Frank and I saw *Red Scare on Sunset* on 4/24/17. It was a one-night-only staged reading of the Charles Busch play from 1991. Only the Divine Miss Busch could write a comedy about the Hollywood blacklist, and end the play with the central heroine naming names in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee! And have it be funny! Equally only, only Busch could play the central heroine!
The play was a scream. There was Busch of course, who was sublime. The Leading Lady Entrance is always a highlight in a Busch show, and you can tell that he enjoys it as much as the audience. The diva worship is EXTREME, and it's what we're after. It's what it's all about, Alfie. Tony Sheldon played two roles, he had the night off from *Amélie* (what a wacky way to spend your day off). Jonathan Walker was the leading man, he's often the leading man in these Busch productions, he was charming. Andy Halliday was Malcolm, the leading lady's manservant, he was very sweet. Alison Fraser was a Commie actress, she always delivers, she's a riot.
And the one and only Julie Halston was Pat Pilford, America's cutup. I got to the theater early, so early that I was there when Halston arrived. I would have said hello, but she was too quick. She's the Ethel to Charles Busch's Lucy, and there has never been a second banana who was more fruity or marvelously overripe.
The show was a benefit for Theater for the New City, the company that has presented many of Busch's shows back to the beginning.
Here's a photo of Busch from the 1991 production:
And Busch and Halston in the original production:
Busch is priceless, what he does is so steeped in the 1970s gay male culture of celebrity worship, it's thrilling that he's keeping that culture alive.
Is it disloyal to say that Halston was the funniest thing in the show? I think Busch would be OK with that, right? She plays a wacky comedienne with her own radio show. One of her jokes, "No, nothing to eat for me. I'm on a diet. My husband got me a gift and it wasn't the right size. IT WAS A BUICK!"