Award-winning actor/playwright Charles Busch is getting another honor to accessorize his mantel with on Monday.
His frequent co-star Julie Halston will present him with the New York Innovative Theatre Awards’ 2011 Luminary award at Therapy (348 West 52nd Street) at 6 p.m.
On the eve of this barrage of ritualized lovin’, I phoned Charles for a chat.
Me: Congrats on all your awards, darlin’. You’re approaching Marian Seldes status.
Busch: It is rather aging, isn’t it? [Laughs.] At the Rochester Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, I was given a humanitarian award. Julie Halston said, “What have you ever done for anyone?” I said, “I’ve done plenty. Look at your career.”
Me: And you’ve given the world play after play. Tell me about your new one.
Busch: We start rehearsals Tuesday. It’s called Olive and the Bitter Herbs, at Primary Stages. It’s in the vein of Tale of the Allergist’s Wife. I’m not in this one, but Julie is once again — this is the 10th role I’ve written for her. I don’t know if that puts us in the Guinness Book of World Records. When we did The Divine Sister, she had a bad rehearsal day and said, “The headline could be ‘Muse Canned!'”
Me: Is Julie paying Olive?
Busch: No, Olive is played by a wonderful actress named Marcia Jean Kurtz. Julie and I have become cultists for her. We stalked her at one point. She thought we were goofing on her. I said, “No, no, we really think you’re the Jewish Duse!” Olive is a cantankerous actress whose biggest claim to fame is she starred in the “Give me the sausage” commercial in the ’80s. She has two mirrors, and in the mirror within the mirror she thinks she sees a young man. It’s a little bit of a mystical play — and very funny.
Me: My mirror says you’ve worked with Joan Rivers, who loves you.
Busch: We became close friends. She doesn’t suck the air out of the room. She’s really interested in other people and has a real conversation.
Me: I know! She deserves all the legend awards, too. Speaking of awards, let’s have a real conversation about the Tonys. I liked it.
Busch: I’m really not a cunt. I’m a glass-half-full kind of person. I thought it was emotional and the entertainment was entertaining.
Me: Wait — you’re not a cunt? That’s my lead!
Busch: That’s why I’m getting these legends awards. [Laughs.]