David Cerda Resurrects Camp Film ClassicsJune 13th, 2011
Hell in a Handbag Productions, lead by Artistic Director and co-founder, David Cerda, seems to have its hands in everything camp and film in Chicagoland. 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.” My first introduction to Chicago’s Hell and a Handbag Productions was singer and keyboardist Carol Drive Ann (Ed Jones, POSEIDON! An Upside Down Musical) on the Movie Queens Webseries. Handbag company member, Carol Ann, appears in this webseries produced by film critic Richard Knight Jr., founder of the Queer Film Society, which looks at your favorite movies from a queer perspective.
Handbag’s latest production, TROGG! A Musical, opened for previews in May at the Chopin Theatre. It plays Thursday-Sunday and runs through Sunday, July 3. TROGG! is Cerda’s first new musical since Caged Dames, produced in 2007. Cheryl Snodgrass (POSEIDON! An Upside Down Musical, Lady X) and Taylor E. Ross (SCARRIE! The Musical) collaborated with Cerda on the book and music, respectively. Scott Ferguson directs. Cerda also authored the memorable POSEIDON! An Upside Down Musical and Rudolph the Red Hosed-Reindeer.
Cerda also writes and performs Joan Crawford-inspired rock songs for The Joans. He assumes Crawford’s persona from her infamous later work in movies such as Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, sporting a fitted blue mini dress, white gloves, a faux pearl necklace, black high heels, and a foot-high wig. His alter ego, Joan, smacks her lips at every retro or camp film screening hosted by Richard Knight Jr., film critic of the Windy City Times, a major producing partner and collaborator. The Joans jam regularly before the Music Box Dick-o-day Show, the annual Mommie Dearest Mother’s Day screening and New Year Poseidon Adventure screening, Chicago Market Days Festival, and the 29th Reeling Chicago International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival.