Thursday March 4, 2010
Renaissance gal Lady Bunny—she's a nightclub star, DJ, blog mistress and street-corner slut!—is now also a stage actress, garnering rave reviews for her role in the light-hearted topical comedy When Bobby Married Joey.
The play, which originated last year in Atlanta and recently opened in New York, follows the members of a screwball Dixie clan as they gamely go along with their gay son's wedding.
Bunny breezes into the picture as Charity Divine, the daffy and self-important wife of the local Baptist minister. And I must admit: She is a hoot!
In an exclusive interview, the busy thespian took time to dish with me about her theatrical pursuits!
LINDA SIMPSON: What are the similarities between you and Charity Divine, besides your XXL attire?
LADY BUNNY: I'm certainly not Christian—I'm often on my knees but I ain't exactly praying! I am ditsy like Charity, and we both have southern accents, but I exaggerate mine for the show. Charity's look is a more matronly version of my own look. She's older—like you, Linda—but definitely has a touch of glamour—unlike you, Linda.
LS: After so many, many years being in charge of your own shows, has it been challenging working with a director?
LB: Director John Gibson is one of the writers so he has very definite ideas about how his lines should be spoken. It could have been a nightmare situation, but his suggestions have almost always been right to punch up certain words to get a bigger laugh. He's also very amusing in person and loves to torment the cast by saying things to us right before we go on like "That extra weight works on you" or "It's called comedy" just to put us at ease.
LS: The crowd was quite diverse the night that I attended. Do you think the play has broad appeal? No pun intended!
LB: Definitely! When we performed in Atlanta, busloads of Republican religous seniors came to see it. The play pokes fun at religious hypocrisy, but it isn't judgmental—it just holds up stereotypes and makes people laugh at themselves, which is no easy feat. I did wonder if the southern-fried humor would translate to Yankee audiences, but it totally has. My nightclub act is so raunchy that I welcome the opportunity to perform material that has more mainstream appeal and still gets laughs.
LS: Oh great actress, which do you prefer, doing theatre or film?
LB: My lazy side likes film because you do it once, and it lives forever on celluloid. But a play is a real slice of your life—a time capsule that brings a certain bunch of people together, which might never exist again. I'm lucky that we have a wonderful cast that is talented and a joy to work with. On our first night, I giggled when I learned I was to share a dressing room with the girls. Some of these folks have never dealt with a drag queen, but they have no problem calling me "she."
LS: Obviously the dressing room is dimly lit! Has being in the play made you want to have your own gay wedding?
LB: I'm an atheist..
LB: ...So I do not personally value religious ceremonies of any kind. But the play's hunky leading actor Matthew Pender is gorgeous and so sweet! He's totally straight and was even a pitcher for the Detroit Tigers. It just so happens that I'm a catcher... so you never know!
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