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Showing posts with label drag. Show all posts
Showing posts with label drag. Show all posts

Friday, November 25, 2022

World Premiere! THE GOLDEN GIRLS: THE LOST EPISODES The Obligatory Holiday Special Via Hell in a Handbag Through December 30, 2022

 ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

World Premiere!

Hell in a Handbag Productions Presents

THE GOLDEN GIRLS: THE LOST EPISODES

The Obligatory Holiday Special

By Artistic Director David Cerda

Directed by Spenser Davis

November 26 – December 30, 2022 at The Center on Halsted

Here at ChiIL Live Shows, we've adored Hell in a Handbag Productions original comedies for decades! David Cerda has a penchant for penning parodies and legs to die for. The hellions at Handbag Productions do incomparably hilarious drag parodies of classic films, but our hands down handbag favorites are always The Golden Girls. Grab a few friends and get thee to The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes – The Obligatory Holiday Special. Don't miss this!

Hell in a Handbag Productions is thrilled to ring in the holiday season with the return of its favorite seniors in The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes – The Obligatory Holiday Special, playing November 26 – December 30, 2022 at The Hoover-Leppen Theatre at The Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St. in Chicago. Dorothy, Rose, Blanche, Sophia and their whacky friends and relatives return in all new episodes, written by Artistic Director David Cerda* and directed by Spenser Davis. Tickets are now on sale at handbagproductions.org or buytickets.at/hellinahandbagproductions/775153


The production stars original cast members David Cerda*, Grant Drager*, Ed Jones* and Ryan Oates as the Geriatric Fab Four, joined by Lori Lee*, Terry McCarthy*, Michael Miller*, Michael Rashid*, Coco Sho-Nell, Jamie Smith and Danne W. Taylor*. 

The holidays take an unexpected turn for the gals when they find out that the infamous Shady Pines Retirement Community is on the verge of closing, leaving most of Sophia’s friends homeless for the holidays. Can the girls step in and save the day in time for Christmas? Will Rose be able to make it to St. Olaf in time for the ever-popular Herring Bowl Parade? These questions, and many more you never asked will be answered this newest installment of The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes.

The production team includes Robert-Eric West (Costume Design), Liz Cooper (Lighting Designer), DJ Douglass (Sound Designer), Devon Green (Props Designer), Sydney Genco* (Make-Up Design), Keith Ryan* (Wig Designer), Christopher Rhoton (Scenic Design Consultant) and Veronica Kostka (Stage Manager).

 


COVID safety: Masking is recommended, but not required. COVID guidelines may change in accordance with public health guidelines.


*Denotes Handbag Ensemble Member

Cast (in alphabetical order): David Cerda* (Dorothy), Grant Drager* (Blanche), Ed Jones* (Rose), Lori Lee* (Host, Clara), Terry McCarthy* (Nurse Ursula) Michael Miller* (Councilman Hardin), Ryan Oates* (Sophia), Michael Rashid* (Esther Shapiro), Coco Sho-Nell (Wanda), Jamie Smith (Bob Hope) and Danne W. Taylor* (Nancy Drew).

 

Location: The Hoover Leppen Theater at the Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St., Chicago

Previews: Saturday November 26 at 7:30 pm, Sunday November 27 at 3 pm and Thursday, December 1 at 7:30 pm

Regular run: Sunday, December 4 – Friday, December 30, 2022

Curtain Times: Thursday, Fridays and Saturday at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 3 pm. Please note: there will be added performances on Sunday, December 18 at 7 pm and Wednesday, December 21 at 7 pm; there will not be performances on Saturday, December 3, Saturday, December 10, Saturday, December 24 or Sunday, December 25.

Tickets: $24 previews, $29 advanced general admission, $34 at the door, $48 VIP/reserved seating with drink ticket. Group rates $24 for 10 or more. Tickets are now on sale at handbagproductions.org or buytickets.at/hellinahandbagproductions/775153.

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. Cerda 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.

