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Cast Announced for Premiere of Charles Busch's "The Third Story " at La Jolla Playhouse

from Broadwayworld.com, posted Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The cast and creative team have been assembled for the world premiere of the imaginative, hilarious comic drama The Third Story, written by Charles Busch and directed by Carl Andress. Several cast members will perform more than one role, highlighting the play's central theme of dual identity. The Third Story plays September 16 through October 19, 2008 in the Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre at La Jolla Playhouse.

The Third Story is an uplifting and very funny play that is composed of three interconnected stories: a realistic tale of a mother and son screenwriting team in the 1940's, a B-movie about the uneasy alliance between a mob queen and a frosty lady scientist and a Russian fairy tale in which a painfully shy Princess makes a dark pact with a mercurial old witch.

The cast features: Charles Busch (Baba Yaga/Queenie Bartlett) who recently starred in his own screenplay of Die, Mommie, Die! and is the author of such critically acclaimed plays as The Tale of the Allergist's Wife; Mary Beth Peil (Peg/Dr. Rutenspitz) a Tony-nominated actress most recently seen on Broadway in Sunday in the Park with George, whose credits include Film: Stepford Wives and TV: Grams in Dawson's Creek; Jonathan Walker (Drew/Steve) whose credits include Film: Michael Clayton and Broadway: Twentieth Century and After the Fall; Jennifer Van Dyck (Constance Hudson) whose recent credits include Film: Across the Universe, TV: New Amsterdam, Broadway: Hedda Gabler; Scott Parkinson (Zygote) who performed on Broadway in The Coast of Utopia; and Rebecca Levy (Vasalisa/Verna/Miss Tinsley) a third-year MFA student at UC San Diego who has also performed in Lulu at Harvard University and Peter Pan at Berkshire Theatre Festival.

"I have great confidence in our cast members and creatives," says Busch. "Carl and I are in a wonderful place in our long collaboration where we think as one and yet also challenge each other." Busch continues, "I am thrilled that we have such a crackerjack team of skilled and highly imaginative designers. The three stories are told in three very different theatrical styles and are interconnected in a cinematic fashion."

Directed by Carl Andress (Die, Mommie, Die!, A Wonderful Life), with original music composed by Lewis Flinn (Die, Mommie, Die!, The Little Dog Laughed), The Third Story features: Scenic Design by David Gallo (A Catered Affair, Xanadu, Radio Golf), Costume Design by Gregory Gale (Cyrano de Bergerac; The Wedding Singer); Lighting Design by Christopher Akerland (Talk Radio); Sound Design by Walter Trarbach (The Farnsworth Invention), Hair and Wig Design by Tom Watson (Into the Woods, Lestat), and Dramaturgy by Shirley Fishman. Stage Manager is Lisa Porter, Associate Producer is Dana I. Harrel, and Production Manager is Peter J. Davis.

The Third Story was commissioned by the La Jolla Playhouse and is inspired by Busch's life-long interest in film history.

"The themes in the play are: mothers having to release their children out into the world, no matter how painful that may be." Busch says, "Then the larger theme is how writers use everything in their lives for their creative work, consciously and unconsciously, past and present, honoring, sentimentalizing and cannibalizing their relationships."

Preview performances begin September 16th. The Third Story officially opens Sunday, September 21st and closes October 19th. La Jolla Playhouse performances of The Third Story are sponsored by COOLEY GODWARD KRONISH.

Performance times are Tuesday and Wednesday, 7:30pm; Thursday through Saturday, 8:00pm; and Sundays 7:00pm. Matinees are held on Saturdays and Sundays at 2:00pm. Single ticket prices range from $29 to $62. To purchase: call (858) 550-1010 or go online to www.lajollaplayhouse.org.

The nationally acclaimed, Tony Award-winning La Jolla Playhouse is known for its tradition of creating the most exciting and adventurous new work in regional theatre. Led by Artistic Director Christopher Ashley and Managing Director Steven B. Libman, the Playhouse was founded in 1947 by Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire and Mel Ferrer, and is now considered one of the most well respected not-for-profit theatres in Southern California. During the tenure of Director Emeritus Des McAnuff, numerous Playhouse productions have moved to Broadway, including The Farnsworth Invention, Big River, The Who's Tommy, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, A Walk in the Woods, Dracula, Billy Crystal's 700 Sundays, the Pulitzer Prize-winning I Am My Own Wife, and the currently-running Jersey Boys.

"The Third Story" - plot synopsis

Written by and Starring Charles Busch
Directed by Carl Andress

Omaha, 1949...Peg, a brazen screenwriter of Hollywood's Golden Age, has been a stowaway on a Chinese junk, escaped a cannibal village and had her ankle kissed by a young Tyrone Power — but now that the boys have taken over Hollywood, she's out of work. Ever optimistic, Peg approaches her son to collaborate on a new script to resurrect her faded career. Although Drew has fled Tinseltown for the quiet life of a Midwestern mail carrier, he reluctantly joins his mother to draft a crazy adventure through time, the uncertainties of science and the bonds of love.

Their flights of imagination bring together an elegant and hardscrabble Queen of the Mob, a chilly scientist harboring a seething passion and a romantic fairytale set in a Russian forest. Add to that a botched science experiment named Zygote with seven nipples and a chemical dependency, and a tough guy with a serious case of claustrophobia, and you have The Third Story.

Uplifting, imaginative and endlessly funny, The Third Story delights in the stories we tell to make sense of our lives.


Gracing the stage as three of the female characters in The Third Story, Mr. Busch is sure to delight and inspire audiences.

-- from lajollaplayhouse.org

Kathleen Turner talks about "The Third Story" and Charles Busch on The Today Show

"The Third Story" with Kathleen Turner at the Lucille Lortel Theater

Die, Mommie, Die! - Live! Off-Broadway, 2007

A Very Serious Person - Trailer

Die Mommie Die! trailer

Psycho Beach Party trailer

The Tale of the Allergist's Wife


Linda Lavin, Tony Roberts, and Michele Lee perform a scene from Charles' hilarious Broadway hit at the 2001 Tony Awards.


A Few Career Highlights

Portraits of the Artist as a Man