Hell in a Handbag Productions is pleased to open its 15th season with the world premiere of LADY X – THE MUSICAL, a shocking expose ripped from the headlines of yesteryear, playing from April 21 — June 10, 2017 at Mary’s Attic, 5400 N. Clark St. in Chicago.

Based on Handbag’s 2010 play of the same name, Lady X — The Musical takes on the black and white crime melodrama films of the ’30s and ’40s. It’s the story of seedy nightclubs, the menacing gangsters who run them and the loose women that keep the customers coming back for more! Co-directed by Tommy Bullington and Steve Love with music direction by JD Caudill, the campy new musical parody features a book by Artistic Director David Cerda and music by Cerda and Scott Lamberty. Join Handbag for a glimpse into the world of the ‘clip-joint’ from days gone by filled with sassy dames, crooked hoods and the regular Joes trying to make a buck.

Mary Dwight – Christea Parent
Gabby Marvin – Caitlin Jackson
Estelle Porter – Ed Jones
Emmy Lou Higgins – Elizabeth Lesinski
Ruby – Sydney Genco
Val/Others – Chazie Bly
Scarlet Fontanelli – David Cerda
Ape – Michael Hampton
Frank Graham – Laura Coleman
Betty Dwight – Steve Love
Sheldon/Others – Josh Kemper
Gordon/Others – Michael S. Miller
Louie/Crandall/Judge – Adrian Hadlock
Understudy – David Lipschutz

Mary Dwight is a gorgeous dame and a tough cookie who knows the score. Mary spends her nights as a ‘clip-joint hostess,’ making the customers feel welcome, whether it’s sharing a drink with them — or the evening. Mary’s got all the angles figured out, until Scarlett Fontanelli enters the picture. As deadly as she is beautiful, Scarlett will stop at nothing to gain control over this world of underground crime. But Frank Graham, a young idealistic Assistant District Attorney, will stop at nothing to bring Scarlett and the Fontanelli syndicate to its knees. Frank wants justice for decent citizens everywhere and for his sister Barbara, a casualty of the Fontanelli family business.

Join Mary and her unforgettable pals, the not so bright Emmy Lou, Estelle, the good natured tramp with a penchant for funnels and all the good time gals in a tale so startling… so lurid… that only Hell in a Handbag Productions would dare tell it!

The production team for LADY X — THE MUSICAL includes: Roger Wykes (set design), Kate Setzer Kamphausen (costume design), Rachel Lake (lighting design), and Mealah Heidenreich (props), Sydney Genco (makeup design), Liam Doring (asst. stage manger) and Michelle Kidd (stage manager).

Book: David Cerda

Music: David Cerda and Scott Lamberty

Co-Directors: Tommy Bullington and Steve Love

Music Director: JD Caudill

Choreographer: Steve Love

Dates: Previews: Friday, April 21 at 7:30 pm, Sunday, April 23 at 6 pm and Thursday, April 27 at 7:30 pm

Press performance: Friday, April 28 at 7:30 pm

Regular run: Saturday, April 29 — Saturday, June 10, 2017

Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 6:00 pm. Please note: there will not be a performance on Sunday, May 7 or Sunday, June 4.

Tickets: Previews $12. Regular run $26 in advance, $30 at the door. VIP tickets with cocktail $38 and up. Group rates $21 for or more. Tickets are currently available at Brown Paper Tickets or by calling ( 800 ) 838-3006.

About the Creative Team

David Cerda (Book/Music) is the co-founder and Artistic Director of Hell in a Handbag Productions. He has written and appeared in Poseidon! An Upside Down Musical, The Birds, Rudolph the Red-Hosed Reindeer, SCARRIE The Musical, Caged Dames, Lady X, How Whatever Happened to Baby Jane Happened, TROGG! A Rock and Roll Musical, Christmas Dearest, Scream, Queen! Scream!, The Rip Nelson Halloween Spooktacular and Sexy Baby. His plays have been produced around the country. He has also worked as a songwriter/lyricist with Amazon Films on an animated project and as an actor with various theater companies throughout the city of Chicago. This year Cerda has also been named as an inductee into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame for his contributions to Chicago theatre.

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.

Tommy Bullington (Co-Director) is excited to return to Hell in a Handbag Productions after being seen onstage in The Rip Nelson Holiday Spectacular and served as understudy Chaz Bono in Skooby Don’t. Other creative credits include co-directing Circle Theatre’s hit comedy Triassic Parq, serving as assistant director for Factory Theatre’s Hey Dancin! Hey Musical! and assistant directing Drury Lane Oakbrook’s Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Performing credits include Urinetown the Musical ( Officer Barrel ) with Boho Theatre, 180 Degree Rule ( Berlitz/Freddy ) with Babes with Blades Ensemble, Jesus Christ Superstar ( King Herod ) with Theo Ubique and Return of Neverland ( Smee ) with Quest Theatre for which he won a Jeff Award for Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical. Tommy has also worked with such companies as Porchlight Music Theatre, Raven Theatre, Kokandy Productions and Emerald City Theatre.

Steve Love (Co-Director/Choreographer) is a Handbag ensemble member, and a two-time Jeff Award nominee ( Best Supporting Actor, Best Choreography ). Recent creative credits include last year’s production of Christmas Dearest ( Director/Choreographer, HIAH ), and Northlight Theatre’s production of Charm ( Choreographer ). Recent performing credits include Miracle! ( Helen ) with HIAH; Kin Folk ( Arethin ) and Stanley in the Name of Love ( Stanley ) with The New Colony. Steve has worked on stages on the East Coast, the Midwest and throughout the Caribbean aboard Disney Cruise Lines.

JD Caudill ( Music Director ) is an emerging director and music director from Ohio, where they studied musical theatre performance, directing and psychology at Bowling Green State University. Since arriving in Chicago two years ago, they have directed for The New Colony ( Face the Day ), Arc Theatre ( Can Cause Death; Homecoming ), Hobo Junction ( Aquaman!; Urges ), Broken Nose Theatre ( Tuesday ), 20% Theatre ( Ellen, The Bean, and Nelle ), Red Theatre ( Ring a Bell ), The Runaways Lab Theatre ( Spectrum ), Paragon Theatre ( The Rhode Island Chapter ), co-directed After Orlando ( Pride Plays and Films ), and was featured as a director in Haven Theatre’s first Director’s Haven ( Jane Doe 232 ). This is JD’s fourth time music directing for Hell in a Handbag Productions ( Skooby, Don’t!; The Rip Nelson Holiday Spectacular; Christmas Dearest ), and they created harmonies and coached vocals for The New Colony’s Stanley in the Name of Love. Along with directing and music directing, they’ve stayed busy assistant directing for The New Colony ( Kinfolk; Stanley in the Name of Love ), The Metropolis ( R&G Are Dead ), 16th Street Theater ( Merchild; Agreed Upon Fictions ), and Hobo Junction ( Sure Thing ).