written many Handbag productions as well as acted in them. His Golden Girls Lost Episodes parody shows have been produced around the country and will be featured in Golden Con in Chicago, the world’s first fan convention dedicated to all things Golden Girls at Navy Pier. As a Latinx queer individual, he is a proud inductee into the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame and recipient of a Jeff Award for lifetime achievement for his 25 years (and counting) of work and service to the community. He lives in Chicago with his partner, Christopher.

Cheryl Snodgrass (Director) works regularly with Hell in a Handbag. Productions include Die, Mommie! Die!, Scarrie: The Musical, L’Imitation of Life and The Birds. She has performed with Handbag in Caged Dames and The Birds, and has assisted David Cerda in developing a number of scripts. Cheryl has worked with playwright Jeff Goode directing the premiere productions of Poona the F*ckdog and Other Plays for Children, The Emancipation of Alabaster McGill and The Eight: Reindeer Monologues among others. She directed To the New Girl and Hoist for Foundlings, as well as Shadows of Birds and Lighthouses in the Desert with Glass Apple. Cheryl most recently returned from Bangor, ME after directing Who’s Holiday. Next up is the world premiere of Handbag’s A Fine Feathered Murder: A Miss Marbled Mystery. 

 

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, October 4, 2021

REVIEW: THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes, Vol. 5 – SEX! Via Hell in a Handbag Productions Through October 23, 2021

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar: 

Hell in a Handbag Productions

Opens Its 20th Anniversary Season with

THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes, Vol. 5 – SEX!

By Artistic Director David Cerda

Directed by Madison Smith

(left to right) Grant Drager, David Cerda and Lori Lee. 

Now Playing Through October 23, 2021 at the Leather Archives & Museum

Running Time: 90min including intermission

 *COVID POLICY: Handbag will require proof of vaccination and masking at all performances. The entire cast and crew is vaccinated.

(left to right) Ryan Oates, Ed Jones, Danne W. Taylor, David Cerda and Grant Drager in Hell in a Handbag Productions’ The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes, Vol. 5 – SEX! All photos by Rick Aguilar Studios

 Guest Review by 

Catherine Hellmann

A “Thank you for being a friend!” sing-along opens this fun, much-anticipated return to live theater from Hell in a Handbag Productions. And it is like welcoming back an old friend to see our favorites on stage again after a looooong 18 months. The HIAH team did produce a couple streaming shows during the pandemic, but their outrageousness is so much better enjoyed in person. The multi-talented David Cerda and his high-spirited troops have been entertaining us for twenty years, as this is their anniversary season! Two decades of laughter and merriment!   

This latest parody of “Golden Girls” takes place in a beautiful, intimate theater of 160 seats set in the Leather Archives & Museum in Rogers Park where paintings of hunky men with massive packages in their trousers (some contained, some blatantly revealed) look down on us like sexy angels. Tickets to the show include a 30-day membership to the LA&M so you can return another day to gawk at the displays of leather and kinky props. I want to go back! 

In episode one, “The Pleasure Dome,” Rose and her boyfriend Miles need more than a game of “Hungry, Hungry Hippos” to get their game on. So Miles books them a couple’s trip to Miami’s new spicy spot, The Pleasure Dome. Crashing the party are Blanche and Dorothy who accompany them for “moral support.” Sophia has been working some wild hours to make some extra cash…(her costume here is just the funniest gag ever), and the girls discover Sophia is not out delivering for DoorDash. 

In the next act, “Blanche Makes a Deal,” Sophia nearly kicks the bucket in an accident that leaves Blanche so guilt-ridden that she takes a Vow of Chastity! She holds out longer than we suspect she will... but at one point, Blanche describes herself as “uncomfortably horny,” which was my friend’s favorite line in the show. :-) As Blanche finally succumbs to her desires, Sophia refers to Blanche’s moves on the repairman as “the courtship ritual of the ‘Geriatric Skank.’” (my favorite line in the show!)

The script is penned by David Cerda, who plays Dorothy. There are so many wonderful lines, like referring to the tv show from our childhood “Wild Kingdom” and quipping,”Nobody under fifty will understand that reference.” When Blanche asks what she should do when she can’t fall asleep, she’s advised to “go home,” which is followed by a joke that the dialogue was stolen from an original episode. 

In between acts, Cast Member Lori Lee runs a Golden Girls Trivia contest with fun prizes like GG napkins, buttons, and “sensual arousal gel.” (My best friend from college won a “Golden Girls” Trivia Contest in Boston years ago---the prize was tickets to see a Judy Garland impersonator. He described it as “the gayest night of my life.”)  

We loved the jello molds along the walls of the set. There is great eye candy with a hot cop moving the set pieces very deliberately in a provocative manner as if he works at the Pleasure Dome.  

