HBO’s Sex and the City may have become a major television franchise, but it’s origins come from columnist Candace Bushnell’s 1997 book of the same name. Fast forward to 2021 and the veteran author has taken her latest book, Is There Still Sex In the City? and turned it into a one-woman show that’s playing off-Broadway at the Daryl Roth Theatre.
Q: What has your experience been like going from being an author to being front and center onstage?
Candace Bushnell: It’s not the first time I’ve been on a stage. I’ve done lecture tours and been in front of audiences a lot. I just never put anything together formally as a show. Even when I was doing lectures, I used to just wing it. I got paid a lot of money to do lectures and I never once wrote anything down. This is written and structured. It’s wonderful because I really feel like I can get my points across.
Q: What inspired this project?
CB: In the last five years or so, I’ve been more drawn a little bit more to theater. I realized that when you sell the rights to your books, you sell your stage rights. I decided to try and keep them. When I sold the rights to the book, Is There Still Sex In the City? to TV, the concession they made was that I was only able to keep the rights to a one-woman show. Then I met our producer Marc Johnston, who produces a touring show for David Foster and he said he thought he could do something like that for me. I wrote a very long draft and all of a sudden he found there was a lot of interest in London and here in New York. He found our director Lorin Latarro in 2020 and she really wanted to bring it to the stage. I talked to Daryl Roth, who owns the Daryl Roth Theatre and was very interested and it just grew from there. We took it to the Bucks County Playhouse, had a good successful run there this summer and now we’re in New York. It’s very exciting. We’ve done our rehearsal and tech phases, we’ve done previews and had opening night on Dec. 7. It’s been a great, once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Q: Going back to what you said before, what are the points you want to get across with this one-woman show?
CB: I think it’s a very feminist perspective about relationships, women’s roles and it’s also my life story. How I created Sex & the City, how hard I worked to get there and what happened to me after.
Q: What were some of the challenges you came across with this particular project?
CB: I think the biggest challenges and surprises were the physical aspects. That’s the big difference between being a writer and being on stage. I wear rigged-up Spanx. As a writer, yes, I get out of my pajamas, but I’m not putting on Spanx—that’s for sure. I have to wear rigged-up Spanx with microphones and mic packs. I absolutely have to exercise because you need a lot of energy, bouncing around on that stage. I’ve had to take voice lessons and a little bit of voice training. I’ve had a little bit of acting/coaching classes. The creative part is still there, it’s just modifying it from one medium to another. It’s just the physical aspect that’s really different.
Q: How involved are you with And Just Like That…?
CB: I’m not involved at all. I haven’t actually been involved with that franchise for a long time. I was involved at the beginning. But once these things are on their feet and successful, why keep working on the same thing? It’s not in my nature. There are just so many other things to explore. That’s kind of the way people do it. You get something up and running and work on it for a couple of years. It’s kind of the ideal situation where it becomes its own thing. You want all the people involved to feel ownership of it and put 100 percent into it. I think that’s the great thing about it. When people feel inspired by your work to put in their best game and work on it.
Q: Overall, what does Sex & the City mean to you?
CB: I think it really gave women all over the world a different perspective about their lives. It arrived at a time when women’s lives were expanding beyond being married and having kids.
Is There Still Sex In the City? is playing Off-Broadway at the Daryl Roth Theatre, 101 E. 15th St., NYC. Visit www.telecharge.com or call 212-239-6200 or 800-447-7400 for tickets.