Already closed | 2h 0m | West Village

The Confession of Lily Dare

From 207 member  reviews
Members say: Entertaining, Funny, Delightful, Great acting, Clever

About the show

The latest comic melodrama written by and starring Charles Busch tells the story of one woman’s tumultuous passage from convent girl to glittering cabaret chanteuse to infamous madame of a string of brothels. More…

From the show:

We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate our 35th anniversary than by presenting the newest work from one of our most frequent collaborators, legendary master of theatrical parody Charles Busch (best known to Primary Stages audiences from our productions of The Tribute Artist, Olive and the Bitter Herbs, and You Should Be So Lucky). Busch’s newest play, The Confession of Lily Dare, tells the story of one woman’s tumultuous passage from convent girl to glittering cabaret chanteuse to infamous madame of a string of brothels—all while hiding her undying devotion to the child she was forced to abandon. Directed by Busch’s long-time colleague Carl Andress (The Tribute Artist, The Divine Sister), this comic melodrama celebrates the gauzy “confession film” tearjerkers of early 1930s pre-code cinema, such as The Sin of Madelon Claudet, Frisco Jenny, and Madame X. 

Member Reviews (207)


Entertaining, Funny, Delightful, Great acting, Clever
Avg Score

Entertaining, Stylized, Long, Tear-jerker send-up, Not for everyone

See it if you love Busch and/or 1930s melodramas. Campy w LOTS of plot. Gr costumes/wigs. Rare laughs; mostly smiles. Stylized acting can be wearing.

Don't see it if you want insights. Purely for entertainmt. Is long. Drags a bit. Needs cuts. Has a good heart, like Lily. Only recommend to old-movie fans.

Fluffy, Entertaining, Cute

See it if You're a Bush fan. Entertaining with good performances. Funny-ish.

Don't see it if There's A LOT of painfully cliched jokes, mostly on the first act. Eye-rolling. Act 2 is more streamlined and the story takes center stage.

Also It's cute and the actual story is interesting and complex. The present... Read more Read less

Campy, Entertaining

See it if You enjoy farcical campy humor. I really enjoyed the story most of all and liked the nod's to the style of old hollywood movies.

Don't see it if I didn't find it all that funny and didn't laugh that often but I could still appreciate the story and the show.

Indulgent, Fluffy, Disappointing, Cliched, Banal

See it if Charles Busch trying to do what ludlum and Quinton did so well. The show has some good moments but not many.

Don't see it if If you had camp, drag silly absurdist humor. If you want a more serious show.

Parodic, Fluffy, Campy, Funny, Entertaining

See it if you want to see campy Charles Busch's latest vampy femme fatale creation in a fun (if overlong) parody of classic Hollywood film noir.

Don't see it if ur looking for something serious, heady & substantial; ur not interested in theater that's contrived, melodramatic & farcical (by design).

Raunchy, Funny, Entertaining, Indulgent, Clever

See it if Busch's love letter to 30's 'women pictures' is spot-on, schmaltzy yet tough; brassy yet tender Ensemble works like a fine tuned instrument

Don't see it if A bit of a minor chord from the usual Busch shenanigans; more emphasis on his writing rather than his performance; less camp more sentiment

Clever, Quirky, Great acting, Great staging, Entertaining

See it if you enjoy camp - here done well by a good cast with a take on the 1930's movie scene. Great costumes and good supporting sound.

Don't see it if you don't like what Busch offers up. Not a hilarious show but many light moments that make you chuckle.

Refreshing, Intelligent, Hilarious, Funny, Clever

See it if You’re a fan of Charles Busch, you love to laugh, enjoy 40’s movies cliches, drag tropes, a bit of risqué humor, mindless fun, sharp wit

Don't see it if Not a fan of drag, can’t relate to movie references, don’t like the deliberate tackiness of Busch shows, can’t get Busch’s humor

Imaginative, Entertaining, Refreshing, Funny, Delightful

See it if boisterous exuberance with great costumes and a touch of poignance is your idea of a fun night out. Especially delightful for opera lovers!

Don't see it if you are averse to drag performance, dislike opera or find stories dealing with adoption triggering.

Fluffy, Slow, Funny, Entertaining, Ambitious

See it if You enjoy and/or are familiar w/mid-20th century melodramas. You like satire. You're OK w/raunchy humor. You like drag performances.

Don't see it if You're expecting a farce: funny lines though not all the time. You dislike old-fashioned, classic melodrama. You dislike intimate stagings.

Also Kudos to a very talented cast, though must give special props to scene... Read more Read less

Lots of quick changes, actors play multiple parts, Entertaining, Like a 1930s/40s movie melodrama, Campy

See it if to see Charles Busch if you are curious and if you love old movie melodramas and would enjoy a play in that style.

