THE LADY IN QUESTION

Bitter Charles Busch Won’t Do Just Anything For A Laugh

Charles Busch has done some wild things on stage: The playwright… once played a hot-tempered prostitute named Maria Garbonza in 1986’s Pardon My Inquisition, and wasn’t afraid to get frisky. “At the end of the first scene in the local tavern, to make my lover jealous, I unbuttoned the trousers of a village youth and went down on him,” he recalls. Still, he says, “It was all a stage illusion, dear.” The biggest misconception about his work is that he’s an “anything-for-a-laugh kind of performer,” he says. “I do surprisingly little to get a laugh.” [His new show] Olive and the Bitter Herbs won’t have his usual onstage antics, but it’s the tenth play he’s written for longtime muse Julie Halston. “She’s one of the funniest people on the planet—offstage and on!”

Charles Busch quoted in the August 12 issue of Next MagazineOlive and the Bitter Herbs plays off-Broadway at 59E59 Theaters through Sept 3.