Playwright and frequent drag performer Charles Busch will be heard but not seen with original Applause Tony nominee Penny Fuller in the Off-Broadway musical Diva: Live From Hell, by Sean Patrick Monahan (book) and Alexander Sage Oyen (score).
Monahan also stars in the musical, which is loosely based on All About Eve, the source material for the 1970 Tony-winning musical Applause. In this version, Desmond Channing, a teenager who has been the star of all the productions at his Florida high school, is suddenly challenged by Evan Harris, described as “a hotshot transfer student from New York [who] rips the rug out from under him. Desmond responds, as any diva would, with lethal force.”
Diva is scheduled to run March 23–April 9 at Theater for the New City’s Community Space Theater, 155 First Avenue in Manhattan. It features choreography by Jennifer Jancuska, set design by Daniel Geggatt & Caitlyn Murphy, costume design by Tilly Grimes, sound design by Emily Auciello, and lighting design by Daisy Long. It is produced by Jenna Grossano. The assistant director is Max Friedman.
Busch told Playbill, “I've known Sean since he was 11. He was a remarkable kid and he's turned out to be a remarkable young man. Theatre for the New City produced my first play in 1982 and I‘m enormously touched and proud that they are producing Sean‘s play. The circle goes ‘round.”
Busch and Emmy winner Fuller (Sunday in the Park With George, TV’s The Elephant Man) appeared together in 2016 as bosom buddies Mame and Vera in a revival of Auntie Mame at the Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor, New York. In Diva, Busch (Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, The Tale of the Allergist's Wife) will voice the unseen manager of what’s described as a “dingy cabaret venue in Hell, where Desmond Channing is doomed to perform his torturous act for eternity.”
Fuller, who was nominated for a Tony Award for her portrayal of Eve Harrington in Applause, will voice the grandmother of Desmond Channing.
Tickets cost $18 and available online at theaterforthenewcity.net or by phone (212) 254-1109.
Busch is the author and frequent 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. The comedy won Busch the Outer Circle Critics John Gassner Award and received a Tony nomination for Best Play. In 2003, Busch received a special Drama Desk Award for career achievement as both performer and playwright. He is also the subject of the documentary film The Lady in Question Is Charles Busch.
Among his upcoming projects, Busch will be appearing with Tom Judson April 9 at the Savannah Repertory Theatre in Savannah, Georgia, where that company is doing a production of Vampire Lesbians of Sodom. Busch will perform his cabaret show there that night. Click here to order tickets.
Busch was a special guest performer on Playbill’s Broadway on the High Seas 7 cruise in 2016. Playbill’s inaugural river cruise along the Rhône River in May 2017 is sold out, but cabins are available for the Rhine River cruise in August 2017, featuring Seth Rudetsky, Andréa Burns, Faith Prince, Terrence Mann, Charlotte d’Amboise, and more exciting talent to be announced. Visit PlaybillTravel.com for booking and information