"Never eat strudel baked by a Nazi" diva pianist Gertrude Garnet learns in The Lady in Question, a 1989 Charles Busch take on 1940s anti-Nazi melodramas. Again donning his drag gear as Garnet, Busch leads a reading of the comedy April 29 at Theater for the New City.
A spoof of such movies as "Escape" and "Notorious," The Lady in Question finds an egotistical international concert pianist distracted from herself by a handsome American professor, seeking to rescue his mother from a Nazi prison. Populating the Bavaria of 1940, which Garnet finds to be a particularly warm and friendly place, are a Fuhrer-loving Baroness (to be read by two-time Tony nominee Alison Fraser), a psychotic Nazi youth in blonde braids, and an overly dramatic, wheelchair bound former actress who declares she must "walk to freedom" in order to escape the Third Reich — and then attempts just that.
Busch's Tale of the Allergist's Wife is currently playing at Broadway's Barrymore Theatre. Among the camp classics he's crafted are Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, Sleeping Beauty or Coma and Psycho Beach Party, which was recently made into a movie.
Joining Busch and Fraser are Lady in Question original cast members Julie Halston (Kitty, The Countess de Borgia), Mark Hamilton (Professor Mittelhoffer and Dr. Maximilian), Andy Halliday (Hugo Hoffman and Lotte Von Elsner) and Theresa Arceves (Heidi Mittelhoffer). Also in the cast are Carl Andress, David Staller, Peter Borzotta and Patricia O'Connell.
Tickets are $20. Theater for the New City is located at 155 First Avenue between 9th and 10th Street. For reservations, call (212) 254-1109. — By Christine Ehren