CHICAGO (November 10, 2023) — Hell in a Handbag Productions is pleased to kick off its 2023/24 season this November with The Golden Girls Save Xmas — A Lost Episodes Parody, featuring an all-new holiday tale by Artistic Director David Cerda*, directed by Frankie Leo Bennett. Dorothy, Rose, Blanche, Sophia and their whacky friends and relatives return November 25 — December 30, 2023 at The Hoover-Leppen Theatre at The Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St. in Chicago. Tickets are now on sale at handbagproductions.org or buytickets.at/hellinahandbagproductions/1024359. The press opening is Friday, December 1 at 7:30 pm.
Blanche (Grant Drager*) accidentally incapacitates a visitor named Nick (Terry McCarthy*) on the night before Christmas! Can the girls save the holidays in time for all the children of the world to get their toys on Christmas morning? Join Dorothy (David Cerda*), Rose (Ed Jones*), Blanche (Grant Drager*) and Sophia (Ryan Oates*) in a very merry Miami romp, that combines Handbag's signature biting humor with a heart as big as a cheesecake.
The production features original cast members David Cerda*, Grant Drager*, Ed Jones* and Ryan Oates* as the Geriatric Fab Four, joined by Eustace Allen, Kelly Bolton, Terry McCarthy*, Michael Rashid*, Scott Sawa, Tyler Anthony Smith*, Danne W. Taylor* and Robert Williams*.
The production team includes Madeline Felauer (Costume Design), Liz Cooper (Lighting Designer), Danny Rockett (Sound Designer), Syd Genco* (Make-Up Design), Keith Ryan* (Wig Designer) and Veronica Kostka (Stage Manager).
*Denotes Handbag Ensemble Member
Title: The Golden Girls Save Xmas — A Lost Episodes Parody — World Premiere!
Playwright: David Cerda
Director: Frankie Leo Bennett
Cast (in alphabetical order): Eustace Allen (Happy) Kelly Bolton (Darlene), David Cerda* (Dorothy), Grant Drager* (Blanche), Ed Jones* (Rose), Terry McCarthy* (Nick), Ryan Oates* (Sophia), Michael Rashid* (Esther Shapiro), Scott Sawa (Stan), Tyler Anthony Smith* (Kyle), Danne W. Taylor* (Nancy Drew) and Robert Williams* (Mrs. Claus).
Location: The Hoover Leppen Theater at the Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St., Chicago
Previews: Saturday November 25 at 7:30 pm, Sunday November 26 at 3 pm and Thursday, November 30 at 7:30 pm
Opening/Press performance: Friday, December 1 at 7:30 pm
Regular run: Saturday, December 2 — Friday, December 30, 2023
Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 3 pm. Please note: there will be added performances on Wednesday, December 20 and and Wednesday, December 27 at 7:30 pm; there will not be performances on Sunday, December 24 (Christmas Eve).
Tickets: $27 previews, $42 advanced general admission, $45 at the door, $55 VIP/reserved seating. Group rates $36 for 10 or more. Tickets are now on sale at handbagproductions.org or buytickets.at/hellinahandbagproductions/1024359.
About the Artists
David Cerda (Playwright) is a founding member and Artistic Director of Hell in a Handbag Productions, now celebrating its 22nd 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 27 years (and counting) of work and service to the community. He lives in Chicago with his partner, Christopher.
Frankie Leo Bennett (Director, he/him/his), a Chicago-based theatre multi-hyphenate, is thrilled to make his Handbag director debut. Previous Handbag credits include Christina Crawford/Teeny Tina in Christmas Dearest, Robin Shelby in Poseidon! An Upside-Down Musical, Sophia Petrillo (Alternate) in The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes: Bea Afraid!, as well as associate director on The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes: Vol. 3. Other direction credits include: New Faces Sing Broadway 1971, Broadway In Your Backyard, Porchlight Revisits The Apple Tree (co-director), RENT (asst. director), Chicago Sings (Stephen Sondheim and Broadway Pop, co-director), with Porchlight Music Theatre. Regional acting: The SpongeBob Musical, Head Over Heels (Kokandy Productions); Cabaret, Revisits: 1776, In The Heights (Porchlight Music Theatre); Sweeney Todd, Altar Boyz (Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre). Bennett is also a composer/playwright — Resident Services: A Crossed-Up Animal Musical. He is currently on staff at Porchlight Music Theatre as Producing Artistic Associate. @FrankieLeoBennett (Insta); @FrankieLBennett (Twitter); www.frankieleobennett.com
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 .