Spenser Davis (Director) is excited to be back at Hell in a Handbag, where he previously directed 'the Girls' in their virtual "Lockdown!" special. An award-winning director and playwright, he was the 2020/21 Maggio Directing Fellow at the Goodman Theatre, where he worked alongside Bob Falls on Rebecca Gilman's Swing State and Adam Rapp's The Sound Inside. Regionally, he's worked at South Coast Repertory, the Colorado New Play Festival, and Street Corner Arts in Austin, TX. Chicago directing credits include Labyrinth, Plainclothes (with Kanomé Jones), At The Table, From White Plains, Mare and A Phase (Broken Nose Theatre); The Spin (Interrobang Theatre Project); May the Road Rise Up, Adventures of Spirit Force Five and the upcoming Kelly Girls (The Factory Theater); and Blue Stockings (Promethean Theatre). His production of At The Table was named "One of Best of the Decade" by Storefront Rebellion and "One of the Year's Best" by the Chicago Tribune. His honors include the Jeff Award for Best Director, the B. Iden Payne Award for Best Director, the Elizabeth George Commission, the M. Elizabeth Osborn New Play Award and being named finalist for the Harold & Mimi Steinberg New Play Award from the American Theatre Critics Association. He's currently developing projects for television with Orion/MGM, among others. He’s represented by both William Morris Endeavor + Heroes and Villains Entertainment.

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, December 20, 2020

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

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar 

Hell in a Handbag Productions Announces Annual Benefit

“THE MORNING AFTER”

Featuring the Very First Live Stream of

POSEIDON! AN UPSIDE-DOWN MUSICAL

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For Tickets and More Information click here.

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

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

Benefit Schedule: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Denotes Handbag ensemble members and artistic associates


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

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

 About Hell in a Handbag Productions

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

Saturday, December 5, 2020

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

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar 

Hell in a Handbag Productions Presents 

The World Premiere of

THE RIP NELSON HOLIDAY 

QUARANTINE SPECIAL

By Artistic Director David Cerda

Directed and Choreographed by Stevie Love

Now Streaming Through January 9, 2021

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

AND

THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes

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

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


REVIEW: THE RIP NELSON HOLIDAY 
QUARANTINE SPECIAL

By Bonnie Kenaz-Mara

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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



 MORE ON THE RIP NELSON HOLIDAY QUARANTINE SPECIAL

Hell in a Handbag Productions celebrates the holidays with the return of America’s favorite funnyman, Rip Nelson (Ed Jones*), in the star-studded world premiere of The Rip Nelson Holiday Quarantine Special, streaming through January 9, 2021 via Vimeo. The world premiere is written by Artistic Director Cerda* and directed and choreographed by Stevie Love*, with music and lyrics by David Cerda and Scott Lamberty. Tickets ($25) are currently available at handbagproductions.org or stage773.com. The show streams at designated performance times (see schedule below). 

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

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

Performance Schedule:

Thursdays and Friday at 8 pm

Saturdays at 7:30 pm and 9:30 pm

Sundays at 3 pm

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

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

*Denotes Handbag ensemble members and artistic associates


(pictured)David Cerda as Lucille Ball 


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

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

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

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

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

*Denotes Handbag ensemble member.

PRODUCTION DETAILS:

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

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

About the Artists     

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

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

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

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

About Hell in a Handbag Productions

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


Wednesday, February 6, 2019

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.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

OPENING: THE ARTIFICIAL JUNGLE Via Hell in a Handbag At Stage 773 October 28, 2018

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

Hell in a Handbag Productions Presents 
THE ARTIFICIAL JUNGLE
By Charles Ludlam
Directed by Shade Murray
September 20 – October 28, 2018 at Stage 773


**The Handbag production marks the first time in over 25 years this campy classic has been performed in Chicago**

Here at ChiIL Live Shows, we love it when our favorites play well together. We're admirers of the work of Shade Murray of A Red Orchid Theatre and adore Hell in a Handbag Productions' high camp classics, so we're eager to catch The Artificial Jungle. I'll be out to review their latest at the press opening September 23rd. So check back like we vote in Chi, IL... early and often. 


This fall, Hell in a Handbag Productions is thrilled to explore THE ARTIFICIAL JUNGLE, the final play by the legendary master of camp, Charles Ludlam. Who better to direct this criminal tale of lust and murder than Hell in a Handbag’s longtime partner in crime, Shade Murray of A Red Orchid Theatre. 

THE ARTIFICIAL JUNGLE will play September 20 – October 28, 2018 at Stage 773’s Black Box Theater (1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago), where Handbag staged its recent revival of L’Imitation of Life and 2017’s hit musical Bewildered. Tickets are currently available at www.stage773.com or by calling (773) 327-5252. 

THE ARTIFICIAL JUNGLE features an all-ensemble cast including Chazie Bly*, David Cerda*, Sydney Genco*, Ed Jones* and David Lipschutz*.

