#113. I’m from a three generation tiara family. I have one. My mom has one. My niece has one. Sparkly accessory perched on a head?! We totally get it. Who doesn’t want to be crowned the winner? It doesn’t really matter if it’s awarded or self-appointed. Nothing dazzles like jeweled headgear.
Hell in a Handbag Productions presents the world premiere of SEXY BABY, A Docu-Musical. Swann Black wants a tiara. At least, that’s what her mom tells her. They are hitting the pageant circuit…hard! And the competition is ferocious…especially among the parents. Electric scooter bound mama, Siegfried & Roy daddies, white trash teen are all pushing for their tots to triumph. And the girls -and boy- are a diadem away from pleasing their parents. SEXY BABY wins the prize for crowning a sleazement.
Playwright and composer David Cerda rules Chicago as Queen of Camp. And in his newest creation, Cerda, along with long-time collaborator Scott Lamberty, captures the spectacle of pageantry. It’s a buffoonery bitchslap to parents‘ weird obsessions with kid beauty contests. The characters are outlandish stereotypes. And Cerda gives them things-people-shouldn’t-say-but-secretly-want-to dialogue. To give it a documentary feel, snippets of interviews from former contestants and judges are viewed on a TV screen (video production Peter Neville). It’s all very mean-spirited, vulgar and fricking hilarious. Under the direction of Derek Czaplewski, the enormous cast goes full force for a raunchy romp. They sing, zing, and sting together like a vaudevillian pageant.
I won’t spoil the real SEXY BABY outcome. But I am judging this show and there were some clear winners. I have to say the prettiest girl was Jeremy Myers (Swann). Myers is just lovely as a sweet innocent gal. Reigning champ, Elizabeth Lesinski (Leslie Ann) is a perfect pageant pro. She belts out a divalicious “Outta My Way.” An animated and charming Steve Love (Larry) easily wins Mr. Congeniality. An excitable and energetic Edlyn Griffin (Epiphany) is definitely the runner-up on comedic tots. But the crown belongs on Alex Grelle (Beyansay)’s polyurethane forehead. Grelle has a face for comedy. He is hysterical with big vacant eyes and goofy expressions. In every Handbag show, I’m transfixed by Grelle’s amusing presence. Not everybody can be a winner. And this show had multiple losers… but in a good way. The parents were awful and that made for spooftastic comedy.
SEXY BABY is just dirty fun. Grab a few friends, buy a few drinks, and get ready for plenty of laughs Cerda-style.
Always a winner to me, James describes it with ‘Pageant pleasures aplenty!’
Production photo courtesy of Rick Aguilar Studios.
Running Time: One hour and fifty minutes includes an intermission
At Mary’s Attic, 5400 W. Clark
Book & Lyrics by David Cerda
Music by David Cerda and Scott Lamberty
Directed by Derek Czaplewski
Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 7:30pm
VIP Packages: $35- $95 includes reserved seating, 1st drink and a tiara
Reservations: (800) 838-3006 or Brown Paper Tickets online www.brownpapertickets.com/event/224726