Charles Busch

Actor, Playwright, Gender illusionist
Following in the footsteps of the late Charles Ludlum, founder of New York's Ridiculous Theatre Company, which honed camp and cross-dressing into a comic art in the 1960s and 70s, self-described "gender illusionist" ... Read more »
Born: 08/23/1954 in New York City, New York, USA


Actor (15)

One Life to Live 1967 - 2010 (TV Show)


Lipstick Jungle 2008 (Tv Show)


Garbo 2005 - 2006 (TV Show)


A Very Serious Person 2005 (Movie)

Jan (Actor)

Totally Gayer 2003 - 2004 (TV Show)


Die Mommie Die! 2003 (Movie)

Angela Arden (Actor)

Oz 2000 - 2001 (Tv Show)


Psycho Beach Party 2000 (Movie)

Captain Monica Sharp (Actor)

Trouble on the Corner 1998 (Movie)

Ms Ellen (Actor)

Judy Garland: Beyond the Rainbow 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)


It Could Happen to You 1994 (Movie)

Timothy (Actor)

Addams Family Values 1993 (Movie)

Countess Aphasia du Barry (Actor)

Light Years 1988 (Movie)

of Gemnen (Voice)

Dragtime (TV Show)

Writer (6)

A Very Serious Person 2005 (Movie)


Die Mommie Die! 2003 (Movie)


Die Mommie Die! 2003 (Movie)

(from play: "Die Mommy Die") (Source Material)

Psycho Beach Party 2000 (Movie)


Psycho Beach Party 2000 (Movie)

(Play) (Source Material)

Psycho Beach Party 2000 (Movie)

("Psycho Beach Party") (Play as Source Material)
Director (2)

A Very Serious Person 2005 (Movie)


Personal Assistant 2001 - 2002 (TV Show)



Following in the footsteps of the late Charles Ludlum, founder of New York's Ridiculous Theatre Company, which honed camp and cross-dressing into a comic art in the 1960s and 70s, self-described "gender illusionist" Charles Busch drew inspiration from movie and stage divas of yore and created complex female characterizations, not just a cabaret drag persona, to place at the center of his trashy spectacles. In 1984, he formed Theatre-in-Limbo with a group of friends and began performing his wonderfully-titled plays like "Theodora, She-Bitch of Byzantium" and "Kiss the Blood Off My Castanets" at NYC's Limbo Lounge. "Vampire Lesbians of Sodom" became such a hit there that it moved in 1985 to the historic Provincetown Playhouse, where it played for five years, becoming one of the longest-running non-musicals in Off-Broadway history. A 2000-year-old lesbian in that one, he also scored as Chicklet, a teenager with a multiple personality disorder, in "Psycho Beach Party" (1987), which he would retool for his first screenwriting credit in 2000.


has two sisters

wanted to be an opera singer but ended up owning a record store in Yonkers, New York sang baritone for amateur opera group, the Westchester Opera Guild

died c, 1961


also influenced him and his writing


first generation from Russia her style was a big influence on Busch

Eric Myers

Busch has refered to their "marriage" and to himself as an "opera widow"


High School of Music and Art

New York, New York 1972

Northwestern University

Evanston, Illinois
met his future director and co-star Kenneth Elliott



Joined the cast of the ABC daytime serial "One Life to Live" playing Peg Barlow


Wrote "The Tale of the Alergist's Wife" (his most accessible play yet) for Linda Lavin; did not act in it; opened to successful Off-Broadway run in the spring; transferred to Broadway in fall; earned Best Play Tony nomination


First screenwriting credit, adapting "Psycho Beach Party"; too old for the lead role of Chicklet, he portrayed adult femmes Captain Monica Stark and Mrs. Forrest


Had recurring role as an inmate on HBO's "Oz"; his character suffocated Italian mob boss Antonio Nappa


With composor-lyricist Rusty McGee concocted the Off-Broadway musical "The Green Heart", based on the same Jack Ritchie story that inspired Elaine May's "A New Leaf" (1971); did not act in it


Portrayed Ms. Ellen, the resident, fortune-telling drag queen in "Trouble on the Corner"


Conceived "Queen Amarantha" as his (Sarah) Bernhardt vehicle; portrayed a drag actor playing a woman (Amarantha) who's conflicted about her gender and dresses as a man; rejecting his usual "camp" style, he successfully addressed a serious subject ending i


Performed his one-man show "Flipping My Wig", subtitled "An Evening with Charles Busch"; directed by Elliott


Co-authored and appeared in the Off-Broadway musical "Swingtime Canteen"


Played a gay man in his "You Should Be So Lucky", his first play featuring Jewish humor, as well as gay humor


Uncharacteristically played a male role (Timothy) in Andrew Bergman's "It Could Happen to You"


Appeared as Countess Aphasia du Barry in "Addams Family Values"


Portrayed Mary Dale, a well-meaning Pollyanna of a Hollywood star who names names at the McCarthy hearings, in his "Red Scare on Sunset"


Provided the voice of Gemnen, a two-headed monster, in the animated sci-fi feature "Light Years"


Adapted Guy Bolton and Eddie Davis' book for a new production of the 1955 musical "Ankles Aweigh" at Goodspeed Opera House, East Haddam, Connecticut; first thing he had written that he did not perform in


Wrote and performed in "The Lady in Question", playing an American concert pianist and Nazi hunter in World War II Europe; moved from Limbo Lounge to WPA Theatre and finally to the Orpheum Theatre in 1989


Played the lead in his own "Psycho Beach Party"


Off-Broadway debut, "Vampire Lesbians of Sodom"; ran five years, becoming one of the longest-running non-musicals in Off-Broadway history


Wrote and performed in "Times Square Angel", a touching Christmas tale of a tough cookie with a tender heart, starring Busch as Irish O'Flanagan


Formed Theatre-in-Limbo with a group of friends (including Kenneth Elliott) and began performing plays at the Limbo Lounge, where the hit "Vampire Lesbians of Sodom" originated


Wrote and performed one-man show "Hollywood Confidential" in Greenwich Village

Toured the country with one-man show, "Charles Busch Alone with a Cast of Thousands"; seeing this piece, Charles Ludlum provided him with the space to perform "Hollywood Confidential"

Raised by his Aunt Lillian in Hartsdale, New York after his mother died when he was seven

After college, worked for two years in Chicago with a small company of unimaginative actors who resented him writing and starring in all their shows