Charles Busch is the queen of the worlds he has created. The underground sensation Vampire Lesbians of Sodom; Psycho Beach Party (a dark parody of 60's beach films); and his Broadway hit, The Tale of the Allergist's Wife (the all-too-real depiction of an Upper West Side matron) are among the standouts of a career spanning nearly forty years. In his work, he has almost always cast himself in the role of the leading lady, using drag to bring his creations to life. For Charles, the art of drag is a vehicle for his characters to become fully realized and to surpass the limitations placed on male actors. He is the Grande Dame of queer theatre.
Although he spent his early years in Westchester, he came of age in Manhattan. After his mother's death, his aunt, Lillian Blum, took charge of his upbringing and education, both scholastically & culturally. It was through her that he became immersed in the fine and performing arts. In many ways, his life mirrors that of young Patrick in Auntie Mame. It is without a doubt that Aunt Lillian planted the seeds for what would become a lifelong admiration and obsession with the Hollywood leading ladies that so often influence his works.
It was a privilege to be welcomed into Charles' home for this interview. Surrounded by the Gigi Red walls of his living room and collection of exotic artifacts, we were immersed in the environment within which he creates pieces that inspire and shape the lives of his audiences.