The Idea Place Presents BUSCH FEST
Don't miss the premiere of a new project from creative think tank The Idea Place. This winter, four early plays by drag theater legend Charles Busch will run in repertory on two programs, rotating Friday and Saturday nights. Program A will include Vampire Lesbians of Sodom and Sleeping Beauty of Coma. Program B will include Theodora She-Bitch of Byzantium and Pardon My Inquisition or Kiss The Blood Off My Castanets. This ambitious project will take the stage at Mary's Attic in Chicago's Andersonville neighborhood.
Charles Busch came to theatrical prominence in 1984 when his hit play Vampire Lesbians of Sodom went from being a group of misfits putting on a show in a tiny bar/art space called The Limbo Lounge in New York's run down Alphabet City, to a successful commercial production that became one of the longest running Off-Broadway shows of all time. Though Busch has since cemented his iconic stature as a writer with the Tony nominated The Tale of the Allergist's Wife and his films Die Mommy Die and Psycho Beach Party, the early plays he wrote and starred in as grande dame of The Limbo Lounge's resident company, Theatre In Limbo, set the tone for the rest of his legendary career. These campy, sharp-edged, gender bending one-act comedies pay loving homage to classic stage and film genres and their leading ladies.
The Idea Place thought that Mr. Busch's early plays deserved another breath. This collection of cult classics and rarely performed jewels show the dexterity of Busch's wit and his all consuming love for the stage. Brought to life in the spirit of the original productions, with a distinctive kiss from Chicago, an ensemble of nine dynamic performers, playing half a dozen roles each, will turn Mary's Attic into such exotic locales as Ancient Sodom, swinging Mod London, the Byzantine Empire, and the dark days of the Spanish Inquisition. It's going to be hilarious.
Now, more about the plays...
Vamprire Lesbians of Sodom
One of the longest running plays in Off-Broadway history, Vampire Lesbians of Sodom tells the saga of two fatally seductive vampiresses whose paths first collide in ancient Sodom. Their bitter rivalry as bloodsuckers but more importantly, as actresses, endures for two thousand years with stops along the way in 1920s silent movie Hollywood and contemporary Las Vegas.
Sleeping Beauty or Coma
The fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty set in the swinging mod London of the1960's. Sebastian Lore, a flamboyant megalomaniacal fashion designer, discovers a mod temp receptionist, Enid Wetwhistle, and tries to turn her into a high fashion model. She rebels and finds refuge with a wacky fairy godmother of a struggling fashion designer, and her photographer boyfriend.
PROGRAM A performance dates:
OPENING - Saturday, January 23, 2010, 7:30pm
Friday, January 29, 2010, 7:30pm
Saturday, February 6, 2010, 7:30pm
Friday, February 12, 2010, 7:30pm
Saturday, February 20, 2010, 7:30pm
Theodora She-Bitch of Byzantium
Empress Theodora, a former circus performer, is trapped in a loveless marriage to the perverse Emperor Justinian. Masquerading as a boy, she seeks a love potion from a gypsy camp where she meets Andreas, a handsome revolutionary who is plotting to kill her husband. Tragedy ensues.
Pardon My Inquisition or Kiss The Blood Off My Castanets
An outrageous comic melodrama set in Spain during the terrifying days of the Inquisition. Maria Garbonza, a wild spitfire of a prostitute, is madly in love with the soldier of fortune, Don Arturo. Unfortunately, he is engaged in an illicit affair with a married noblewoman that looks remarkably familiar. Maria's exacts a wicked act of revenge before she has a religious epiphany in this plot twisted out of A Tale of Two Cities.
PROGRAM B performance dates:
OPENING - Friday, January 22, 2010, 7:30pm
Saturday, January 30, 2010, 7:30pm
Friday, February 5, 2010, 7:30pm
Saturday, February 13, 2010, 7:30pm
Friday, Febraury 19, 2010, 7:30pm
Directing Theodora She-Bitch of Byzantium and Sleeping Beauty or Coma, as well as serving as Executive Producer, is Will Rogers (Associate Producer, Victory Gardens Theater's Fresh Squeezed Series). Andrew Hobgood, Artistic Director of The New Colony, will helm Vampire Lesbians of Sodom. Bare Boned Theatre Artistic Director Jeffrey Bouthiette will direct Pardon My Inquisition or Kiss the Blood Off My Castanets. Additional producers of Busch Fest are Arlene Malinowski and Sophie Gatins. Lee Strauberg is Production Designer and Stage Manager and Kate Setzer Kamphausen will serve as Costume Designer.
Shows run on Friday and Saturday only. Opening is Friday, January 22, 7:30 pm (Program B) and Saturday, January 23, 7:30 pm (Program A). Performances run through February 20. Performances are $12. Program A and Program B will alternate nights of the week. Check schedules above for details.
Performances are at the Mary's Attic (above Hamburger Mary's), 1500 N. Clark Street, in the heart of Chicago's Andersonville neighborhood. For tickets call 800.838.3006 or visit buschfest.com. For questions or information call 512.698.6254, email email@example.com, or visit buschfest.com.
Charles Busch is the author and star of such plays as The Lady in Question, Red Scare on Sunset and Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, which ran five years and is one of the longest running plays in Off-Broadway history. His play The Tale of the Allergist's Wife ran for 777 performances on Broadway and won Mr. 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, the latter of which won him the Best Performance Award at the Sundance Film Festival. In 2003, Mr. Busch received a special Drama Desk Award for career achievement as both performer and playwright. Mr. Busch made his directorial debut with the film A Very Serious Person, which premiered at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival, where it won an honorable mention. He is also the subject of the documentary film The Lady in Question is Charles Busch. His latest play The Third Story was produced in 2009 by MCC at the Lortel Theatre.
The Idea Place is a think tank of creative minded problem solvers and artists. Its members are committed to the exploration of good ideas, both their own and those of others, and live all over the country working in theater, film, event planning, fashion, home design, and graphic design to name a few. Under the leadership of Will Rogers (Chicago) and Emily Tarquin (Denver), The Idea Place's network of thinkers has worked and created in Chicago, Denver, Austin, Savannah, Boston, New York, Atlanta, and Los Angeles. The Idea Place loves ideas and is available to brainstorm anytime. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo credit: Walter McBride