High Tide

The CapeMay.com blog

Candace Bushnell (the Original Carrie Bradshaw) Performed Her One Woman Show at Congress Hall

All photographs taken by Frank Scott

The Sex and the City series was a cultural phenomenon, and the main character was a cultural icon. Candace Bushnell was the brain behind the series and the real person behind the character Carrie Bradshaw. As an author and visionary, her books influenced an era of dating, fashion, and friendships—all essential themes to her one-woman off Broadway show, True Tales of Sex, Success, and Sex and the City. A stop along the tour was Cape May’s Congress Hall. 

Congress Hall’s Harrison Room and Ballroom were the perfect pink and prestigious backdrops for this Sex and the City inspired weekend. Hosted in the Harrison Room on Friday evening was an intimate book signing with Candace herself. Fans mingled with a cosmopolitan in one hand, and Candace’s 2019 book Is There Still Sex in the City? in the other, in wait of the fabulous Candace Bushnell. The incredibly kind and attentive waitstaff kept us occupied with delicious charcuterie and beverages.

To kick off the book signing, she opened the room to questions. Guests voiced their curiosity on things like what her original impetus for writing was, how comparable her real life friendships were to the ones presented on TV, how her relationship to New York City has evolved, and her take on the modern tech-infused dating climate. Candace is not one to give a one-word answer—she responded to everyone’s questions with intention and thoughtfulness. It was reflective of the vulnerability that made Carrie Bradshaw’s column in the show so enticing and relatable to viewers. The Q&A served to set the stage for what topics Candace would explore the following evening during her live performance. 

A packed ballroom, open bar, dozens of gorgeous cocktail dresses to pair with the martinis, and a three-course dinner awaited on Saturday night leading up to her one-woman show. You would think an event like this entails the accompaniment of one or several of your very good or bestest friends (which I was honored to have one of as a date), but this was also a great environment to make new friends. An available seat at my table made room for a solo traveler that had attended the event stag and left it with at least two new friends. The ballroom was buzzing with conversation, and bursted with excitement when Candace hit the stage.

Candace has a naturally vibrant personality that translates to an entertaining stage presence. Her wit and storytelling ability beckoned laughter and showcased her inner Carrie Bradshaw. She played an interactive game with the crowd throughout the performance, revealing which moments on the show happened to her in real life. I won’t expose any revelations, but it was a highlight of the experience that shed light on where reality met fiction. Her engagement with the crowd made for an inviting atmosphere and ignited the audience’s interest.

Curtis Bashaw, owner of Congress Hall who is good friends with Candace, made an appearance on both nights to show his support and enjoy the show. Candace’s last visit to Cape May was in 2002 during Congress Hall’s reopening ceremony after extensive renovations. Candace mentioned on stage that she has come to Cape May to work on her books in the past. Though Carrie Bradshaw will forever be a poster woman for city living, Candace is very fond of places like Cape May—away from the fast-paced hustle and bustle to a slower, more scenic environment. A good place to organize your thoughts and articulate them on paper, sometimes for eventual publication.