As the writer of Sex and the City, Candace Bushnell has become synonymous with Carrie Bradshaw. And even though she’s not involved with the HBO Max Sex and the City spin-off, And Just Like That…, she has been busy writing her own next chapter—and this time, she’s taking it to the stage.

Bushnell’s Is There Still Sex in the City?, a collection of essays charting a tumultuous yet hilarious period of time, gives readers an inside look at what the real-life Carrie Bradshaw has been up to. As the author prepares for the launch of the big stage version of her novel (previews of which begin at the Daryl Roth Theatre in New York City on November 13), she takes time out to speak with BAZAAR.com about the production, her thoughts on the reboot, and how she feels about Kim Cattrall leaving the series.

Why was it time to bring your book Is There Still Sex in the City? to the stage?

I always sell the rights to my books to TV. Some of them end up getting made like Sex and the City, Lipstick Jungle, and The Carrie Diaries. And other ones end up being sold, but then they don’t get made, and then they’re sold again, whatever. I realized that I had no stage rights to any of my books when I sold them. I decided I want to hold onto the stage rights. Carve that out. So I carved out a one-woman show.

Because I had sold Is There Still Sex in the City? to Paramount, that went along for a couple of years, and then that deal happened to fall apart, which is what happens most of the time. But I carved out the one-woman show, and I happened to meet somebody who works with David Foster, who’s David Foster’s producer and manager. He has a one-man show, and he said, “I feel like I can help you do this.” We started working on it, and it just kind of grew and took off from there. … I really probably would not have known where to begin, but I mean, honestly, I got lucky and I met somebody who knows how to do it, knows how to put it together. And we just started working on it. And it progressed.

It’s a different medium, and I have really loved working in this medium. It’s very different from TV, and it’s something that I always dreamed of doing when I was a kid, but I couldn’t see what the steps would be to getting there. I didn’t know anybody; I couldn’t see the path—which is a reality for most people. I mean, you have dreams, but you don’t even know what the first step would be. You know, what’s the first step, even, on the ladder?

Your writing is always so honest, but this book, in particular, goes further. From the very beginning, when you tell the heartbreaking story of your dog dropping dead, to going through all these crazy dating moments and everything that happened in your divorce, it was just so relatable. What’s it like putting that out there, on a stage, and what’s the response been like?

Well, the response has been great. We did it at Bucks County Playhouse, which is a premier playhouse located in Pennsylvania, where they start a lot of shows. Moss Hart has done plays there. It’s a storied theater, out-of-town kind of situation.

They really made twice as much money as they thought they would [with Is There Still Sex in the City?]. So that’s always good. It was a successful run. We had really talked about doing it at the Daryl Roth Theatre, which is a great theater by Union Square in New York City. Being onstage, there are certain things about it that are nerve-racking or could be nerve-racking, but it’s not something that I find terrifying. It feels pretty natural, strangely. And I really have a good time doing it.

It’s a lot of work, because I’m going to have to do eight shows a week. It’s a lot of hair, makeup. I suppose I’ll eventually do my own makeup, but it’s a great experience. It’s a live experience. It’s not a passive situation where you’re sitting at home bingeing Netflix. There’s a certain energy to it with a live audience, and it’s exciting. And there’s something about being onstage. People treat you much nicer than they do when you’re a writer. I’ll tell you that much. I always think one is putting oneself out there when I’m writing, but …

It feels like a really positive thing that we are finally getting content that explores women’s lives at every age now. Was it difficult for you to put this installment of your life out there?

It wasn’t difficult, but I mean, all of these things, they always have their technical difficulties. I know people always want something that’s more interesting and exciting than the answer, but you know, it’s a process. It was very, very long. Originally, I think it was three hours. That’s when I was freaking out, saying like, “There’s no way I can say all this or anybody’s going to want to listen to this.” But then, you keep working at it, you cut it down. It will probably be 85 minutes, maybe 80 minutes.

That’s really just a process. The unexpected parts of it are you’ve got to wear Spanx. I mean, you have to. … I had microphones on my head! That feels very confining. There are the physical aspects of it—in some ways, that was, like, the hardest thing to get over. Like, “What do you mean I can’t go to the bathroom for two hours?” That’s the kind of stuff that actors deal with all the time, but we never think about it. There’s stress on the throat. And it’s a little bit like being an athlete. I exercise a lot more than I ever did, and I do vocal exercises and that kind of thing.

The chapter in the book where you talk about dating—you write that you had to make sure you were never at a certain man’s house when it was bedtime lest he invite you to sleep over. That just killed me.

I was just going to say, there’s so many stories. That story about that older guy? It was so much worse in real life. He was so sexist, and he said so many obnoxious things that I put in the book and one of my editors said, “We’ve got to cut this down.” She said, “This man is so awful. I just, I can’t do it.”

Well, I couldn’t stop laughing.

I mean, to me, it’s really the humor. I want people to laugh, because it’s all so absurd.

Obviously, HBO Max is reviving Sex and the City. I know you’re not involved in that, but how do you feel about the franchise being revived?

I think it’s great. I think they’re reviving everything else. It’s really a spin-off show. It has a different title. It has some of the same characters. It has some new characters. It’s going to probably be a bit of a different show than Sex and the City. It’s going to have its own logic. Michael Patrick King is doing it—he did the two movies. I think if they didn’t revive it, it would be strange, because they’re rebooting everything else and it’s kind of an obvious reboot. I think it’s bright. I don’t know anything about it. I’ll definitely watch it.

They are rebooting everything, so it kind of had to be done.

They are. It was going to be done, and I suppose they could have done it in a variety of ways, but they chose to do it the way they’re doing it, which makes sense. And it’s a very different animal than it was when we first set out and shot that pilot in 1997. It was a dark underground movie. The director was Susan Seidelman who directed Desperately Seeking Susan. She was one of the few female directors around. Which to me is so great. This is a big, big budget TV series. It looks glossy. It’s a very different animal.

Do you have any thoughts about Kim Cattrall leaving Sex and the City?

I think she makes her own decisions. And I really don’t [have any thoughts about it]. I, of course, have my own Samantha in my life, and she’s still part of my life. It’s like I have my own Carrie, Miranda kinds of characters, and I always give them different names. Without going into too much detail, my Samantha is actually in Is There Still Sex in the City?, but she’s got a different name. People evolve over time.

It’s really a spin-off, so it’s going to operate within its own logic. I’m not privy to any of that, so I don’t know. People are grown up, and I think it’s going to be a slightly different show. It’s not like Michael Patrick King doesn’t know how to do a hit TV show.

I would love to see your version. So is Is There Still Sex in the City? headed to the screen at some point in the future?

Yeah, I would think so. It’s such a particular take.

And I know you’ve been an executive producer on TV in the past, including on Lipstick Jungle, which I loved. Is that something you might return to?

Well, honestly, being on a TV set for 14 hours a day is a tough job. So, yes. There’s just a lot of different ways to be an executive producer. In Lipstick Jungle, I was on the set all the time. On The Carrie Diaries, I was an executive producer, but I really just read the scripts and that sort of thing. So it really depends on the project and how much power or control one has. Sometimes you want to be there every day and super involved. And at other times, I’ve sold things to TV where they’ve said, “We’re buying this. We’re not going to talk to you. We’re not going to get your permission on anything. We’re just going to go off and do it.” And you say, “Fine, send me my check.” And then there are other circumstances where they want you to be on every email, every call. So it really depends on the project.

Is There Still Sex in the City?, written by and starring Candace Bushnell, will begin previews at the Daryl Roth Theatre on November 13. To purchase tickets online, go to istherestillsexinthecity.com.

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