THE DIVINE SISTER had its premiere in 2010 at Theater for the New City, prior to transferring to an extended 253-performance Off-Broadway run at the Soho Playhouse. Our production reunites original director Carl Andress with Off-Broadway cast members Busch as Mother Superior, Fraser as Sister Walburga and Halston as Sister Acacius. The cast will also include Emily Bergl as Agnes, Maxwell Caulfield as Brother Venerius, and Juliet Mills as Mrs. Levinson.
CHARLES BUSCH: Playwright, Mother Superior
Charles Busch was born in Hartsdale, New York. He later attended Northwestern University, graduating with a B.A. in Drama. Busch is the author and star of such plays as THE LADY IN QUESTION, RED SCARE ON SUNSET, YOU SHOULD BE SO LUCKY, TIMES SQUARE ANGEL, QUEEN AMARANTHA, and SHANGHAI MOON. His play VAMPIRE LESBIANS OF SODOM ran 5 years and is one of the longest running plays in Off-Broadway history.
In 2000 Busch’s play THE TALE OF THE ALLERGIST’S WIFE opened in New York and was nominated for a Drama Desk for Best Play. For this play, Busch won the Outer Critic’s Circle John Gassner Award for Playwriting. Busch made his Broadway debut with this play, which reopened and ran for 777 performances, eventually receiving a Tony nomination for Best Play.
In 2003 he was nominated for a Lucille Lortel award and a Drama League Award for his play SHANGHAI MOON. He is the coauthor of the Off-Broadway musical SWINGTIME CANTEEN and author of the novel “Whores of Lost Atlantis.”
Busch also wrote and starred in the film versions of his plays, Psycho Beach Party and Die Mommie Die, the latter of which won him the Best Performance Award at the Sundance Film Festival. In 2003, Busch received a special Drama Desk Award for career achievement as both performer and playwright. Busch made his directorial debut with the film A Very Serious Person, which premiered at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival, where it won an honorable mention. He is also the subject of the documentary film The Lady In Question is Charles Busch. He has also appeared in Addams Family Values, It Could Happen to You, Trouble on the Corner and for two seasons he also appeared as Nat Ginzburg on the HBO series Oz.
We are so pleased to be working with Charles Busch again this year. In 2007 he directed our recording of THE TALE OF THE ALLERGIST’S WIFE starring JoBeth Williams, Richard Kind, and Amy Aquino. Two years later, Busch played Lady Bracknell in our production of THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST.
JULIE HALSTON: Sister Acacius
Julie Halston was born in Suffolk County, New York. Halston’s rise to fame came with her appearances on stage in the comedies of playwright Charles Busch. These plays included VAMPIRE LESBIANS OF SODOM and THE LADY IN QUESTION. She also appeared in the Broadway productions of THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER, THE WOMEN, and ANYTHING GOES.
Halston later appeared in the Tony Award-winning productions HAIRSPRAY and GYPSY. Halston earned Drama Desk Award nominations for her roles in the plays WHITE CHOCOLATE and RED SCARE ON SUNSET. Halston has also won four Mac Awards for her solo comedy performances and Characterization/Monologue.
It was not until the 1990’s that she began branching out into television and film roles. Her film credits include appearances in Woody Allen’s Small Time Crooks, A Very Serious Person, The Juror, Addams Family Values, Joe Gould’s Secret, Drunks, and Celebrity. Her television credits include roles in Law and Order, My So-Called Life, Sex and the City, and Law and Order: Criminal Intent.
ALISON FRASER: Sister Walburga
Alison Fraser was born in Natick, Massachusetts and is a nationally acclaimed performer having appeared in concert at such venues as The White House, Carnegie Hall, Town Hall, The Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, The Tisch Center for the Arts, The Folger Shakespeare Library, The Greater Trenton Symphony, and The Wilma.
Fraser’s Broadway credits include THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD and TARTUFFE: BORN AGAIN, THE SECRET GARDEN, for which she was nominated for a Tony Award and Drama Desk Award, and ROMANCE/ROMANCE, for which she was nominated for a Tony Award and won a Carbonell Award. Fraser is also the first ever recipient of Philadelphia’s Barrymore Award for Best Actress for her performance as The Blonde in the film noir musical Gunmetal Blues.