HIAH regulars Cerda and the always-hilarious Ed Jones both received cheers and applause upon their entrances. So wonderful to see them in person again! Also of note is Grant Drager as Blanche. We saw him after the show and praised his performance, and he was so gracious and lovely. We asked about a particular line, and he immediately recited the words with his Southern-drawl Blanche Voice. We were charmed, indeed. 

Treat yourself, be a friend, and support a wonderful Chicago institution by seeing “Golden Girls.” You’ll be glad you did! “Your heart is true, you’re a pal and a confidant.” 

The Golden Girls runs through October 23 at 6418 N. Greenview Ave. 

Be aware that Handbag is requiring proof of vaccination at the door and masking at all performances. The entire cast and crew is vaccinated. 

Cath Hellmann is a teacher, theater lover, and a true friend who once washed her bestie’s bloody sheets after a homebirth. 


(left to right) Max McKune, Grant Drager and Danne W. Taylor 


(left to right) Grant Drager, David Cerda, Ed Jones and Ryan Oates

Hell in a Handbag Productions is pleased to welcome back audiences this fall with the return of Chicago’s favorite drag seniors in its long-running parody The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes, Vol. 5 – SEX!, written by Artistic Director David Cerda* and directed by Madison Smith. Dorothy, Rose, Blanche, Sophia and their whacky friends and relatives explore their naughty side now playing through October 23, 2021 at the Leather Archives & Museum’s 160-seat auditorium at 6418 N. Greenview Ave. in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood (must be 18+ for entry). Single tickets are currently available at goldengirls5sex.eventbrite.com (includes 30-day membership to Leather Archives & Museum). Season subscriptions are on sale at www.handbagproductions.org

The Golden Girls stars original cast members David Cerda*, Grant Drager*, Ed Jones* and Ryan Oates as the Geriatric Fab Four, joined by Lori Lee*, Max McKune, Michael Rashid* and Danne W. Taylor*. 

 In episode one, “The Pleasure Dome,” Rose and Miles’ relationship needs spicing up and what better way to do that than a trip to the latest Miami hotspot, The Pleasure Dome! Of course, Blanche and Dorothy accompany her to provide “emotional support.” Meanwhile, Sophia has a mysterious part-time job that keeps her out all hours of the night.

 In episode two, “Blanche Makes a Deal,” following a household accident that nearly kills Sophia, Blanche’s guilt drives her to do the unthinkable: take a vow of celibacy! Can Blanche keep her promise to God? Will the truth about what actually happened come out? Will the Smurfs get Rose, or can she outwit them? See for yourself in Chicago’s irreverent long-running parody show.

The production team includes Pamela L. Parker* (scenic design, production manager), Gregory Graham (costume design), Liz Cooper (lighting design), DJ Douglass (sound design), Andrew Milliken (incidental music), Mealah Heidenreich* (props design), Rick Gilbert & Victor Bayona (violence coordinators), Keith Ryan* (wig design), Jack Mink (technical director) and Drew Donnelly* (stage manager).

*Denotes Handbag Ensemble Member

(left to right) Michael Rashid and Ed Jones

(left to right) Ryan Oates and Grant Drager 

PRODUCTION DETAILS:

Cast (in alphabetical order): David Cerda* (Dorothy), Grant Drager* (Blanche), Ed Jones* (Dorothy) Lori Lee* (Host, Emcee), Max McKune (Jeff, Chip), Ryan Oates (Sophia), Michael Rashid* (Miles) and Danne W. Taylor* (Nancy Drew). Understudies: Miles Brindley, Spenser Douglas Clark, Jamie Smith and Nick Strauss.

Location: Leather Archives & Museum, 6418 N. Greenview Ave., Chicago (must be 18+ for entry)

Regular run: Friday, September 24 – October 23, 2021

Curtain Times: Fridays & Saturday at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 3 pm. Please note: there will be an added performances on Thursday, October 21 at 7:30 pm

Tickets: $27 general admission. $35– $45 VIP/reserved seating. Group rates $23 for 10 or more. Tickets are currently available at goldengirls5sex.eventbrite.com (includes 30-day membership to Leather Archives & Museum). Must be 18+ with proof of vaccination.

 

(left to right) Danne W. Taylor, Ed Jones, Ryan Oates, David Cerda and Grant Drager

About the Artists     

David Cerda (Playwright) is a founding member and Artistic Director of Hell in a Handbag Productions. As resident playwright he has written many a Handbag production as well as acted in them. As a Latinx queer individual, he is a proud inductee in the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame and recipient of a Jeff Award for lifetime achievement for his 25 years (and counting) of work and service to the community. He lives in Chicago with his partner, Christopher.

Madison Smith (Director) is a director and producer who hails from Nebraska. She is also the Artistic Director of the scrappy new-works focused company Death & Pretzels. Besides directing for D&P, Madison has had the pleasure of working with companies such as The House Theatre, RedTwist, Summer Place, Team StarKid and Three Cat Productions, among others, and she’s delighted to be working with Hell in a Handbag once again. Thank you for being a friend!

