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University of Iowa News Release

July 14, 2006

McCarthy Era Is The Target Of Busch's Humor In July 23 Reading

Charles Busch is not being slighted, even though Iowa Summer Rep's "Summer Camp" features two campy productions by Charles Ludlam and only one by Busch. Balance will be restored with a reading of Busch's hilarious "Red Scare on Sunset" -- in which a Loretta Young-like actress foils a plot by Commie method actors to take over the world -- at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 23, in Theatre B of the University of Iowa Theatre Building.

The audience will be invited to remain after the reading for a discussion about the entire "Summer Camp" season.

The time is the '50s. And the place is Hollywood, where film star Mary Dale finds the Red Menace invading her own Beverly Hills backyard. When she discovers that her husband has been lured into the local Communist Party by way of a Stanislavsky acting class and that -- horrors! -- a left-wing plot is afoot to abolish the star system, Mary wages a private war to save her husband, her country and her billing over the title.

Busch recently told that not only is "Red Scare on Sunset" one of his favorites among the works he has written, but that recent political events have mad it more timely than when it premiered in 1991.

"It's set in Hollywood during the blacklist period," he explained. "I wrote the play as a parody of a right-wing nightmare ... . I would love to do that play again; the political atmosphere today would make it very relevant!"

David Anthony Fox, Philadelphia City Paper, wrote, "'Red Scare,' for all its raucous wit, is not a simple parody. It is allegorical and pointed. A play that ends with its heroine serenely spilling the names of friends and colleagues to HUAC is, at best, bittersweet. And the fabulous jokes -- written with a perfect ear for detail and period -- are funnier when taken seriously."

The Iowa Summer Rep reading is directed by Rachel Edwards Harvith, who also directed "The Mystery of Irma Vep," and features by-now-familiar "Summer Camp" company members including William Watt, Elena Passarello and Sean Paul Bryan.

Iowa Summer Rep is an U/RTA (University/Resident Theatre Association) company organized by the UI Department of Theatre Arts and employing Equity actors and stage managers, as well as students who earn points toward their Actors Equity card.

Iowa Summer Rep has carved out a unique niche in American professional summer theater by presenting single-playwright festivals. This season Iowa Summer Rep is deviating from that formula by presenting works in a single genre, by two playwrights.

"Our single-playwright summer festivals are a popular and wonderful tradition in Iowa City," artistic director Eric Forsythe wrote in his welcome letter for the Summer Rep playbill. "I look forward to each festival with great pleasure, particularly so this year because I'm such a fan of the playwrights. Yes, that's 'playwrights' with an 's'! This year we've selected plays by two contemporary playwrights whose work is related stylistically and in the 'camp' tradition.

"The season as a whole revels in the world of humor, nostalgia, wit and irony. In a year of divisiveness and stress, it's been wonderful for us to find refuge in work with so much laughter and wit ... . Iowa Summer Rep is the first company to present these two playwrights in their own season together."

Iowa Summer Rep 2006 is supported by the University of Iowa Community Credit Union.

All tickets are $5, and may be purchased in advance from the Hancher box office. Any remaining tickets will be available at the door.

Hancher Auditorium box office business hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays. From the local calling area, dial 319-335-1160. Long distance is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial 319-335-1158, which is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

Tickets may be ordered on-line 24 hours a day, seven days a week through Hancher's Web site:

Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction. Information and brochures may be requested by e-mail:

The Department of Theatre Arts is a unit of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073,