Casting Announced for Hell in a Handbag’s Chicago Premiere of THE DIVINE SISTER

Divine Sister Cast

Hell in a Handbag Productions is pleased to announce casting for its Chicago premiere of THE DIVINE SISTER, the hilarious comic homage to nearly every Hollywood nun film ever made, by the divine high priestess of camp Charles Busch and directed by Shade Murray. THE DIVINE SISTER will play June 4 – July 10, 2016 at Ebenezer Lutheran Church (yes, an actual church!), 1650 W. Foster Ave. in Handbag’s home base, Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood.

THE DIVINE SISTER will feature Handbag ensemble members David Cerda as The Mother Superior, Ed Jones as Sr. Acacius and Chad as Mrs. Levinson/Timmy with newcomers Charlotte Mae Ellison as Agnes, Maria Stephens as Sr. Walburga and Mrs. MacDuffie and Levi Holloway as Jeremy and Br. Venerius.

Tickets for THE DIVINE SISTER and the Handbag 2016 Season subscriptions are currently available at or by calling (800) 838-3006.

THE DIVINE SISTER is an affectionate parody of nearly every nun movie to come out of of Hollywood. Lifting from films like The Song of Bernadette, The Bells of St. Mary’s, The Singing Nun and Agnes of God, THE DIVINE SISTER tells the story of St. Veronica’s indomitable Mother Superior (David Cerda) who is determined to build a new school for her Pittsburgh convent. Along the way, she has to deal with a young postulant who is experiencing “visions,” sexual hysteria among her nuns, a sensitive schoolboy in need of mentoring, a mysterious nun visiting from the Mother House in Berlin and a former suitor intent on luring her away from her vows. Funny, clever and sweet, THE DIVINE SISTER springs from the mind of Charles Busch, creator of the camp classics, Die, Mommie, Die!, Psycho Beach Party and Vampire Lesbians of Sodom.

The production team for THE DIVINE SISTER includes: John Holt (scenic design), Cat Wilson (lighting design), Kate Setzer Kamphausen (costume design), Mealah Heidenreich (props design), Mierka Gierten (casting and production advisor), AJ Wright (associate producer), Victoria Rector (stage manager) and Mitch Anthony (technical director).



Playwright: Charles Busch

Director: Shade Murray

Cast: David Cerda (Mother Superior), Chad (Mrs. Levinson, Timmy), Charlotte Mae Ellison (Agnes), Levi Holloway (Jeremy, Br. Venerius), Ed Jones (Sr. Acacius), Maria Stephens (Sr. Walburga, Mrs. MacDuffie).

Location: Ebenezer Lutheran Church, 1650 W. Foster Ave., Chicago

Dates: Previews: Saturday, June 4 at 8 pm, Sunday, June 5 at 7 pm and Thursday, June 9 at 8 pm

Regular run: Saturday, June 11 – Sunday, July 10, 2016

Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm; Sundays at 7 pm. Please note: there will be an added performances on Wednesday, June 22 at 8 pm, there will not be performances on Saturday, June 18 and Sunday June 26.

Tickets: Previews $16. Regular run $28. VIP tickets with cocktail $38. Group rates 10+ $21. Tickets are currently available at or by calling (800) 838-3006or at Ebenezer Lutheran Church 30 minutes prior to curtain.

About The Creative Team

Charles Busch (Playwright) is the author and star of such plays as The Divine Sister, The Lady in Question, Red Scare on Sunset and Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, which ran five years and is one of the longest running plays in Off-Broadway history. His play The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife ran for 777 performances on Broadway and won Mr. Busch the Outer Circle Critics John Gassner Award and received a Tony Award nomination for Best Play. He wrote and starred in the film versions of his plays, Psycho Beach Party and Die Mommie Die, the latter of which won him the Best Performance Award at the Sundance Film Festival. In 2003, Mr. Busch received a special Drama Desk Award for career achievement as both performer and playwright. Mr. Busch made his directorial debut with the film A Very Serious Person, which premiered at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival, where it won an honorable mention. He is also the subject of the documentary film The Lady in Question is Charles Busch. His many plays are published by Samuel French.

Shade Murray (Director) is an ensemble member at A Red Orchid Theater, where his directing credits include the upcoming world premiere Ike Holter’s Sender. Also at A Red Orchid: Brett Neveu’s Pilgrim’s Progress, Accidentally Like a Martyr (with David Cerda), Mud Blue Sky, Trevor, The Aliens, The Butcher of Baraboo, Abigail’s Party and Kimberly Akimbo. Other Chicago directing credits include projects at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Writers’ Theatre, Victory Gardens, Second City, Steep Theater, Next Theater, Wildclaw Theater, Strawdog Theatre, Cole Theater, Roadworks Productions, and others. Shade teaches acting and directing at the University of Chicago and DePaul University.

About Hell in a Handbag Productions

Founded in 2002, Hell in a Handbag Productions is Chicago’s only theater dedicated to camp and the preservation, exploration, and celebration of works ingrained in the realm of popular culture via theatrical productions through parody, music and homage. Handbag is a 501(c)(3) Not for Profit Corporation.

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