Off Broadway she originated the role of Jessie opposite Nathan Lane and Marion Seldes in DEDICATION OR THE STUFF OF DREAMS. Fraser had the honor of originating the role of Matron opposite Shirley Knight in the world premiere of Tennessee Williams’s last full length play IN MASKS OUTRAGEOUS AND AUSTERE. She also originated the roles of Arsinoë in David Ives‘s version of Moliere’s “The Misanthrope,” THE SCHOOL FOR LIES, and Sister Walburga in Charles Busch’s critically acclaimed play THE DIVINE SISTER. She also originated the role of Sarah in the world premiere of Mr. Laurent’s COME BACK, COME BACK, WHEREVER YOU ARE. Fraser also created the title character in world premiere of Christopher McGovern’s musical LIZZIE BORDEN, and she appeared with cabaret great Andrea Marcovicci in Ted Sperling’s highly praised production of LADY IN THE DARK at The Prince Theatre in Philadelphia.
Fraser received a Best Supporting Actress Award for playing Chloe in LIPS TOGETHER, TEETH APART at the George Street Playhouse. For her role in TOGETHER AGAIN: THE SONGS OF RUSTY MAGEE, Fraser, along with co-star Mary Testa, received the Bistro Award for “Outstanding Duo Performance.”
Fraser also appeared in GYPSY, MARCH OF THE FALSETTOS, IN TROUSERS, UP AGAINST IT, and BEEHIVE among many other productions. She performed in Charles Busch and Rusty Magee’s THE GREEN HEART as well as in Busch’s SWINGTIME CANTEEN. In addition, Fraser was a member of the revolving cast of Daryl Roth’s Off Broadway hit, LOVE, LOSS, AND WHAT I WORE and originated the role of Faith in Wendy Beckett’s A CHARITY CASE.
Ms. Fraser stars in the one-woman show ONLY A PAPER MOON: A TENNESSEE WILLIAMS SONGBOOK conceived and directed by David Kaplan with musical direction by Allison Leyton-Brown.
EMILY BERGL: Agnes
Emily Bergl was born in Milton Keynes, England to a British father and Irish mother. The family moved to the States when she was six, eventually settling in Chicago. After she graduated from Grinnell College, Emily moved to New York. After only a few months, she was chosen from a nationwide casting call to play the lead in “The Rage: Carrie 2,” her first job on camera. She then went on to accept roles in independent films such as “Happy Campers,” “Chasing Sleep,” and “Fur.”
Bergl also has an extensive list of television credits, which include appearances in Steven Spielberg’s “Taken,” “ER,” “NYPD Blue”, “CSI:Miami,” “Star Trek: Enterprise,” “Gilmore Girls,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Law and Order: Criminal Intent,” “Providence,” “Medium,” “Southland” and two seasons on ABC series “Men in Trees.”
While maintaining a career in film and television, Bergl also has had a broad presence in the world of theatre. Bergl starred on Broadway in “The Lion in Winter” opposite Laurence Fishburne and Stockard Channing, for which she won the FANY award for Best Broadway Debut. She also starred in Eugene O’Neill’s “A Touch of the Poet” opposite Gabriel Byrne, and in “The Rivals” at Lincoln Center. Off Broadway, Bergl has appeared in the premiere of Wendy Wasserstein’s Old Money at Lincoln Center and Where Do We Live at Vineyard Theatre. She has worked throughout the country at regional theatres such as the Williamstown Theatre Festival, South Coast Repertory, La Jolla Playhouse, and The Globe Theatres, in plays such as “Romeo and Juliet,” “Proof,” “Our Town,” “The Country,” “Once in a Lifetime,” “The School For Wives,” and “The Skin of Our Teeth.”
We are so excited to have Emily Bergl in our cast for THE DIVINE SISTER because our personal history with her is quite extensive as well. She has had roles in our recordings of OUR LADY OF 121st STREET, THE GRAPES OF WRATH, THE ROSE TATTOO, BECKY SHAW, THE MAN WHO HAD ALL THE LUCK, AWAKE AND SING!, and I’D RATHER EAT PANTS.