Things at The Artificial Jungle, the dilapidated pet store owned by mild-mannered Chester Nurdiger (Ed Jones*), are pretty routine. The devoted Mother Nurdiger (David Cerda*) does her best to give her son everything he needs, but there are some things a mother just can’t provide. Chester’s wife, the sultry and stifled Roxanne Nurdiger (Sydney Genco*), is as restless as one of the hamsters in a cage, and when Zachary Slade, a mysterious drifter (David Lipschutz*) enters the picture, passions run wild. Roxanne and Zachary have the perfect plan to get rid of Chester and live the life Roxanne craves.

Combining elements of Thérése Raquin, Double Indemnity and even Little Shop of Horrors – THE ARTIFICIAL JUNGLE is a masterful mélange of styles that leave no doubt as to why Mr. Ludlam is considered one of the creators of the Theatre of the Ridiculous. It’s also the perfect fit for Hell in a Handbag Productions – Chicago’s leading theater dedicated to ridiculousness, camp and parody.

The production team for THE ARTIFICIAL JUNGLE includes: Samantha Gribben (scenic design), Kate Setzer Kamphausen (costume design), Rachel Lake (lighting design), Brando Triantafillou (sound design and original music), Keith Ryan* (wig design), Adrian Hadlock* (props design), Mark Blashford (puppet design), Lana Whittington (violence coordinator), A.Kay Wyatt (production manager) and Alexandra Hazen (stage manager).

*Denotes Handbag ensemble member.

Location: 
Stage 773 Black Box Theater, 1225 W. Belmont, Chicago
Dates: Previews: Thursday, September 20 at 7:30 pm, Friday, Sept. 21 at 7:30 pm and Saturday, September 22 at 7:30 pm
Opening/Press performance: Sunday, September 23 at 7:30 pm
Regular run: Thursday, September 27 – Sunday, October 28, 2018 
Curtain Times: Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 3 pm. Please note: there will be an added performance on Monday, October 15 at 7:30 pm.


Tickets: Previews $19. Regular run $32 in advance, $39 at the door. Group rates $29 for 10 or more. $25 senior and student rates. Tickets are currently available at www.stage773.com or by calling (773) 327-5252. 

About the Artists
Charles Ludlam (Playwright, 1943-1987) grew up in Queens, New York, just a few subway stops from Greenwich Village and the heart of Gay America. At 24, he founded the Ridiculous Theatrical Company, where he wrote, directed and performed in almost every production for the next two decades, often with Everett Quinton, his life partner and muse, by his side. Renowned for drag, high comedy, melodrama, satire, precise literary references, gender politics, sexual frolic and a multitude of acting styles, the Ridiculous Theater guaranteed a kind of biting humor that could both sting and tickle. Ludlam’s many plays included Turds in Hell, Der Ring Gott Farblonjet, a riff on Wagner's Ring Cycle, Bluebeard and The Mystery of Irma Vep, his most popular play, and a performer's tour-de-force. Ludlam continued working until almost the day he died of PCP pneumonia, just three months after his AIDS diagnosis. He was 44.

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

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.


COMING SOON:

Monday, May 28, 2018

RETURNING THIS SUMMER WITH ALL NEW EPISODES: THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes, Vol. 2 Via Hell in a Handbag Productions at Mary’s Attic

Chi IL Live Shows On Our Radar:
Ready to go to Hell in a Handbag this summer...


Hell in a Handbag Productions Presents 
THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes, Vol. 2
By Artistic Director David Cerda
Directed by Becca Holloway
June 19 – September 7, 2018 at Mary’s Attic

(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, Vol. 2. All Photos by Rick Aguilar Studios.

This summer, Hell in a Handbag Productions is pleased to bring back Dorothy, Rose, Blanche and Sophia for THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes, Vol. 2. Following last year’s sold-out, seven-month run, Handbag’s parody of the beloved TV sitcom returns with all new adventures written by Artistic Director David Cerda* and directed by Becca Holloway. THE GOLDEN GIRLS will play June 19 – September 7, 2018 at Mary’s Attic, 5400 N. Clark St. in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. Tickets are now on sale brownpapertickets.com or by calling (800) 838-3006. The press opening is Friday, June 22 at 7:30 pm.

The 2017 cast returns with David Cerda* as Dorothy, Grant Drager* as Blanche, Adrian Hadlock* as Sophia and Ed Jones* as Rose with Chazie Bly*, Michael Rashid and Michael S. Miller* as various silly characters.