Don't see it if if you don't know much about old movies or if you want to really laugh. This is only mildly amusing.

Campy, Slow, Fluffy, Fun, Funny

See it if You’ve never seen Busch in one of his own plays — he’s an NYC icon and treasure. His plays are always campy fun.

Don't see it if You’ve seen a bunch of Busch plays & are debating seeing this one. It’s enjoyable as always, but kind of slow — not his best piece.

Entertaining, Great writing, Great acting, Hysterically funny, Clever

See it if you are a fan of Busch or you like a very witty, extremely funny show. Be prepared to laugh a lot. The cast is excellent.

Don't see it if you like serious drama or sophisticated comedy. The plot is intentionally silly but very well played.

Also The casting was great. Some of the actors played multiple roles and we... Read more Read less

Great acting, Entertaining

See it if Great to see Charles Busch in an intimate theater. Some funny one-liners.

Don't see it if Plot drags in places & would benefit from cuts to 90 minutes no intermission. Much of plot is narrated (not shown).

Cliched, Dated, Fluffy

See it if You like cheesy old theater humor

Don't see it if You are looking for a well written comedy. It’s not that, it’s also not a well written drama in any fashion

Also There wasn’t much I liked about this. I didn’t really care about this ... Read more Read less

If you like camp this is a good one.

See it if You appreciate the Charles Bush take of old movies and divas.

Don't see it if You don't like camp.

Fluffy, Quirky, Indulgent, Disappointing, Ambitious

See it if You like camp theater in an old radio drama style. Quirky and at times funny, talented actors.

Don't see it if You want something new and interesting. The jokes were canned, the humor was campy and trite. So many laughs I didn't understand.

Delightful, Campy, Hilarious, Great acting, Clever

See it if you are a Charles Busch fan and/or enjoy high camp. He is in fine form and is supported by a wonderful cast including Howard McGillin.

Don't see it if your tolerance for camp is low and you are not up for a tribute to weepy films of the 1930s.

Also The costumes and wigs are a show all by themselves.

Fluffy, Refreshing, Funny, Entertaining

See it if You want/needsan evening of fun at the theatre. Good old fashioned campy fun.

Don't see it if You want some serious drama. This is Charles Busch camp.

Great writing, Funny, Dated, Clever

See it if you love Charles Busch.He's terrific.But the show is neither fresh nor exciting.If you've never seen Busch, go see this.Acting is uneven

Don't see it if you are looking for a new Busch show.There's nothing original in it.Busch is terrific.Most of supporting cast is too old for the roles

Intelligent, Engaging, Sad, Great acting, Touching

See it if Busch beautifully brings a tragic heroine to life. An interesting and believable story. A chance to see a legend.

Don't see it if If you don't like men playing women's roles, or if you don't like old-fashioned stories, you might not enjoy this.

Delightful, Great writing, Hilarious, Quirky

See it if You love Charles Busch and CAMP

Don't see it if you mistake the title for a religious story

Well staged, Great costumes, Great cast, Very funny, Campy

See it if a fan of 1940's melodramas with larger than life leading ladies & like Busch's style of parody. Some laugh out loud moments.

Don't see it if not into cross dressing, camp humor, some dry patches (very few) & want something serious.

Also The entire cast was terrific with special shout out to Busch & Jennife... Read more Read less

Fun, Campy, Entertaining, Delightful

See it if you are in the mood for a fun how that you don't have to think too much about.

Don't see it if you don't like camp and farces. I generally don't like the genre, but this show is particularly intelligent and well done.

Great acting, Entertaining, Delightful

See it if You want a fun wonderful time. Lily Dare goes from orphan to cabaret star to madame. Lots of scenes, super costumes, cast terrific.

Don't see it if You do not like drag queens/ Charles Busch. That would be the only negative.

January 29th, 2020
CRITIC’S PICK. "Camp and Compassion in 'The Confession of Lily Dare': Charles Busch’s mash-up of mother-love weepies finds both pathos and hilarity in the tough talk of Hollywood divas."
read more
January 29th, 2020
4/5 Stars. "For audiences today, increasingly removed from the cinematic source, Busch's sensibility is now itself an object of nostalgia, and it is showcased to humbly glorious effect in his latest scrappy melocomedy, 'The Confession of Lily Dare.'"
read more
January 29th, 2020
"Charles Busch, drag artiste and author of 'The Tale of the Allergist's Wife,' plays the title role in his campy comedy riffing on female-driven 1930s movie melodramas."
read more
January 31st, 2020
"‘The Confession of Lily Dare’ Is a Side-Splitting Hoot From Charles Busch"
read more

Related content

Cast & Creatives (3)