Author Candace Bushnell ponders ‘Is There Still Sex in the City?’ in her autobiographical solo show at Off-Broadway’s Daryl Roth Theatre

In her new one-woman show Is There Still Sex in the City?, making its Off-Broadway debut at the Daryl Roth Theatre in a limited engagement through February 6, writer Candace Bushnell – the now 63-year-old author of Sex and the City – reflects on her life, relationships, and career, and shares personal anecdotes and inside stories about the real people and experiences that inspired her best-selling book and popular characters (Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, Samantha, and more) and gave rise to the hit HBO series, all adapted from her original column of the same name for The New York Observer (1994–96).

Candace Bushnell. Photo by Joan Marcus.

The 80-minute first-person retrospective, directed by Lorin Latarro and delivered in a casual direct-address format of autobiographical storytelling, also broaches the subject of the position of women in a predominantly patriarchal society from the mid-century to the present, the contributions Bushnell made in defining and encouraging the sexual liberation of women in the ‘90s, and lauding the importance of having a support system of enduring female friendships, which far outlasts fleeting romantic liaisons. And she intersperses her reminiscences with “lessons learned” across the decades of her life from her current perspective – most notably, to “be your own Mr. Big.”

Being a writer, not a performer, Bushnell lacks the professionally trained voice, control, and timing, and had some obvious trip-ups with the script. But her presentation was intimate and engaging, as she moved around the stage, pouring herself cosmos, well-known to fans as the drink of choice of her alter-ego Carrie Bradshaw (and which the audience can buy for $18 at the theater bars), frequently changing her signature Manolos and designer fashions (costume design by Lisa Zinni), and reclining on her luxurious pink sofa – all brought in from her own NYC apartment and embodying Madonna’s 1984 hit “Material Girl” with her conspicuous consumption (played pre-show, along with other top songs by pop divas of the era, to set the tone), which, today, generally comes off as more self-indulgent, showy, and self-aggrandizing than feminist or empowered.

Candace Bushnell. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Of course, the monologue kept coming back to the eponymous topic of sex, writing about which brought her success, fame, and financial independence (“Sex Sells” is another important lesson to be gained from her career), with sometimes juicy and often regretful memories and details, including the concept of “having sex like a man” (that is, without love) and life since her divorce in 2012, when she was already in her mid-fifties. The show also includes segments of audience participation in which she asks the house to decide if a series of episodes she relays from her past did or didn’t really happen (eliciting an enthusiastic and consistently accurate response) and the entrance of the two well-groomed pet poodles she’s lived with post-divorce (which drew even greater approval).

The program is enhanced by a chic scenic design by Anna Louizos, featuring a fully stocked bar cart, garment rack, and open shelving with samples of Bushnell’s “obsessive” shoe collection; projections of photos of the people, places, and events she discusses by Caite Hevner; stylishly colorful post-modern lighting by Travis McHale; and an effective soundscape by Sadah Espii Proctor that becomes absolutely heavenly every time shoes are mentioned. It all provides support for an interesting account of what she did and how she made it, who she was and how she sees it now.

Running Time: Approximately 80 minutes, without intermission.

Candace Bushnell. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Is There Still Sex in the City? plays through Sunday, February 6, 2022, at the Daryl Roth Theatre, 101 East 15th Street, NYC. For tickets (priced at $69-299), go online. VIP tickets include a premium seat, a meet-and-greet with Candace Bushnell following the performance, an autographed copy of her book, and a cosmo cocktail.

All audience members must provide proof of vaccination, proof of a negative PCR test taken up to 72 hours prior to performance, or proof of a negative antigen test taken up to 6 hours prior to performance. In addition, masks are required at all times within the building. Masks should fit snugly around the nose, mouth, and chin. Disposable masks are available upon request.


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