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.

(left to right) Ed Jones, David Cerda, Grant Drager and Ryan Oates in Hell in a Handbag Productions’ The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes, Vol. 5 – SEX! Photo by Rick Aguilar Studios.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

HELP OUT: “Hams4Hams” Holiday Fundraiser Via Hell in a Handbag Productions

Hell in a Handbag Productions Launches
Annual 
“Hams4Hams” Holiday Fundraiser


Hell in a Handbag Productions is pleased to bring back its annual Hams4Hams fundraiser during the company’s two holiday productions. Since launching the initiative in 2012, Handbag has raised over $40,000 for Groceryland, which provides food and nutritional counseling for those impacted by HIV and AIDS in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood and on the North Side. Groceryland was started by the longtime Chicago LGBTQ+ advocate and activist Lori Cannon, who started feeding people during the AIDS crisis in the 1980s through Open Hand/Chicago.

Comments Handbag Artistic Director David Cerda, “We want to continue to support the community that has given us so much over the years. Due to City budget cuts, Lori Cannon and Groceryland need our help more than ever. Our audience have been extremely generous over the past seven years, so we hope they’ll join us again this year to help feed our neighbors.”

Hell in a Handbag will be collecting for Groceryland during its two holiday shows: THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Holiday Edition, Vol. 2 (November 27 - December 28, 2019) and BETTE: XMAS AT THE CONTINENTAL BATHS (December 6 – 31, 2019) at Mary’s Attic, 5400 N. Clark St. in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. For tickets and information, visit handbagproductions.org. All donations collected will go directly to Groceryland.

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, October 11, 2019

HELP OUT: Hell in a Handbag Productions' Annual Benefit THE RIP NELSON CELEBRITY ROAST Returns Saturday, November 9, 2019


Hell in a Handbag Productions’ Annual Benefit
THE RIP NELSON CELEBRITY ROAST
Saturday, November 9, 2019 
at Ebenezer Lutheran Church


Hell in a Handbag Productions is pleased to present its annual benefit, THE RIP NELSON CELEBRITY ROAST on Saturday, November 9, 2019 from 6 – 11 pm at Ebenezer Lutheran Church, 1650 W. Foster Ave. in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. Tickets ($75 in advance) are currently available at www.handbagproductions.org (via Brown Paper Tickets) or by calling (800) 838-3006.

The stars – dead and alive – are coming out in droves to roast everyone’s favorite Hollywood has-been, Rip Nelson (Ed Jones*), described as a mash-up of Paul Lynde, Charles Nelson Reilly and Rip Taylor. The celebrity line-up includes Lucille Ball (David Cerda*), Bette Midler (Caitlin Jackson*), Liza Minnelli (Alexa Castelvecchi), Doug Henning (David Lipschutz*) and Dame Maggie Smith herself (Danne Taylor*). The star-studded evening also includes a full course of your favorite TV dinner-style comfort foods by Chef’s Joey Chiapetta and Adam Ordish with hearty helpings of Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes and other favorites, desserts from Bubbie’s kitchen (Nancy Lipschutz) and refreshments, plus games, raffles, silent auctions and a few surprises.

All proceeds benefit Hell in a Handbag Productions, Chicago’s leading camp and parody theater company.

EVENT DETAILS:

Name: THE RIP NELSON CELEBRITY ROAST

Date: Saturday, November 9, 2019

Time: Doors open at 6 pm, dinner is served from 6:30 – 8 pm; celebrity roast at 8:15 pm.

Location: Ebenezer Lutheran Church, 1650 W. Foster Ave., Chicago
Tickets: $75 in advance; $85 at the door. Includes food, two drink tickets and the roast. Industry tickets are now available here- https://handbagbenefit2019.bpt.me/.

*Denotes Handbag Ensemble Members

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.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

OPENING: Hell in a Handbag's THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes, Vol. 3 is Back at Mary's Attic

Hell in a Handbag Productions Presents
THE GOLDEN GIRLS: 
The Lost Episodes, Vol. 3
By Artistic Director David Cerda
Directed by Miles Brindley

(left to right) Adrian Hadlock, Ed Jones, David Cerda and Grant Drager in a publicity image for Hell in a Handbag Productions’ parody THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes, Vol. 3. 
Photo by Rick Aguilar Studios.


April 25 – August 31, 2019 at Mary’s Attic

Don't miss this! Chicago’s self described geriatric “Fab Four” return in 
THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes – Vol. 3! 

I'll be ChiILin' with these comedic queens, for the Opening/Press performance: Saturday, April 27 at 7:30 pm, so check back soon for my full review. I adore Hell in a Handbag's fabulous parody tributes to the adventures of Dorothy, Rose, Blanche, and Sophia and I catch every show I can. 

