VALLEY OF THE DOLLS, BEWITCHED, and THE GOLDEN GIRLS Get the Handbag Treatment in 2017 Season

VALLEY OF THE DOLLS, BEWITCHED, and THE GOLDEN GIRLS Get the Handbag Treatment in 2017 Season

(l-r) Mrs. Claus (Ed Jones) tries to talk to an unresponsive Santa (Michael Hampton) in Hell in a Handbag Productions’ 2014 production of RUDOLPH THE RED-HOSED REINDEER. Photo by Rick Aguilar Studios.

Hell in a Handbag Productions has announced it’s 15th anniversary season featuring favorites from years past, as well as a world premiere by artistic director David Cerda. “We really want to thank our audiences for keeping us going for the past 15 years with their love and support,” comments Cerda. “So we are doing a mix of new, old and most requested from our audience for our audience.”

The 2017 season launches in the spring with the world premiere of VALLEY!, a “rollicking unauthorized musical parody” of the camp classic film and best selling book Valley of the Dolls. Written by David Cerda, Handbag tells the tale through the lens and life of its legendary author, Jacqueline Susann.

For Halloween, Handbag will present BEWILDERED, a musical parody of the classic TV sitcom Bewitched, with book by Ron Weaver, lyrics and music by Ron Weaver and Aaron Benham, and directed by Brigitte Ditmars. BEWILDERED will feature ensemble members Caitlin Jackson as Gladys Kravitz, Ed Jones as Uncle Arthur and David Cerda as Endora.

Finally, Handbag brings back its popular holiday show, RUDOLPH THE RED-HOSED REINDEER 2017 by David Cerda and directed by AJ Wright. A parody of the 1967 Rankin Bass television special, Rudolph has become a subversive Chicago classic that celebrates the “misfits” of the world. Chicago’s favorite transvestite reindeer celebrates his 21st anniversary this year – and Cerda always adjusts the show to fit the current social climate.

In addition to its mainstage shows, Handbag will present THE GOLDEN GIRLS – THE LOST EPISODES. Join Dorothy, Rose, Blanche and Sophia on the lanai at Marys Attic this summer for some episodes that didn’t quite make it on the air. Plus, late night at Stage 773, Handbag will present RIP, AFTER DARK. Ed Jones returns as Handbag’s faux D-list celebrity Rip Nelson as he hosts a late night talk show filled with “C-listers” from days gone by.

From the press release:

April 27 – June 10, 2017
VALLEY! – World Premiere
An Unauthorized Musical Parody
By David Cerda
at Mary’s Attic, 5400 N. Clark St., Chicago

Handbag presents a musical parody of the cult camp classic Valley of the Dolls like only they could. Join aspiring model/actress Ann Wells Fargo, the talented and self-destructive Needy Mascara, and the beautiful but doomed Jennifer South for an evening of fame, fashion, sex and dolls…so many dolls…

June 6 – July 12, 2017
By David Cerda, Directed by Shade Murray
at Mary’s Attic, 5400 N. Clark St., Chicago

Handbag’s way of thanking you for being a friend this summer! Enjoy lost, never-before-seen episodes of The Golden Girls featuring Dorothy, Rose, Blanche, Sophia and all of the siblings, daughters, sons, and rare diseases that were mentioned once, but never again. There will be Golden Girls trivia and costume contests to help fully embrace the Miami experience.

September 27 – November 11, 2017
BEWILDERED – World Premiere
Book by Ron Weaver, Music and Lyrics by Ron Weaver and Aaron Benham
Directed by Brigitte Ditmars
Featuring ensemble members David Cerda (Endora), Caitlin Jackson (Gladys Kravitz) and Ed Jones (Uncle Arthur)
at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago

A reimagining of the beloved ‘60s and ‘70s television sitcom Bewitched, as seen through the eyes of Gladys Kravitz, Samantha Stephens’ iconic nosy neighbor. Poor Gladys knows what she sees next door is real, but can she prove it in time to save herself from being committed? Gladys finally gets her due in this fun and magical musical parody.

October 14, 2017 – November 11, 2017
By David Cerda
Featuring ensemble member Ed Jones
at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago

Ed Jones returns as Handbag’s favorite faux D-list celebrity – and this time he’s a late, late night talk show host with a bevy of C-list celebrities. Come see Rip Nelson in his little known talk show with some of the most intriguing mix of actors, singers and comedians of the time. Relive the smoke-filled gabfests of long ago with your favorite long lost entertainers in an intimate setting.

November 25 – December 30, 2017
at Mary’s Attic, 5400 N. Clark St., Chicago

Chicago’s favorite cross-dressing reindeer is back and he’s 21 years old! Hell in a Handbag closes its season with its most popular show ever. RUDOLPH THE RED-HOSED REINDEER, a parody of the classic children’s television special had its first reading in 1996 and has evolved into one of Chicago’s best anti-holiday, holiday shows. Join Rudolph and all of his misfit friends as they struggle with fitting in and being ‘normal’ in an increasingly abnormal world.

About author

Abigail Trabue

Abigail has worked as an actor/director in Chicago for over ten years, and along with husband Jason Epperson founded Lotus Theatricals in 2015, and PerformInk Chicago and Kansas City in 2016 (where she serves as Managing Editor of both publications). When not talking shop, Abigail is raising three padawans with Jason, drinking lots of coffee, converting school buses into RV's, and eating all the foods at Disney World. You can find her on Twitter @AbigailTrabue