MAXWELL CAULFIELD: Brother Venerius
Maxwell Caulfield was born in Derbyshire, UK and has more than 70 film, stage, and television credits. Caulfield made his stage debut Off Broadway in “Class Enemy” for which he received a Theatre World Award. His screen debut came in Paramount Pictures sequel to “Grease”
Caulfield was cast opposite Juliet Mills, his wife of these many years, in the title role of “The Elephant Man”.
He has appeared on Broadway in “An Inspector Calls” and “Chicago” and appeared regionally in “A Little Night Music” and “Never the Sinner” among others. Caulfield was part of a national tour of “Sleuth” starring opposite Stacy Keach. At MTC ”Our Leading Lady” Charles Busch’s tragicomic account of the hapless acting troupe before Lincoln at Ford’s Theater and more recently “Cactus Flower” at the Westside Theatre. Notable New York productions include “Salonika” at The Public with Jessica Tandy and “Paradise Lost” with Geraldine Page and Juliet Mills and two turns playing homicidal characters in “Entertaining Mr. Sloane” and “Tryst”.
In 2007, Caulfielf performed in OUR LEADING LADY, a Charles Busch play, and made his West End stage debut in the London production of CHICAGO.
Locally in addition to numerous smaller venues around town he has played leading roles at the Geffen, Ahmanson, as well as the Mark Taper Forum and last summer portrayed Menelaos at the Getty Villa in “Helen”.
Caulfield’s television credits include “Gettysburg,” “The Colbys,” “Til We Meet Again” “NCIS” and “Modern Family.” “The Real Blonde”, “Empire Records” and “The Boys Next Door” are but a few of his multiple film credits.
Caulfield has also narrated several Audiobooks, such as Anonymous Rex, Clarke, Mimus, Spud, and The Lion of Cormarre and Other Stories: The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke.
LA Theatre Works has worked with Maxwell Caulfield in the past on our production of PHOTOGRAPH 51.
JULIET MILLS: Mrs. Levinson
Juliet Mills was born in London England and began her career as a child actress. At the age of 17, Mills received a Tony nomination for her work in Peter Shaffer’s play FIVE FINGER EXERCISE.
She went on to work in film and television, landing the leading role in the TV sitcom Nanny and the Professor, for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award. Mills won an Emmy Award for “Outstanding Single Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Comedy or Drama Special” for her performance in the TV miniseries QB VII and was also nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for her long-standing role in the daytime drama series Passions.
In London she appeared in many West End productions including “She Stoops To Conquer” with Tom Courtenay and “Midsummer Night’s Dream” for The Royal Shakespeare Company. She has made several British films including “Nurse on Wheels”, “Oh What A Lovely War” and “Carry On Jack.
Her American screen debut was in “The Rare Breed” with James Stewart and Maureen O Hara. And she was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance opposite Jack Lemmon in Billy Wilder’s film “Avanti.”
In 1980, she returned to the stage, starring in THE ELEPHANT MAN with Maxwell Caulfield, who she later married.
Juliet Mills has worked with us before in Moliere’s THE SCHOOL FOR HUSBANDS and we’re ecstatic to have her recording with us again this year.
CARL ANDRESS: Director
Carl Andress, the director of our production of THE DIVINE SISTER, has a lengthy credit list that is closely tied to Charles Busch. The two have worked together many times over the years on various productions. In 1997, Andress and Busch directed the Off-Broadway production of QUEEN AMARANTHA. Andress later directed the Off-Broadway productions of Busch’s SHANGHAI MOON in 2003, DIE MOMMIE DIE! in 2007, and THE DIVINE SISTER in 2010. In 2005 Andress directed the Broadway concert version of A WONDERFUL LIFE at the Shubert Theatre for the benefit of the Actors’ Fund of America. The following year, Andress directed the Off-Off Broadway production of J.A.P. CHRONICLES and co-wrote the drama film A VERY SERIOUS PERSON with Busch. Andress’ directing credits also include the Off-Broadway production of THE THIRD STORY in 2009.