This little gem came across my facebook feed last week and cracked me up, with it's absolute truthiness. 


Wise words for all of us regardless of age, gender, or marital status... I want in, and I'm starting that mission with a spring dose of inspiration via GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes!

Join Dorothy, Rose, Blanche, Sophia and their whacky friends and relatives for all new adventures – including the first-ever musical episode. Written by Artistic Director David Cerda and directed by Miles Brindley, the latest installment of Handbag’s hit sitcom parody will play April 25 – August 31, 2019 at Mary’s Attic, 5400 N. Clark St. in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. Tickets are currently available at www.handbagproductions.org or by calling (or by calling (800) 838-3006. The press opening is Saturday, April 27 at 7:30 pm.

THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes – Vol. 3 will feature Adrian Hadlock* as Sophia, Ed Jones* as Rose, David Cerda* as Dorothy and Grant Drager* as Blanche with Chazie Bly*, Lori Lee*, Michael Rashid, Danne Taylor and Robert Williams as various silly characters.

Episode One: Caged Miami Heat – Find out what happens when the girls are arrested and thrown in jail for the murder of their long-lost cook, Coco (Michael Rashid).

Episode 2: Singing in the Pain – Can Rose (Ed Jones) overcome her crippling stage fright and perform a duet with her idol, Lyle Waggoner for the big Miami’s Ladies’ Auxiliary fundraiser? This is the first Golden Girls musical episode, so be prepared for songs like, ‘Back in St. Olaf’, ‘You’re a Tramp, Blanche’, and many more.

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 Christopher Rhoton (scenic design), Gregory Graham (costume design), Danny Rockett (sound design), Keith Ryan* (wigs design), Pam Berman (props design) and Noah Watkins (technical director).

*Denotes Handbag ensemble member.


Cast (in alphabetical order): Chazie Bly* (Baby/Ensemble), David Cerda* (Dorothy), Grant Drager* (Blanche), Adrian Hadlock* (Sophia), Ed Jones* (Rose), Lori Lee* (Host/Ensemble), Michael Rashid (Coco/Ensemble), Danne Taylor (Lottie) and Robert Williams (Miss Jenkins/Ensemble)

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

Dates: Previews: Thursday, April 25 at 7:30 pm and Friday, April 26 at 7:30 pm

Regular run: Thursday, May 2 – Sunday, August 31, 2019

Curtain Times: Thursdays at 7:30 pm (through May 30); Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm (through June 29, plus Friday, August 30 & Saturday August 31); Sundays at 5 pm (June 16, plus June 30 – August 25). Please note: there will be added performances on Sunday, May 26 at 5:30 pm, there will not be a performance on Sunday, July 7 or Sunday, August 4.

Tickets: Previews: $19. Regular run $27 in advance, $31 at the door. Group rates $20 for 10 or more. Tickets are currently available at www.handbagproductions.org or by calling (or by calling (800) 838-3006.

About the Artists
David Cerda (Playwright) 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, The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes (Volumes 1 & 2), The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes: The Holiday Edition, The Halloween Edition, 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.

Miles Brindley (Director) is a director, actor and stage manager originally from South Dakota. After graduating from the University of South Dakota with a BFA in Acting, Miles has worked as a stage manager for Long Beach Opera, a company actor for The Black Hills Playhouse, a music theatre director for the International Music Camp, a drama instructor for both Campbell County High School and Freeman Academy, as well as various rolls with several community theaters. Miles' most recent directing projects include Steel Magnolias, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Beauty and the Beast Jr. and The Music Man.





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.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

OPENING: Hell in a Handbag Productions Announces Casting for POSEIDON! An Upside Down Musical

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar
POSEIDON! An Upside Down Musical




Book & Lyrics by David Cerda
Music by David Cerda & Scott Lamberty
Directed by Derek Van Barham
Music Direction by Andrew Milliken
Choreography by Breon Arzell

March 15 – April 28, 2019 at The Edge Theater


Hell in a Handbag Productions is pleased to announce casting for its revival of the musical that started it all: POSEIDON! An Upside Down Musical, a musical parody and loving homage to the classic 1972 film, The Poseidon Adventure, the grandmother of all disaster films. I'll be out for the press opening March 22nd, so check back soon for my full review.



PHOTO CREDIT: The cast of Hell in a Handbag Productions’ revival of POSEIDON! An Upside Down Musical includes (top, l to r) Ryan Armstrong, Katherine Bellantone, Brittney Brown, Tommy Bullington, Sydney Genco and Caitlin Jackson (center, l to r), Josh Kemper, Elizabeth Lesinski, David Lipschutz, Stevie Love, Nicky Mendelson, Michael S. Miller and Courtney Dane Mize (bottom, l to r), Elissa Newcorn, Marc Prince, Shane Roberie, Scott Sawa, Patrick Stengle and Maiko Terazawa.