When THE GOLDEN GIRLS – THE LOST EPISODES debuted in June 2017, it was supposed to be a short summer treat for Handbag audiences, but quickly turned into one of the biggest hits in the company’s history. Now, these lovely women from the classic TV sitcom return with new stories of friendship, love and cheesecake – all with the Handbag twist audiences have come to love!

The all new episodes include Machiavellian mayhem when Dorothy, Rose and Blanche are all nominated for Women of the Year by the Miami Women’s Auxiliary League; Sophia’s mysterious part-time job; and a deep dark secret from Rose’s past that shocks the girls to their core!

The production team for THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes, Vol. 2 includes: Roger Wykes (scenic design), David Cerda* (costume design), Cat Wilson* (lighting design), Isaac Mandel (sound design), Keith Ryan* (wig design), Adrian Hadlock* (props design), Lana Whittington (violence coordinator), AJ Wright* (production manager) and Amanda Kay Wyatt (stage manager).

*Denotes Handbag ensemble member.

Location: Mary’s Attic, 5400 N. Clark St., Chicago
Dates: Previews: Tuesday, June 19 at 7:30 pm, Wednesday, June 20 at 7:30 pm and Thursday, June 21 at 7:30 pm. 
Opening/Press performance: Friday, June 22, 2018, 7:30 pm
Regular run: Wednesday June 27 – Friday, September 7, 2018 
Curtain Times: Wednesdays, Thursday and Fridays at 7:30 pm through August 10, 2018; Fridays at 7:30 pm August 17 – September 7, 2018. Please note: there will not be performances on Wednesday, July 4 at 7:30 pm or Friday, July 6 at 7:30 pm.
Tickets: Previews $19. Regular run $25 in advance, $27 at the door. Group rates $20 for 10 or more. Tickets are currently on sale at brownpapertickets.com 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, 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. He is most definitely a Dorothy. 

Becca Holloway (Director) is thrilled to be back with Hell in a Handbag for her 5th production with them, after working on Bewildered, L'imitation of Life, and directing Rudolph (2017) and Bette: Xmas at the Continental Baths. Other directing credits include, 44 Plays for 44 Presidents (Oil Lamp Theater), Cut to the Chase Festival (Artistic Home) and The RBP's 13th Birthday Party Showcase (Right Brain Project). Becca has been lucky enough to have worked with Broken Nose, Brown Paper Box Co., The Comrades, Refuge Theatre Project, and Big Noise Theater. Oh and in case you're wondering, she's a Dorothy.

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.

Monday, April 9, 2018

REVIEW: L'Imitation's The Real Deal via Hell in a Handbag at Stage 773 Through 5/6/18

Chi, IL Live Shows On Our Radar: 

Hell in a Handbag Productions Presents
L'IMITATION OF LIFE
Adapted by Ricky Graham and Running with Scissors
Directed by Stevie Love
Through May 6, 2018 at Stage 773


Running time: 1:40, including intermission


(left to right) Robert Williams, Katherine Bellantone, Chazie Bly and Ed Jones in Hell in Handbag Productions’ revival of L’IMITATION OF LIFE. Photo by Rick Aguilar Studios.

Review:
Hell in a Handbag Productions' latest is a revival of their 2013 hit L’IMITATION OF LIFE, a terrifically timely parody of the 1959 film Imitation of Life. This show is classic drag and high camp of the highest order, exploring race and class, mothers and daughters, and looking fabulous in your dead aunt of questionable fashion sense's size 22 wardrobe!

(left to right) Katherine Bellantone, Ed Jones, Ashley J. Hicks and Robert Williams 
Photo by Rick Aguilar Studios.


Handbag ensemble member Ed Jones* (Lana Turner) and Robert Williams (Annie Johnson) killed it as the classic movie diva and domestic duo. L'Imitation is full of amusing affectations, a script to die for, and talent to spare. Daughters Katherine Bellantone (Suzie Turner) and Ashley J. Hicks (Sara Jane Johnson) are also standouts in their Hell in a Handbag debut. 

(left to right) Katherine Bellantone, Ashley J. Hicks and Robert Williams 
Photo by Rick Aguilar Studios.

The parody goes far beyond the original movie, with witty wordplay galore on theatrical and movie titles. The backdrop screen work is a wonder, and too much fun, from the first rolling credits through the altered iconic photo shoots. 

