30 Years of Charles Busch – A Celebration to Populate Regional Theatres Across U.S.
By Adam Hetrick
The many works of playwright-actor Charles Busch will roll-out in regional theatres across the country as part of a 2014-15 partnership between the theatrical licensing company Samuel French, Inc. and Tony Award-winning producer Daryl Roth.
Each of the 20 Busch plays licensed by Samuel French, Inc. will receive a new regional production, sponsored by the licensing-publishing agency and Roth as part of 30 Years of Charles Busch – A Celebration. Samuel French, Inc. will also re-publish the entirety of Busch's play collection in a newly designed series.
The commemorative print collection will include such rarely-seen plays as Theodora: She-Bitch of Byzantium and Pardon My Inquisition, as well as Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, Psycho Beach Party, Red Scare on Sunset, Die Mommie Die!, The Divine Sister and Olive and the Bitter Herbs.
Expanding on the regional sponsorships, Samuel French, Inc. will also make the play collection available to other professional and amateur theatres groups across the U.S. Theatres will have the opportunity to meet with members of the original creative teams, as well as receive video messages about the various plays and pre-show announcements from Busch himself.
As previously reported, Primary Stages will produce a new, untitled Busch premiere Off-Broadway in March 2014. Collaborators Carl Andress and Julie Halston will be part of the project.
Busch, according to an earlier release, will star "as an out-of-work female impersonator who, when his elderly landlady dies in her sleep, takes on her identity in order to hang on to her valuable Greenwich Village townhouse. This 'perfect' scheme goes awry and leads to a wild path of twists and reversals plotted by an eccentric rogues gallery of outrageous schemers."
Roth has produced Busch's Tale of the Allergist's Wife on Broadway, as well as the films "The Lady in Question is Charles Busch" and "A Very Serious Person."
"Any occasion to celebrate Charles Busch's amazing career as a theatre artist is very special indeed," Roth said in a statement. "One of the highlights of my career is to have produced many of his smart, witty, hilarious, and well crafted plays including Tale of Allergist's Wife, Divine Sister, and Die Mommie Die! For me, working on a Charles Busch play is joyful and exhilarating, and it's wonderful to see audiences respond with such warmth and appreciation. I know this collection will be enjoyed by theatres all across the country. Happy 30th Anniversary, Charles!"
"Have I really been at this game for thirty years? How did that happen?" Busch asked in a statement. "Well, it's been thirty years of hard work, laughter, very few tears and all of it fascinating. It's been a great privilege to have been represented by Samuel French Ltd for three decades and in the past two decades in collaboration with Daryl Roth. I'm grateful for those relationships every year but this year I’m thrilled to share that joy with all of you."
Busch most recently appeared Off-Broadway in his comedies Judith of Bethulia and The Divine Sister. He also appeared in a staged reading of Matthew Lombardo's Tea at Five as Katherine Hepburn as a benefit for The Ali Forney Center. 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."
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