POSEIDON! will feature Handbag ensemble members Sydney Genco* (Ensemble), Caitlin Jackson* (Toni/Doctor), Elizabeth Lesinski* (Linda Rogo), David Lipschutz* (Reverend Scott), Stevie Love* (Nonnie Parry) and Michael S. Miller* (Manny Rosen) with Ryan Armstrong (Robin Shelby), Katherine Bellantone (Susan Shelby), Brittney Brown (Ensemble), Tommy Bullington (Belle Rosen), Josh Kemper (Ensemble), Nicky Mendelson (Acres), Courtney Dane Mize (Ensemble), Elissa Newcorn (Lara, Nurse), Marc Prince (Captain Harrison, Ensemble), Shane Roberie (Mike Rogo), Scott Sawa (James Martin), Patrick Stengle (Ensemble) and Maiko Terazawa (Ensemble).

Handbag’s very first show will return March 15 – April 28, 2019 at a venue befitting of an ocean liner: The Edge Theater, 5451 N. Broadway in Chicago. POSEIDON features a book and lyrics by Handbag Artistic Director David Cerda*, music by David Cerda* with Scott Lamberty, direction by Derek Van Barham, music direction by Andrew Milliken, and choreography by Breon Arzell. Tickets are currently available at brownpapertickets.com or by calling (800) 838-3006. 

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

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

The production team includes: Christopher Rhoton (scenic design), Beth Laske Miller (costume design), Cat Wilson* (lighting design), Danny Rockett (sound design), Adrian Hadlock* (props design), Sydney Genco* (make-up design), Keith Ryan (wig design), Madison Smith (assistant director) and Andrew Donnelly (stage manager).

*Denotes Handbag ensemble member.


Location: The Edge Theater, 5451 N. Broadway, Chicago

Dates: Previews: Friday, March 15 at 7:30 pm, Saturday, March 16 at 7:30 pm, Sunday, March 17 at 3 pm and Thursday, March 21 at 7:30 pm

Opening/Press performance: Friday, March 22 at 7:30 pm

Regular run: Saturday, March 23 – Sunday, April 28, 2019

Curtain Times: Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 3 pm.

Industry Night: Monday, April 22 at 7:30 pm

Tickets: Previews $22. Regular run $38 in advance, $45 at the door. Group rates $32 for 10 or more. $32 senior and student rates. Tickets are currently available at brownpapertickets.com or by calling (800) 838-3006.

 

About the Artists     
David Cerda (Book, Lyrics, Music) is the Artistic Director and co-founder of Hell in a Handbag Productions. Cerda has written or collaborated on Caged Dames, TROGG- A Rock and Roll Musical, Sexy Baby, Lady X: The Musical, Christmas Dearest, Rudolph the Red-Hosed Reindeer, SCARRIE – The Musical, Snowgirls – 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.

Scott Lamberty (Music) has collaborated with David Cerda on several Handbag musicals including Rudolph the Red-Hosed Reindeer, 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, Jesus Camp – The Musical and Snowgirls- The Musical, among many others.

Derek Van Barham (Director) is the Producing Artistic Director of Kokandy Productions and a member of the Red Tape Theatre ensemble. He previously served as Associate Artistic Director of Pride Films & Plays. For PFP, he directed Perfect Arrangement, Angry Fags (Steppenwolf Garage), Songs from an Unmade Bed (Jeff nomination) and (co-directing) PRISCILLA, Queen of the Desert. 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 and BITE (PFP), all Black Button Eyes productions, and Salonathon. He was named one of Windy City Times 30 Under 30, recognizing Chicago's LGBTQ+ community.   

Andrew Milliken (Music Director) has been a music director/pianist in the Chicago area since 2016. Poseidon will be his second production with Hell in a Handbag, following 2017's Bewildered. Other favorite credits include Pippin (Mercury Theater), Avenue Q (Metropolis Theater), Vinegar Tom (Northwestern University) and Carousel (Timber Lake Playhouse). 

Breon Arzell (Choreographer) is most commonly known as an actor, however his breakout, and award-winning, premiere as a Chicago choreographer came with Oracle Productions’ The Hairy Ape. This Detroit native received his first training while at Miami University. In Chicago, he has worked as a dancer, choreographer and instructor at Joel Hall Dancers & Center, Porchlight M.T., Vagabond School and The Goodman Theatre (for their Musical Theater Program). Developing his own style of dance (hip-hop, jazz, modern, lyrical, contemporary and body percussion) and storytelling, movement credits include: The Total Bent (Haven Theatre), Rightlynd, The House That Will Not Stand (Victory Gardens Theater); Night Runner, Wig Out (DePaul University); Julius  Caesar (Writers Theatre), Marie Christine (BoHo Theatre), The Wiz  (Kokandy Productions), Scottsboro Boys (Porchlight Music Theatre), and more. His talents have allowed him to work all across the U.S., Canada, England, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Singapore and Malaysia.

