Candace Bushnell. Photo by Fadil Berisha.

As a proud alumnus of the original Sex and the City series on HBO (Season 2, episode 13, “Games People Play”), I was really looking forward to sitting down with Candace Bushnell, the writer whose book inspired the hit series that created a cultural phenomenon.

We met for coffee on a very rainy recent Tuesday afternoon at the Carlyle Hotel, where Bushnell will perform in a five-night run of her one-woman show “True Tales of Sex, Success and SEX AND THE CITY” starting on Tuesday, April 23. My first question, of course, was Do you sing in this show?

Alas, there is no singing. Instead, Bushnell is sticking to what she does best: storytelling. The show, as she puts it, is like “having people over and telling stories,” as well as a bit of audience involvement with a game Bushnell calls “Real or Not Real,” where clips from Sex and the City are shown and people ask “Did this happen in my real life?”

The idea of the show didn’t start with Bushnell. According to her, it started in 2019 with Marc Johnston, who was managing David Foster with his one-man show. Johnston suggested Bushnell try out a one-woman show of her own in Asia, where Sex and the City was not just a massive TV hit, but also a way fans learned English. “So I thought ‘Okay, fine. I’ll give it a try,'” she recalls. “And then it just snowballed from there.” After a good trial run in Bucks County, PA, funding came together for an Off-Broadway production. Directed by opera and Broadway veteran Lorin Latarro, “Is There Still Sex in the City?,” as the show was called then, ran at the Daryl Roth Theatre until COVID shut it down in late 2021.

No stranger to public speaking and doing readings, Bushnell is quick to acknowledge that this show is a whole different thing. “It’s very physical,” she says. “You don’t want to get sick. When you’re writing a book, it doesn’t matter if I get sick for a couple days. Big deal. But if you’re doing this, you have to go out there and you have to do the show.”

Bushnell isn’t a complete stranger to the acting world, though. Like a lot of us earnest actors-in-training, she did some time at Uta Hagen and Herbert Berghof’s HB Studio in the Village in the late 1970s. And even though she had an agent, her thespian aspirations were short-lived. Acting, for Bushnell, was “one of those things where you have to feel like ‘If I don’t do this, I’m gonna die,'” she said. “That was how I felt about writing.” And we all know how that went.

And she’s still writing. In addition to her show, she’s currently working on two new books: a memoir and a novel. But in the midst of performing, the writer confesses “There’s something [nice] about not having to be on deadline.”

Bushnell has always stood out to me as a model who made definitive choices in life that did not involve marriage or kids. She’s an unmarried adult without children who is not just surviving, but thriving. “I never really saw that as my life.” And while she seems quite content with her choices, she says “In a way, I feel like I should have accomplished so much more.” But the wildly successful writer who created a cultural phenomenon is quick to note, “Maybe that’s just a New York thing.”

And as for that New York thing, she still loves this city, where she lives in an Upper East Side apartment as well as a place in the Hamptons. “New York still has the most interesting people… people who are striving to do things.” Amen.

Bushnell just did a handful of shows in Canada and, earlier this year, completed a sold-out engagement at The London Palladium to great reviews. “It was exciting!” This new run at the end of April will be Bushnell’s third residency at Café Carlyle, which is markedly more intimate than the 2,300-seat London Palladium. And she makes this point very clear: ”There is something that’s really special about being at Café Carlyle.” There certainly is.

“True Tales of Sex, Success and SEX AND THE CITY” runs from April 23rd through April 27th at Café Carlyle. Get tickets.

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