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Hell In A Handbag Rings in the Holidays with BETTE: XMAS AT THE CONTINENTAL BATHS


Hell In A Handbag Rings in the Holidays with BETTE: XMAS AT THE CONTINENTAL BATHS

Hell in a Handbag Productions is pleased to bring back its steamy cabaret sensation - with a holiday twist! Handbag diva Caitlin Jackson* recreates Bette Midler's historic concert at New York's Continental Baths in BETTE: XMAS AT THE CONTINENTAL BATHS, playing December 6 - 31, 2019 at Mary's Attic, 5400 N. Clark St. in Chicago's Andersonville neighborhood. Tickets are currently available through Brown Paper Tickets at or by calling (800) 838-3006. The press opening is Saturday, December 7 at 9:30 pm.


With the inimitable Tommy Ross tickling the ivories, Handbag's 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 unparalleled style. BETTE: XMAS AT THE CONTINENTAL BATHS is adapted by Artistic Director David Cerda and Catilin Jackson, with direction by Catilin Jackson and Marc Lewallen.


BETTE also features Terry McCarthy* as bathhouse proprietor Mr. Gerard and Sydney Genco* and Allison Petrillo as Bette's bawdy back-up broads, Trixie and Laverne.


*Denotes Handbag ensemble member.


Caitlin Jackson (Adapter/Performer/Co-Director) brought the concept of this show to original director Chris Pazdernik in late 2014. Chris, in turn and with forever appreciated support of the project, brought it to David Cerda who, with Chris, brought in the genius of Musical Director (and original Barry Manilow) Jeremy Ramey and Bette was born. After two runs in 2015 and 2016, Jackson and Cerda teamed with new director Becca Holloway and new co-stars to bring Bette: Xmas at the Continental Baths to Steppenwolf's 1700 Lookout Series for two nights only in December 2017. Caitlin is pleased to take a bit more of the reigns and bring Xmas at the Continental Baths back for a longer run at Handbag's home, Mary's Attic. Some previous Handbag credits include Bewildered! (Gladys Kravitz), Rudolph the Red-Hosed Reindeer 2014 (Jane Donner/Dolly), Christmas Dearest (Bette Davis), Skooby Don't! (Velva) and Poseidon! (Toni). Outside of Handbag she can frequently be seen with Black Button Eyes (Coraline, Shockheaded Peter, Evil Dead - Jeff Nomination Best Supporting Performer), Refuge (High Fidelity - Jeff Nomination Best Ensemble), New American Folk Theatre (Hot Pink, Trash) and Cowardly Scarecrow (Musical of the Living Dead, Cabaret), among others.


Marc Lewallen (Co-Director) is thrilled to be working with Hell in a Handbag finally. Marc has been directing and choreographing musical theatre for over three decades, basically ever since he realized he wasn't quite good enough to be ON stage. He is also the co-founder of Cowardly Scarecrow Theatre Company and co-creator of several horror camp musicals, including Musical of the Living Dead. Marc's next, like his previous and current, project is also slated to star Caitlin Jackson as the title character in Number One Fan - A Misery Musical.


David Cerda (Adapter) 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 & 3), The Drag Seed, 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.


Tommy Ross (Music Director) is an actor, singer, songwriter, music director and teacher based in Chicago. He's returning to Hell in a Handbag after last working on their benefit reading of Showgirls! the Musical in 2016. After moving to the area from central Mississippi, where he both performed in and directed music for productions of shows such as Into the Woods, Rent and Avenue Q, he quickly worked with several different companies across Chicago, including Pride Films and Plays (Grindr the Opera), Three Cat Productions (Spark, The Holiday Radio Show: 1943, Diamond Lil), Cowardly Scarecrow (Cabaret, You've Got Red on You) and Liquid Square Arts (ID), as well as one of the award-winning entries in the 2018 Chicago Musical Theatre Festival (Musical Therapy). He studied music education with a double emphasis on musical theatre and choral music at the University of Southern Mississippi, and he teaches private lessons in piano and voice, based in Rogers Park.

PHOTO CREDIT: Caitlin Jackson as Bette Midler in Hell in a Handbag's 2016 hit BETTE, LIVE AT THE CONTINENTAL BATHS. Photo by Rick Aguilar Studios.

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