"Sexy Baby" (Hell in a Handbag): Crowning A Sleazement

"Sexy Baby" (Hell in a Handbag):  Crowning A Sleazement

#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


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