Die Mommie Die!

December 3, 2007

Die Mommie Die, now playing at the New World Stages here in New York City. Die Mommie Die is Mr. Busch’s return to Broadway where he tells the story of Angela Arden with a failed marriage to a Hollywood film mogul she no longer loves. Also, with this failed marriage, comes two problematic children.

The play begins in 1954 with a series of projections telling the story of Arden’s falling and fading star hood. Once America’s Sweetheart (as told through a series of magazine covers, movie stills and album covers), Angela now finds herself a box office poison. It also turns out that, “Marie Antoinette” – The Musical- was a flop. Her career unwinds and her singing abilities falter. Also, there’s mention of the tragic suicide death of her twin sister, Barbara. All of these tragedies lead to her retirement from show business.
Now set in 1967 (that’s where we join the action), she’s married to Sol Sussman, a very famous Hollywood producer who’s career seems to be on the decline as well. He’s back from Europe trying-with no success-to raise funds for his latest feature. His over-excited/mini-skirt wearing daughter, Edie is overjoyed at his return. Whereas his wife Angela is more interested in trying to revive her career and leaving Hollywood for a Greenwich Village apartment to share with her tennis instructor lover, Tony Parker. You realize that perhaps Tony may be more interested in Angela’s money, or perhaps something else. Needless to say, the affair is discovered. Sol refuses to divorce her, cancels her comeback tour of the Catskill Resorts and worst of all cancels all her charge cards. She becomes a prisoner in her own home. Her only hope is murder, which she tries to accomplish, but not quite. I would like to tell you exactly what happened, but I think you should go see it for yourself. It’s too funny to even explain.

Any man can put on a dress and be funny, but Charles Busch is perfect as the faded diva. It takes a good actor to make the audience forget he’s a man and truly believe in him as a woman. Charles Busch’s’ walk, gestures, facial expressions, voice and mannerisms all carry a delicate feminine overtone.

Die Mommie Die! will have you grabbing your sides from laughing so much that I strongly suggest you stretch before entering the theater.

By Sae Na Park (Korea)

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