Primary Stages Cancels Olive and the Bitter Herbs as 59E59 Theaters Announces Aug. 27-28 Closure

News   Primary Stages Cancels Olive and the Bitter Herbs as 59E59 Theaters Announces Aug. 27-28 Closure
Primary Stages has cancelled both Aug. 27 performances of the new Charles Busch world-premiere comedy Olive and the Bitter Herbs, as Mayor Bloomberg announces that the New York City mass transit system will shut down at noon Saturday.

Marcia Jean Kurtz
Marcia Jean Kurtz Photo by James Leynse

Representatives for the production, which plays 59E59 Theaters, said that both the 2 PM matinee and 8 PM evening performances of Olive have been cancelled due to the expected weather from Hurricane Irene, which prompted a city-wide shutdown of all mass transit, which will begin just hours prior to Saturday matinee performances. Olive and the Bitter Herbs is not scheduled for performances on Aug. 28.

In addition, representatives for 59E59 Theaters, which also houses the "Summer Shorts" Festival and Captain Ferguson's School of Balloon Warfare, said that all performances scheduled for Aug. 27-28 had been cancelled due to weather and the transit shutdown. will keep readers up-to-date on the status of Broadway and major Off-Broadway productions throughout the weekend. Disney Theatricals recently announced that all weekend performances of Mary Poppins and The Lion King have been cancelled.

Primary Stages commissioned the comedy about a woman contacted from "beyond" and from the apartment next door, which began previews July 26 and officially opened Aug. 16. Performances are scheduled through Sept. 3. Mark Brokaw directs.

Marcia Jean Kurtz (The Loman Family Picnic) stars as Olive, alongside Julie Halston, a veteran of Busch's plays (including The Divine Sister), as Wendy, Dan Butler ("Frasier") as Trey, David Garrison (By The Way, Meet Vera Stark) as Robert and Richard Masur ("Rhoda," "One Day at a Time") as Sylvan. According to Primary Stages, "Actress Olive Fisher sees a ghost in her mirror, but that's the least of her problems. Her radiator's broken, the couple next door stink up her apartment with exotic cheeses, and the highlight of her long career was a sausage commercial in the '80s. While she's not the most popular tenant, her neighbors invite themselves over and she finds herself hosting a Passover Seder. But are Olive's guests there to see her or the mysterious man in her mirror? Olive and the Bitter Herbs is a comedy about connecting to the people in our lives — those with us and those who have passed on."

The creative team includes Anna Louizos (set design), Suzy Benzinger (costume design), M.L. Geiger (lighting design) and John Gromada (sound and original music).

Busch is the author and star of such plays as The Lady in Question, Red Scare on Sunset and Vampire Lesbians of Sodom. His play The Tale of the Allergist's Wife ran for 777 performances on Broadway and won Busch the Outer Circle Critics John Gassner Award and received a Tony nomination for Best Play. He wrote and starred in the film versions of his plays Psycho Beach Party and Die Mommie Die. Busch received a special Drama Desk Award for career achievement as both performer and playwright. His latest play, The Divine Sister, was produced in 2010 by Daryl Roth and Bob Boyett at the Soho Playhouse.

Tickets for Olive and the Bitter Herbs, at the 59E59 Theaters, are available by calling (212) 279-4200. For more information, visit

David Garrison, Dan Butler, Marcia Jean Kurtz, Richard Masur and Julie Halston
David Garrison, Dan Butler, Marcia Jean Kurtz, Richard Masur and Julie Halston Photo by James Leynse
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