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University of Iowa News Release

June 30, 2006

'The Tale Of The Allergist's Wife' Opens July 13 At Iowa Summer Rep

The third production of Iowa Summer Rep's "Summer Camp," the Broadway hit "The Tale of the Allergist's Wife" by Charles Busch, will open at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 13, in E.C. Mabie Theatre of the University of Iowa Theatre Building. Other performances will be at 8 p.m. July 14, 15, 21 and 22.

Busch, who firmly established his camp reputation with over-the-top drag classics including "Vampire Lesbians of Sodom," "Theodora, She-Bitch of Byzantium," "Die Mommie Die" and "Psycho Beach Party," hit the theater mainstream with "The Tale of the Allergist's Wife," which starred Linda Lavin, Tony Roberts and Michele Lee on Broadway.

The character of the title is an Upper West Side doctor's spouse who has plunged into an exaggerated mid-life crisis of Medea-like proportions -- and then a somewhat mysterious childhood friend unexpectedly appears to change everything.

The Summer Rep company features Kristin Behrendt as Marjorie (the Allergist's wife), William Watt as Ira (the Allergist), Rachael Lindhart as Frieda (the mother), Josh Adler as Mohammed (the doorman), and Elena Passarello as Lee (the childhood friend).

During a long Broadway run "The Tale of the Allergist's Wife" was embraced by both audiences and critics: Ben Brantley wrote in the New York Times that the play "earns its wall-to-wall laughs"; New York Magazine's John Simon called it "an intelligently funny and satirically relevant uptown comedy"; and the New York Daily News review declared, "Charles Busch comes of age as a comic playwright of the first rank."

Director Eric Forsythe, the UI Department of Theatre Arts faculty member who is also the artistic director of Iowa Summer Rep, says "'The Tale of the Allergist's Wife' is a wonderfully warm and funny story. The wife in question learns to take charge of her own destiny through the surprisingly timely intervention of her childhood friend. It's an enchanting piece, performed by a stellar cast of professionals. The play deserved its recent long run on Broadway: a 'must-see' for Iowa City audiences."

Other artistic contributors to the Iowa Summer Rep production of "The Allergist's Wife" include scene designer William Moser, costume designer Laura Thudium Zieglowsky, lighting designer S. Benjamin Farrar and sound designer Scott Pardue.

This production includes material of an adult nature. Potential audience members who are concerned about whether it is appropriate for them should contact the Department of Theatre Arts at 319-335-2700 for additional information.

Again this season, Iowa Summer Rep evening performances will be accompanied by the popular "Dinner on the Patio" fare, with casual seating overlooking the Iowa River. Dinner reservations, which are strongly encouraged, can be made by calling 319-335-3105.

Iowa Summer Rep is an U/RTA (University/Resident Theatre Association) company 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 -- Charles Ludlam and Charles Busch.

"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."

Joining "The Tale of the Allergist's Wife" in "Summer Camp" are Charles Ludlam's "The Mystery of Irma Vep" and "The Artificial Jungle." by Charles Busch. Ludlam -- the founder of the Ridiculous Theatrical Company -- emerged in the 1960s to break all stage and social conventions with his signature extravagant mix of camp, pop culture, literary and movie parody, gender-bending and cross-dressing.

After Ludlam's death in 1987 the banner of ridiculous theater was taken up by Busch, who wrote and starred in his own theater pieces, broke into Broadway and is now a rising movie star.

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

Tickets for "The Tale of the Allergist's Wife" are $23 ($18 for senior citizens, and $10 for UI students and youth). Tickets may be purchased in advance from the Hancher Auditorium box office. Any remaining tickets for each performance will be available one hour before curtain time at the Theatre Building box office.

Tickets may also be purchased at a substantial discount as part of a Summer Rep subscription package. Series packages for Summer Camp are $55, $43 for senior citizens, and $25 for UI students and youth. Subscription packages will be available until "The Mystery of Irma Vep" closes on July 9. A "Summer Camp" brochure is available from the Hancher box office, or from the Department of Theatre Arts: 319-335-2700 or

Tickets may be purchased 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at For phone or ticket-window purchases, the box office is open 10 a.m. to 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.

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.

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

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail,

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,

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