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Monday, March 25, 2019

Grab your panties and set sail on another hilarious voyage of POSEIDON! An Upside Down Musical

"She's got nothin' on underneath" - Mike Rogo (Ernest Borgnine)
"Just panties. What else do I need?" - Linda Rogo (Stella Stevens)
And what else does one need from a musical parody of the classic 1972 disaster film, The Poseidon Adventure, but a show-stopping song called "Just Panties." I'm still humming this catchy tune three days after seeing Hell in a Handbag Productions' revival of their 2002 show, POSEIDON! An Upside Down Musical.

Obviously it does help to be familiar with the movie, but I think even a Poseidon novice would be able to enjoy this hilarious spoof since the story is quite easy to follow. After a tidal wave turns an ocean liner upside down, the surviving passengers then have to climb up to the bottom of the ship in order to escape. And breaking into song occasionally - as one does in a musical - helps to lighten the dark mood of such a dangerous situation. So we get to hear Belle Rosen/Shelley Winters sing "(In the Water) I'm a Very Skinny Lady" before she dives in, which is one of the many highlights of the show.

The creative genius behind this amusing parody is Handbag's Artistic Director David Cerda, who wrote the book and lyrics as well as the music (with Scott Lamberty). And director Derek Van Barham has assembled an engaging cast with stellar comedic skills, including Elizabeth Lesinski (as Linda), Tommy Bullington (as Belle), Michael S. Miller (as Belle's husband Manny), Stevie Love (as singer Nonnie Parry), David Lipschutz (as Reverend Scott) and Frankie Leo Bennett (as Robin). I also enjoyed Katherine Bellantone's scene-stealing performance as Susan/Pamela Sue Martin whose all-consuming desire for Scott made me laugh. And, finally, I must mention the spot-on '70s outfits by costume designer Beth Laske-Miller.

So if you're a fan of the original movie or disaster films or just fun musical parodies, I highly recommend that you book passage on the SS Poseidon for an adventure that you will not soon forget.

POSEIDON! An Upside Down Musical runs through April 28 at Chicago's Edge Theater (5451 N. Broadway). For tickets, go to or call (800) 838-3006.

Photo credit: Rick Aguilar Studios

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