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.

SAVE THE DATES: Hell in a Handbag Productions Announces 2019 Season

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar:
Season Subscriptions Now On-Sale!


 GoldenGirls (left to right) Ed Jones, David Cerda, Adrian Hadlock and Grant Drager in a publicity image for Hell in a Handbag Productions’ parody THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes. Photo by Rick Aguilar Studios.

Save the dates for 7 deadly funny drag shows: 
Hell in a Handbag Productions' 2019 Season


POSEIDON! An Upside Down Musical
An Unauthorized Musical Parody
Book & Lyrics by Artistic Director David Cerda
Music by David Cerda and Scott Lamberty
Directed by Derek Van Barham
Music Direction by Andrew Milliken
Choreography by Breon Arzell

THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes, Vol. 3
By Artistic Director David Cerda

THE DRAG SEED
Book & Lyrics by Artistic Director David Cerda
Music by David Cerda and Scott Lamberty
Directed by Cheryl Snodgrass

THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes
Bea Afraid Too – The Halloween Edition
By Artistic Director David Cerda

THE FACTS OF LIFE: The Lost Episodes
Satan’s School for Girls
By Artistic Director David Cerda

BETTE: XMAS AT THE CONTINENTAL BATHS
A Musical Tribute Starring Caitlin Jackson
Adapted by Artistic Director David Cerda & Caitlin Jackson
Music Direction by Tommy Ross

THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes
The Holiday Edition, Vol. 2
By Artistic Director David Cerda

Hell in a Handbag Productions is pleased to announce its 2019 Season, launching this winter with the show that started it all: POSEIDON! An Upside Down Musical, an unauthorized musical parody of the classic granddaddy of all disaster films, 1972’s The Poseidon Adventure. The much-anticipated revival of Handbag’s very first show features a book, music and lyrics by Artistic Director David Cerda* with Scott Lamberty, direction by Derek Van Barham, music direction by Andrew Milliken, and choreography by Breon Arzell. The cast includes ensemble members Sydney Genco*, Caitlin Jackson*, Elizabeth Lesinski*, David Lipschutz*, Stevie Love* and a boatload of others. POSEIDON will play at a venue befitting of an ocean liner: The Edge Theater, 5451 N. Broadway in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood.

Following closely on the heels of the SS Poseidon, Chicago’s favorite drag seniors return in THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes – Vol. 3. Dorothy, Rose, Blanche, Sophia and their whacky friends and relatives are back for all new adventures – including the first-ever musical episode. Written by Artistic Director David Cerda*, THE GOLDEN GIRLS stars original cast members Chazie Bly*, David Cerda*, Grant Drager*, Adrian Hadlock* and Ed Jones*. The Girls return to Mary’s Attic, 5400 N. Clark St. in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood.

Summer 2019 brings another world premiere Handbag musical! Inspired by our changing times, THE DRAG SEED is an unauthorized musical parody of the 1956 psychological horror-thriller film The Bad Seed. Ensemble member Kristopher Bottrall stars as little Carson Langus, the perfect little boy who likes to dress like the perfect little girl. Featuring book, music and lyrics by Artistic Director David Cerda* with Scott Lamberty and direction by Cheryl Snodgrass (The Birds, The Rip Nelson Halloween Spooktacular), THE DRAG SEED will also play at Mary’s Attic.

Handbag conjures up double the scares for the Halloween season! The geriatric “Fab Four” return with scares and hilarity in THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes – Bea Afraid Too, written by Artistic Director David Cerda*. This Halloween tradition (almost) will play at Mary’s Attic. Meanwhile, across town at Stage 773 (1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago), another beloved TV sitcom is resurrected Handbag style: THE FACTS OF LIFE: The Lost Episodes – Satan’s School for Girls. Ensemble member Ed Jones* stars as Mrs. Edna Garrett, the house mother with a deep dark secret, in this new parody by Artistic Director David Cerda*.

Handbag wraps up its season with another double whammy for the holidays. Handbag diva Caitlin Jackson* reprises her role as Bette Midler in BETTE, XMAS AT THE CONTINENTAL BATHS, a recreation of the Divine Miss M’s historic concert at New York’s Continental Baths – with a holiday twist. The show enjoyed a sold-out run in 2017 as part of the LookOut Series at Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theatre. Handbag’s steamy cabaret sensation features music direction by Tommy Ross. Also, enjoy some eggnog and cheesecake on the lanai at THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes – The Holiday Edition, Vol. 2, another round of festive sketches featuring the Handbag Golden Girls. BETTE and THE GOLDEN GIRLS will play concurrently at Mary’s Attic.

Season subscriptions and single tickets for all the shows are currently available at www.handbagproductions.org.

*Denotes Handbag Ensemble Member.

