Tag Archives: new york city

The Uproarious and Exquisitely Divine Sister

3 Apr

Friday evening I saw the legendary and ambrosial Charles Busch in the uproarious Off-Broadway confection, “The Divine Sister“, also written by Mr. Busch.  This was my second visit to St. Veronica’s, the convent in which Mother Superior (Busch) and Sister Acacius (played by the always-inspiring and hysterical Julie Halston) reside. Possibly the best-written and performed play currently Off-Broadway (and Broadway, come to think of it), “The Divine Sister”  will make you laugh until all demons within are spewn-out onto the streets of New York City, or more specifically 15 Vandam Street where the show is playing until May 1 at the Soho Playhouse).  The other cast members are celestial as well:  Amy Rutberg who is giddily-glorious as Agnes (the young postulant who has healing powers and sees visions),  Jonathan Walker (who does a surprisingly accurate impersonation of fellow castmember Julie Halston…you just gotta see it to know what I’m talkin’ about)  in the dual-roles of  Jeremy & Brother Venerius, Jennifer Van Dyck (who I have adored since her stint on “The Days & Nights of Molly Dodd” and who is transcendent  in dual-roles as Mrs. Levinson & Timothy), and the immaculately marvelous Alison Fraser as both Sister Walburga (wait til you hear that dialect!) and Mrs. Macduffie (come to think of it, wait til you hear THAT dialect too…Ms. Fraser’s performance is truly heavenly.)  How about that for a run-on sentence!

The Divine "The Divine Sister" Cast

Here is how “The Divine Sister” is described in the press release: 

The Divine Sister is an outrageous comic homage to nearly every Hollywood film involving nuns. Evoking such films as ‘The Song of Bernadette,’ ‘The Bells of St. Mary’s,’ ‘The Singing Nun’ and ‘Agnes of God,’ The Divine Sister tells the story of St. Veronica’s indomitable Mother Superior (author Charles Busch) who is determined to build a new school for her Pittsburgh convent. Along the way, she has to deal with a young postulant who is experiencing ‘visions,’ sexual hysteria among her nuns, a sensitive schoolboy in need of mentoring, a mysterious nun visiting from the Mother House in Berlin, and a former suitor intent on luring her away from her vows.” It’s a “madcap trip through Hollywood religiosity” that “evokes the wildly comic but affectionately observed theatrical style of the creator of Die, Mommie, Die! and Psycho Beach Party.”

 

The Sisters take you on a ride too!

Nectarous Charles Busch as "Mother Superior"

 

Charles Busch is equally masterful in his humorous yet moving post-show Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS speech, which as you know, makes one want to contribute even more to this worthy cause (as well as the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative and Al Hirschfeld Free Health Clinic which the donations also support). 

 

The (holy) spirit of the show SO moved me that immediately afterwards I found myself in the Gramercy Park area at a church auditorium school dance (FOR REAL!  Don’t ask.). 

Neither a student nor a chaperone...

 I’m not quite as hep as I used to be when it comes to the latest dance crazes, but I did manage to teach the kids a mean “Bottle Dance” from “Fiddler on the Roof“. 

However, when it was discovered that I BYOB’d with a different kind of Busch for the aforementioned dance number, I quickly hightailed it out of there and skipped back to the streets of NYC where I feel most comfortable (or at least I keep telling myself that as I am 4 months behind on my rent and anticipate a happy future with all the urchins of the street who I know will welcome me with open arms and possibly even open cans of half-eaten tuna.  How’s THAT for another run-on sentence!)  But, lest I digress, “The Divine Sister” is truly one to check out and I URGE you to see it before it closes or you find yourself homeless, whichever comes first.

"That's Kentertainment!" interviews Charles Busch.

Audio Interview: “The Other Steve & Edie” visit “The Kentertainment Report”!

4 Feb

Wednesdays at 12:15pm you can usually find me at the Sirius/XM Radio Studios in Midtown Manhattan doing my (mostly)-weekly “Kentertainment Report”.  This takes place during “The Frank DeCaro Show“, which is hosted by comedian/author/host Frank DeCaro (natch) and his ever-suffering sidekick (and producer) Doria Biddle.  Here’s a picture of us at the Sirius/XM Studios in West Hollywood, CA., taken August 8, 2007- the first day I met Doria in person.

Doria, Frank & Ken, together again…for the first time. And not in that order.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I generally dish on the latest Broadway, theatre and showbiz happenings around the US and environs, but also am lucky enough to interview special guests (recently folks like Donna McKechnie, Kristin Chenoweth, Christopher Sieber, etc.).  This Wednesday Frank and Doria celebrated 7 years together on the air, and as an anniversary gift, I brought in a couple of fantabulous talents as a surprise: Stephen Wallem and Edie Falco (both currently in Showtime’s NURSE JACKIE) a.k.a “The Other Steve and Edie”.  How’s that for a title?  I LOVE THAT THEY THOUGHT THAT UP!  And they even have a few upcoming cabaret dates to show it off.

The Other Steve and Edie. How clever is that?!

 
They will be performing at the Laurie Beechman Theatre in NYC this weekend, February 4, 5 & 6.  (I hear that all the shows are now currently sold-out but there is a waiting-list.)  When asked what the audience could expect, they were mostly mum on the merriment (Edie: “I’m not saying…partially because I really don’t know…We’re still trying to figure out what we’re going to do on Friday!”) but the Laurie Beechman website has this description:  The Other Steve and Edie is conceived by Mr. Wallem and Ms. Falco, with musical direction by three-time After Dark Award winner, Beckie Menzie and Direction by Tony Humrichouser. Throughout the show, the duo will take on songs from contemporary pop to jazz standards, with a healthy dose of show tunes and original material, and even a salute to the other Steve and Eydie.   Sounds good to me! 
                                          
I first met Stephen years ago when we both lived in Chicago and he was performing in his highly-acclaimed show, “Off the Wallem” (how ’bout that guy and his killer titles?!!) and Edie I know as much (or even more) for her stunning theatre work (SIDE MAN, FRANKIE & JOHNNY IN THE CLAIR DE LUNE, ‘NIGHT MOTHER, etc.) as I do for her award-winning TV work (SOPRANOS, NURSE JACKIE, etc.).  These two are so sweet, immensely-talented and overall good sports…this interview came together at the last minute and Steve and Edie were game enough to come out in the slushy snow, run around the various floors of the studio building, check and re-check in with security (none of whom at that time knew me as I’m usually on an hour earlier which made Edie jokingly [?] wonder if I actually did a radio segment there) and were barely settled into their chairs when they found themselves live on the air.  I found it all to be a hoot and they did too.  Back in Chicago, the wonderful actor Charles Durning told me that the most talented people in showbiz are also the nicest and most down-to-earth because they have nothing to prove and nothing to hide…their talent speaks for them.  I have always remembered this and it has always proven to be true…and this case is no exception.  I hope you enjoy the interview.  Below is a link to the audio track with some pictures thrown in (in case you like your audio a little more “visual”).

 

Ken with Edie Falco & Stephen Wallem.