Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Primary Stages Presents World Premiere of Charles Busch’s “Olive and Bitter Herbs” at 59E59 Theaters, 7/26-9/3

Charles Busch at home in New York. (Photo by Lia Chang)

New York, NY (July 20, 2011) – Primary Stages (Casey Childs, Founder & Executive Producer; Andrew Leynse, Artistic Director; Elliot Fox, Managing Director) launches its 27th season with the World Premiere of a work commissioned by the company, the new comedy, Olive and the Bitter Herbs by Charles Busch directed by Mark Brokaw.

The cast features Dan Butler as Trey, David Garrison as Robert, Julie Halston as Wendy, Marcia Jean Kurtz as Olive and Richard Masur as Sylvan.

Performances begin Tuesday, July 26, 2011 for a limited run through Saturday, September 3, 2011 at Primary Stages at 59E59 Theaters (59 East 59th Street, between Park and Madison Avenues). Opening night is Tuesday, August 16, 2011 at 7:00 p.m.

In Olive and the Bitter Herbs, the latest comedy from Tony-nominated playwright Charles Busch (The Divine Sister, The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife), actress Olive Fisher sees a ghost in her mirror, but that’s the least of her problems. Her radiator’s broken, the couple next door stink up her apartment with exotic cheeses, and the highlight of her long career was a sausage commercial in the ’80s. While she’s not the most popular tenant, her neighbors invite themselves over and she finds herself hosting a Passover Seder. But are Olive’s guests there to see her or the mysterious man in her mirror? Olive and the Bitter Herbs is a comedy about connecting to the people in our lives – those with us and those who have passed on.

The creative team includes Anna Louizos (Set), Suzy Benzinger (Costumes), Mary Louise Geiger (Lights) and John Gromada (Sound and Original Music). The Production Stage Manager is William H. Lang.

Performances for Olive and the Bitter Herbs are Tuesday – Thursday at 7:00 p.m., Fridays at 8:00 p.m., Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. & 8:00 p.m., with Sunday matinees at 3:00 p.m. on July 31, August 7, 14 & 21, and special Wednesday matinees at 2:00 p.m. on August 24 & 31. Following the public performances on August 18 & 25, there will be a special “Artist/Audience Talkback” for the attendees of those performances.

Single tickets for Olive and the Bitter Herbs are priced at $45 for the first two weeks (July 26 – August 7) and $65 for all remaining performances (August 9 – September 3). Tickets may be purchased by calling Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200, online at www.primarystages.org, or in person at the 59E59 THEATERS Box Office. Group Tickets (10+) are $35 each for the first two weeks (July 26 – August 7) and $45 each for all remaining performances (August 9 – September 3), and are available by calling (212) 840-9705, ext. 204. Please visit the website at www.primarystages.org, or call (212) 840-9705 for additional information.

The special Pay What You Can ticket offer (now in its fourth season at Primary Stages) will be available for the first two preview performances on July 26 & 27 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets go on sale two hours prior to curtain at a minimum of $1 per ticket and are limited to two (2) tickets per person, cash only, no change given, must provide email and mailing addresses and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, only at the 59E59 Theater Box Office.

For theater patrons 35 and under, Primary Stages offers specially priced $20 tickets (maximum two tickets per valid ID). Advance tickets are available through Ticket Central using code PS35. Failure to present a valid ID will result in an additional fee. All tickets are subject to availability.


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All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2011 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com.

Other Articles by Lia Chang:
Photos: Rick Shiomi Checks out Performing Arts Playwrights Series in the Asian American Pacific Islander Collection of Library of Congress; Attends “Asian American Plays for a New Generation” Book Signing in NY
Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at Library of Congress Features Photos of Thom Sesma’s Makeup Transformation as Scar in Disney’s The Lion King Las Vegas, Robert Lee and Leon Ko’s Heading East Starring BD Wong, David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish, and Samrat Chakrabarti and Sanjiv Jhaveri’s Bakwas Bumbug!
“In Rehearsal”: Lia Chang Theater Portfolio Features Rehearsal Photos of David Henry Hwang’s Broadway Bound Chinglish and Samrat Chakrabarti and Sanjiv Jhaveri’s “Bakwas Bumbug! on View in the Asian Division Reading Room at Library of Congress through 8/2
Photos: Playwright David Henry Hwang in rehearsal at the Goodman Theatre for World Premiere of Chinglish
David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish is Broadway Bound this Fall; Goodman Theatre Photo Feature
Photos: Christmas in June w/ Samrat Chakrabarti and Sanjiv Jhaveri’s “Bakwas Bumbug” at The Wild Project in NY
Spotlight on Shanghai Moon’s Thom Sesma
My portrait of “Thom Sesma’s Makeup Transformation into Scar in The Lion King” on view in HHC’s New York City: IN FOCUS, Vol. 2
Multimedia: Exclusive photos and video of Disney’s The Lion King Las Vegas -In the Makeup Chair with Thom Sesma
Photo Call: BD Wong and the Cast of Heading East at the Asia Society
Photos: André De Shields leads the cast of Charles Smith’s Knock Me A Kiss at The National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, NC, 8/2-8/4
Photos: “How To Succeed” stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rose Hemingway & John Larroquette at Lord & Taylor Fifth Ave
Photos: Phylicia Rashad, Michael McElroy, Marva Hicks in Broadway Inspirational Voices “Wondrous Grace” Concert in NY
Photos: Willie Reale, Frances McDormand, Lewis Black, Bela Fleck, Renee Goldsberry, Duncan Sheik, Lisa Benavides, Abigail Washburn, Tim Blake Nelson at The 52nd Street Project Benefit
Photos: David Duchovny, John Earl Jelks, Amanda Peet, Tracee Chimo at Opening Night Party of Neil LaBute’s Break of Noon
Multimedia: Promises, Promises’ Stars Kristin Chenoweth and Sean Hayes at Lord & Taylor Fifth Ave
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography

Lia Chang Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography


Lia Chang is an actor, performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multimedia journalist.

As a photographer and videographer, Lia collaborates with artists, organizations and companies in establishing their documentary photo archive and social media presence. She has been documenting her colleagues and contemporaries in the arts, fashion and journalism since making her stage debut as Liat in the National Tour of South Pacific, with Robert Goulet and Barbara Eden. Lia currently plays Nurse Lia on “One Life to Live”. She has appeared in Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and “New York Undercover”.

Selections of Lia’s archive of Asian Pacific Americans in the arts, fashion, journalism, politics and space are now in the newly created LIA CHANG THEATER PORTFOLIO in the ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN PERFORMING ARTS COLLECTION housed in the Library of Congress Asian Division’s Asian American Pacific Islander Collection.

Lia’s portraits and performance photos have appeared in Vanity Fair, Gourmet, German Elle, Women’s Wear Daily, The Paris Review, TV Guide, Daily Variety, Interior Design, American Theatre, Broadwayworld.com, Life & Style, OUT, New York Magazine, InStyle, Timeout.com, Villagevoice.com, Playbill.com, Theatermania.com, thelmagazine.com, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, USA Today, The Boston Globe, New York Times and Washington Post. A former syndicated arts and entertainment columnist for KYODO News, Lia is the New York Bureau Chief for AsianConnections.com. She writes about culture, style and Asian American issues for a variety of publications and this Backstage Pass with Lia Chang blog.

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