Hell in a Handbag Productions’ 2019 Season includes:


Poseidon (pictured) The cast of Hell in a Handbag Productions’ 2009 revival of POSEIDON! An Upside Down Musical. Photo by Rick Aguilar Studios.

March 15 – April 28, 2019
Title: POSEIDON! An Upside Down Musical
Book and Lyric by Artistic Director David Cerda*
Music by David Cerda* with Scott Lamberty
Directed by Derek Van Barham
Music Direction by Andrew Milliken
Choreography by Breon Arzell
at The Edge Theater, 5451 N. Broadway Ave., Chicago
Featuring ensemble members Sydney Genco*, Caitlin Jackson*, Elizabeth Lesinski*, David Lipschutz*, Stevie Love* and Michael S. Miller* with Katherine Bellantone, Frankie Leo Bennett, Brittney Brown, Tommy Bullington, Josh Kemper, Nicky Mendelson, Courtney Dane Mize, Elissa Newcorn, Marc Prince, Shane Roberie, Scott Sawa, Patrick Stengle and Maiko Terazawa.

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

First produced by Handbag 17 years ago, POSEIDON! An Upside-Down Musical enjoyed an extended five month-run, went to the 2002 New York International Fringe Festival and was the most attended show of the festival. Remounted in 2009, the show had another extended run and garnered critical acclaim.

February 8 – March 10, 2019 – Off-Season Special! (not included in season subscriptions)
THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes – The Valentine Edition
Written by Artistic Director David Cerda*
Directed by: Jon Martinez
at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago
Featuring ensemble members Chazie Bly*, David Cerda*, Grant Drager*, Adrian Hadlock* and Ed Jones* with Miles Brindley, Casey Coppess, Steve Kimbrough, Ryan Oates, Michael Rashid, Ryan Tang and Danne Taylor.

Poor Dorothy can’t find a date for the Sadie Hawkins dance at the Miami Senior Center. When Rose sets her up with a man with a colorful past, the evening takes a turn for the bizarre. Meanwhile Sophia locks horns with her arch rival, Sylvia Martinelli and the two engage in a steamy battle of wits.

April 18 – August 25, 2019
THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes, Vol. 3
By Artistic Director David Cerda*
at Mary’s Attic, 5400 N. Clark St., Chicago
Featuring ensemble members Chazie Bly*, David Cerda*, Grant Drager*, Adrian Hadlock* and Ed Jones*.

Dorothy, Rose, Blanche, Sophia and their whacky friends and relatives are back for all new adventures – including the first-ever musical episode.

July 5 – August 25, 2019
THE DRAG SEED
Book and Lyrics: Artistic Director David Cerda*
Music: David Cerda* with Scott Lamberty
Directed by Cheryl Snodgrass
Featuring ensemble member Kristopher Bottrall*
at Mary’s Attic, 5400 N. Clark St., Chicago
Casting to be announced.

Inspired by our changing times, THE DRAG SEED is an unauthorized musical parody of the 1956 psychological horror-thriller film The Bad Seed. Carson is a perfect little boy who likes to dress like the perfect little girl. Carson loves drag and prides himself on being the best child drag queen in the greater Chicago area. Carson always gets what he wants, and he really wants to win the drag pageant at his very progressive school – The Josephine Baker Academy for Gifted Students. When Carson doesn’t win, he vows to get that crown – one way or another…

September 27 – November 2, 2019
THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes – Bea Afraid Too
By Artistic Director David Cerda*
at Mary’s Attic, 5400 N. Clark St., Chicago
Featuring ensemble members Chazie Bly*, Grant Drager*, Adrian Hadlock* and Michael Miller*

Last year Sophia was possessed by the devil. Did anyone even notice? Stay tuned to find out what spooky adventures Artistic Director David Cerda* conjures up for our heroines in what’s quickly becoming a Chicago Halloween tradition.

October 5 – November 3, 2019
The FACTS OF LIFE: The Lost Episodes – Satan’s School for Girls
By Artistic Director David Cerda*
at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago
Featuring ensemble members David Cerda* and Ed Jones*

Ed Jones* stars as Mrs. Edna Garrett – the house mother with a deep dark secret in this parody of the beloved TV sitcom The Facts of Life. The Eastland seemed to be the place for the best and the brightest girls. But when a series of girls die mysterious accidental deaths, ace reporter Claudia Collins (David Cerda*), who is as beautiful as she is talented – goes undercover to avenge her kid sister’s death.

November 27 – December 28, 2019
THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes, The Holiday Edition, Vol. 2
By David Cerda
at Mary’s Attic, 5400 N. Clark St., Chicago
Featuring ensemble members David Cerda*, Grant Drager*, Ed Jones* and Adrian Hadlock*

Celebrate the season in sunny Miami, as Dorothy, Rose, Blanche and Sophia return for brand new holiday episodes of Chicago’s beloved TV sitcom parody.

