PHOTO CALL: Beth Leavel, Andrew Rannells and More Honor Charles Busch and Julie Halston at Abingdon Gala

News   PHOTO CALL: Beth Leavel, Andrew Rannells and More Honor Charles Busch and Julie Halston at Abingdon Gala Tony Award winners Alan Cumming and Beth Leavel, as well as Alison Fraser, Andrew Rannells and veteran drag performer Lypsinka honored Tony-nominated playwright Charles Busch and Julie Halston during the Abingdon Theatre Company's 19th annual gala Oct. 24 at Espace.

Frequent collaborator Carl Andress, who also staged Busch's Divine Sister and Die, Mommie, Die Off-Broadway, directed the evening's entertainment.

Leavel (The Drowsy Chaperone, Baby, It's You) was the emcee for the evening that offered performances by Cumming (Cabaret, The Seagull), Tony nominee Fraser (The Divine Sister, The Secret Garden), Tony nominee Rannells (The Book of Mormon, Jersey Boys) and Lypsinka (The Vampire Lesbians of Sodom).

Daryl Roth, who produced Busch's Divine Sister Off-Broadway (with Halston among the cast), is the honorary chair of the gala that also honors Abingdon board chairman Timothy P. Speiss. All proceeds will benefit the Abingdon's programming of new American plays.

Charles Busch is both a celebrated playwright and performer. His play The Tale of the Allergist's Wife, which began life at the Manhattan Theatre Club, later transferred to Broadway and was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play. He wrote the book for the Broadway mounting of Taboo, and he also penned the screenplays for and starred in the films "Die, Mommie, Die" and "Psycho Beach Party." His noted plays include The Lady in Question, Red Scare on Sunset and the long-running Vampire Lesbians of Sodom. Busch's recent Off-Broadway appearances also include The Third Story and Die, Mommie, Die. He made his directorial film debut with "A Very Serious Person." Halston is a veteran of Busch's plays and currently appears in the Off-Broadway world premiere of his latest comedy Olive and the Bitter Herbs. She last appeared Off-Broadway in The Divine Sister. Halston has also been seen in Shanghai Moon, Lady in Question, Times Square Angel, Red Scare on Sunset, Psycho Beach Party, The Vagina Monologues and White Chocolate. She guest starred on "Sexy and the City" and was seen in the Bernadette Peters revival of Gypsy.

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