L’imitation-2 (left to right) Ed Jones and Katherine Bellantone in Hell in Handbag Productions’ revival of L’IMITATION OF LIFE. Photo by Rick Aguilar Studios.

L'imitation manages to hit on the cringeworthy themes of prejudice, pedophilia, homicidal children, closeted gay boy toys, self absorption, parental neglect, passing for white, racism, runaways in the sex industry, and even a racially motivated hate crime attack, with more than a measure of hilarity. This retro favorite is perfect fodder for a drag makeover and Handbag does it with panache!

(left to right) Ed Jones and Robert Williams 
Photo by Rick Aguilar Studios.

Hell in a Handbag Productions is a true Chicago treasure and a fun favorite of ours here at ChiIL Live Shows. L'imitation of Life is highly recommended and now playing at Stage 773 through May 6th.




Hell in a Handbag Productions is pleased to kick off its 2018 Season with a revival of its 2013 hit L’IMITATION OF LIFE, a dead on parody of the 1959 film Imitation of Life about race, mothers and daughters – and looking fabulous! Adapted by Ricky Graham and Running with Scissors and directed by ensemble member Stevie Love*, L’IMITATION OF LIFE will play March 31 – May 6, 2018 at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago. Tickets are currently on sale at www.handbagproductions.org (through Stage 773) or by calling (773) 327-5252. 


L’IMITATION OF LIFE features Handbag ensemble member Ed Jones* as Lana Turner with Robert Williams as Annie Johnson, two very different women raising their daughters in a world made for a man. Ensemble member Chazie Bly* plays Steve Martin, Lana’s hunky boy toy. New to Handbag are Katherine Bellantone, playing Suzie Turner and Ashley J. Hicks playing Sara Jane Johnson – the daughter that was “born to be hurt.” Allison Petrillo and Chase Wheaton-Werle round out the cast as various characters.


(left to right) Ashley J. Hicks and Robert Williams
 Photo by Rick Aguilar Studios.

In this hilarious parody of the 1959 film Imitation of Life, Lana Turner is a determined white widow and single mother with aspirations of becoming a Broadway sensation. When Lana meets Annie Johnson, a struggling single African-American mother, the two team up and take on the world as Lana does “whatever it takes” to make it in show business – while Annie takes care of the homestead and raises both daughters.

The two women face insurmountable challenges led by their daughters. There's the blonde, perky and “so white it's frightening" Suzie, daughter of Lana Turner, and the raven-haired rebellious light-skinned beauty, Sara Jane, daughter of Annie. Sara Jane learns the hard truth about acceptance and the color of your skin – especially when she tries to “pass” as white.




The production team for L’IMITATION OF LIFE includes: Samantha Gribben (scenic design), Garry Nocco (costume design), Rachel Lake (lighting design), Sebby Woldt (sound design), Keith Ryan* (wig design), Sydney Genco* (make-up design), Adrian Hadlock* (props design), Lana Whittington (violence coordinator) and AJ Wright* (production manager).

*Denotes Handbag ensemble member.


(left to right) Ed Jones and Chazie Bly
Photo by Rick Aguilar Studios.

PRODUCTION DETAILS:
Location: Stage 773 (Black Box Stage), 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago
Dates: Sunday, April 8 – Sunday, May 6, 2018
Curtain Times: Thursday, Fridays and Saturday at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 3 pm. Please note: there will be an added performance on Monday, April 30 at 7:30 pm.

Tickets: 
Regular run $29 in advance, $34 at the door. Group rates $25 for 10 or more. Tickets are currently on sale at www.handbagproductions.org (through Stage 773) or by calling (773) 327-5252.

About the Director
Stevie Love is a Handbag ensemble member. Creative credits include last year's production of Lady X (director/choreographer, HIAH), Northlight Theatre's production of Charm (choreographer), Caged Dames (choreographer, Jeff nomination). Performing credits include Miracle! (Helen) with HIAH (Jeff nomination); Kin Folk (Arethin) and Stanley in the Name of Love (Stanley) with The New Colony. Stevie has worked on stages on the East Coast, the Midwest and throughout the Caribbean aboard Disney Cruise Lines. He also works as a teaching artist for the professional teen performers of The Talent Machine Co. on the East Coast.





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.


 (left to right) Katherine Bellantone, Ed Jones, Ashley J. Hicks and Chazie Bly 
Photo by Rick Aguilar Studios.

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