December 6 – 28, 2019
BETTE: XMAS AT THE CONTINENTAL BATHS
Adapted by Artistic Director David Cerda* and Caitlin Jackson*
Musical Direction by Tommy Ross
at Mary’s Attic, 5400 N. Clark St., Chicago
Featuring ensemble member Caitlin Jackson*

Handbag diva Caitlin Jackson recreates Bette Midler’s concert at New York’s Continental Baths. This loving recreation of the beginning of Ms. Midler’s stellar career features the fabulous songs she sang for the boys in the bathhouse, including Chattanooga Choo-Choo, Superstar – plus holiday ditties done in Bette’s inimitable style.

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.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

OPENING: Valentine Fun Abounds With THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes – The Valentine Edition Via Hell in a Handbag Productions February 8, 2019 – March 10, 2019 at Stage 773

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

Hell in a Handbag Productions Presents
THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes – The Valentine Edition
By Artistic Director David Cerda
Directed by Jon Martinez
February 8, 2019 – March 10, 2019 at Stage 773

(left to right) Ed Jones, David Cerda, Adrian Hadlock and Grant Drager in a publicity image for Hell in a Handbag Productions’ hit parody THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes. Photo by Rick Aguilar Studios.


Chicago’s favorite drag seniors start 2019 with LOVE in Hell in a Handbag Productions’ beloved parody THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes – The Valentine Edition, written by Artistic Director David Cerda and directed by Jon Martinez. Dorothy, Blanche, Sophia and Rose return February 8 – March 10, 2019 at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago. Tickets are currently available at www.handbagproductions.org or www.stage773.com, by calling (773) 327-5252. 

I'll be ChiILin' with Chi, IL's Hell in a Handbag for the press opening of THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes – The Valentine Edition, February 10th, so check back soon for my full review. Hell in a Handbag is a long time favorite of ours here at ChiIL Live Shows, and their Golden Girls parodies are something to see! 

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. Get your tickets early and bring a sweetheart!

THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes – The Valentine Edition will feature Adrian Hadlock* as Sophia, Ed Jones* as Rose, Michael Rashid and David Cerda as Dorothy and Grant Drager* as Blanche. The ensemble also includes Chazie Bly*, Miles Brindley, Casey Coppess, Steve Kimbrough, Ryan Oates, Ryan Tang and Danne W. Taylor as various characters.

Poor Dorothy can’t find a date for the Sadie Hawkins dance at the Miami Senior Center. When Rose sets her up with a man with a colorful past, the evening takes a turn for the bizarre. Meanwhile Sophia locks horns with her arch rival, Sylvia Martinelli and the two engage in a steamy battle of wits.

The production team includes: Christopher Rhoton (scenic design), Danny Rockett (sound design), Keith Ryan* (wig design), Adrian Hadlock* (props design) and Si Squires-Kasten (stage manager).

*Denotes Handbag ensemble member.

Cast (in alphabetical order): Chazie Bly* (Ensemble), Miles Brindley (Ensemble), David Cerda* (late night Dorothy), Casey Coppess (Ensemble), Grant Drager* (Blanche), Adrian Hadlock* (Sophia), Ed Jones* (Rose), Steve Kimbrough (Ensemble), Ryan Oates (Ensemble), Michael Rashid (Prime time Dorothy), Ryan Tang (Ensemble) and Danne Taylor (Ensemble).

Location: Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago. 

Dates: Previews: Friday, February 8 at 8 pm and Saturday, February 9 at 8 pm
Opening/Press performance: Sunday, February 10 at 3 pm

Regular run: Thursday, February 14 – Sunday, March 10, 2019
Curtain Times: Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm; Sundays at 3 pm. Please note: there will be an added Valentine’s Day performances on Thursday, February 14 at 8 pm; there will be added late night performances on Saturday, February 23 at 10:30 pm, Saturday, March 2 at 10:30 pm and Saturday, March 9 at 10:30 pm.

Tickets: Previews: $22. Regular run $27 in advance, $31 at the door. Group rates $20 for 10 or more. Tickets are currently available at www.handbagproductions.org or www.stage773.com, by calling (773) 327-5252.

About the Artists

David Cerda (Playwright) 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, The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes (Volumes 1 & 2), The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes: The Holiday Edition, The Halloween Edition, 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.

Jon Martinez (Director) is glad to be back on board after directing and choreographing Snowgirls – The Musical with Handbag. Other credits include: The Buddy Holly Story (American Blues); Crumbs From The Table of Joy (Raven 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 Theatre); 3C (Red Orchid); We’re Gonna Die (Haven Theater/Steppenwolf); LIZZIE (Firebrand Theatre); Xanadu (ATC); Carrie, Murder Ballad (Bailiwick Chicago). His first ballet, Le Apache, premiered in 2016 at The Harris Theater in Chicago. Next up, he will be directing and choreographing the regional premiere of Be More Chill at Playhouse Square Cleveland. 

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.

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