Olive and the Bitter Herbs

by  Charles Busch

Full Length Play, Comedy  /  3m, 2f

"A colorful, sweet-and-sour Busch dish, laced with plenty of laughs." - The Associated Press

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Olive and the Bitter Herbs

by  Charles Busch

License Estimator

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    3m, 2f
  • Duration


    120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre


    Not Applicable
  • Accolades


    From Off-Broadway
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult
    • Senior

Additional Info

Olive Fisher is an elderly character actress whose claim to fame were the iconic "Gimme the Sausage" commercials of the 1980s. She is a classic New York curmudgeon, at war with the world and in particular her next door neighbors. Her closed-off life is shaken by the appearance of a spectral male figure viewed through her living room mirror. A series of strange and outrageous coincidences reveals that the man in the mirror has intimate links to everyone in Olive's world and most revealingly to Olive, encouraging her that it's never too late to change one's life.
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"Mr. Busch is perhaps equaled only by Paul Rudnick in his ability to churn out well-turned, archly funny zingers..." - The New York Times

"A group of New Yorkers seemingly brought together by chance find that their ties run deeper than they could imagine in Charles Busch's fantastical new comedy Olive and the Bitter Herbs..." - TheatreMania


  • Olive and the Bitter Herbs
  • Olive and the Bitter Herbs
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Performing Groups

  • Community Theatre
  • Dinner Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Senior Theatre
  • Large Stage
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups


  • Caution Alcohol Alcohol
  • Caution Strong Language Strong Language
  • Caution Mild Adult Mild Adult Themes

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $100 per performance



  • Time Period: Present Day
  • Duration: 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Setting: Olive’s apartment living room in the East Thirties in Manhattan. 
  • Additional Features: Not Applicable
  • Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes


  • Musical Style: N/A (Not a musical)


3m, 2f
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Cast Attributes

  • Ensemble cast
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)


Available Services



Charles Busch

Charles Busch is the author and star of such plays as The Divine Sister, The Lady in Question, Red Scare on Sunset and Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, which ran five years and is one of the longest running plays in Off-Broadway history. His play The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife ran for 777 performances on Broadway and won M ...

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Olive and the Bitter Herbs was commissioned by Primary Stages and premiered at 59E59 Street Theatre in New York City in 2011, under the direction of Mark Brokaw. 

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