Charles Busch's wild parody of gothic horror films and showbiz personalities, Die! Mommy! Die!, is such a smash hit at the Coast Playhouse in West Hollywood, its co-producers Kenneth Elliott and Don Fairbanks have announced a second extension, to Sept. 26.
The comedy, starring the drag actor and playwright Busch (Psycho Beach Party, Vampire Lesbians of Sodom), was to close Aug. 8, but was first extended to Aug. 29. Its new added weeks, to late September, are no surprise to industry folk who read the rave review in the trade paper Variety.
Die! Mommy! Die! opened July 16 after starting previews July 8. The piece was subtitled The Fall of the House of Sussmanand was written as a parody of such 1960s gothic horror films as Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte "crossed with the Greek tragedy, Electra."
Die! Mommy! Die! stars Busch as Angela Andrews, an aging movie star who may have killed her rich, Hollywood producer husband. The latter is played by Greg Mullavey, best known for his recurring role on TV's "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman." Also in the cast are Dorie Barton, Carl Andress, Wendy Worthington (as "Bootsie") and Mark Capri.
According to a Coast spokesperson, Busch originally just wanted to adapt Electra so he could play Clytemnestra, but he found the costumes "so drab, so Greek," so he added the horror element and changed the time to 1967 -- "a truly groovy year in fashion." Busch's usual partner in comedy, Kenneth Elliott, directed Mommy!Elliott also staged the West Coast premiere of Busch's Vampire Lesbians of Sodom nearly a decade ago.
Coinciding with pre-production of Die! Mommy! Die! was the filming of Busch's "Psycho Beach Party" feature, based on his hit Off-Broadway play.
The independent film, directed by Robert Lee King ("Boys Life," "The Disco Years"), stars Thomas Gibson ("Dharma and Greg"), Beth Broderick ("Sabrina the Teenage Witch"), Ruth Williamson, Matt Keeslar ("Waiting for Guffman") and others, according to pre-production information.
In the picture, Busch plays a lady detective, Capt. Monica Stark. In the Off Broadway original he played the Satanic beach girl, Chicklet.
Busch's other works include The Green Heart, The Lady In Question and Queen Amarantha. His comedy, The Tale of the Allgerist's Wife will have its world premiere in 1999-2000 at the Manhattan Theatre Club.
For information about Die! Mommy! Die! call (323) 660-8587.
-- By Kenneth Jones
and David Lefkowitz