About the Subject: Charles Busch

Charles Busch

Charles Busch is the author and star of such plays as Psycho Beach Party, Times Square Angel, The Lady in Question, Red Scare on Sunset, You Should Be So Lucky, Queen Amarantha and Shanghai Moon.  His play Vampire Lesbians of Sodom ran five years in New York and is one of the longest-running plays in Off-Broadway history.

In 1988, he wrote a new libretto for the 1955 musical Ankles Aweigh for Goodspeed Opera and has also adapted the book of the Truman Capote/Harold Arlen musical House of Flowers for a tour with Patti Labelle. On film, he has appeared in Addams Family Values, It Could Happen To You and Trouble on The Corner.  He wrote the screenplay and starred in the film version of his play Psycho Beach Party, which co-starred Thomas Gibson (Dharma and Greg) and Lauren Ambrose (Six Feet Under). 

In 1995, he co-authored and appeared in a critically acclaimed run in the Off-Broadway musical Swingtime Canteen.  1997 saw him performing his one-man show Flipping My Wig at the WPA Theatre in New York.  During this time, Busch starred as the fabulous Mame Dennis in a memorable staged reading of Auntie Mame at the American Place Theatre along with Marcia Lewis, Kelly Bishop, Maxwell Caulfield, Juliet Mills, Barbara Feldon, John Davidson and the late Peggy Cass recreating her original role of Agnes Gooch. 

In 2000, Manhattan Theatre Club produced his play The Tale of the Allergist's Wife starring Linda Lavin, Tony Roberts and Michele Lee.  It was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for best play and won Mr. Busch the Outer Critic’s Circle John Gassner Award for Playwriting.  It reopened on Broadway in November 2001, was nominated for a Tony Award as Best Play and ran 777 performances. 

He recently starred in the film version of his play Die, Mommie, Die with Natasha Lyonne (But I’m A Cheerleader, Party Monster) and Frances Conroy (Six Feet Under) for which he won a 2003 Sundance Film Festival award for best performance. 

In the winter of 2003, Busch starred in a new production of his play Shanghai Moon opposite B.D. Wong (Mulan, Seven Years in Tibet) for which he was nominated for a Lucille Lortel award and a Drama League Award.  He was also given a special award for career achievement at the 2003 Drama Desk Awards.  For two seasons he appeared as Nat Ginzburg in the HBO series Oz.  In 2004, Busch wrote the book to the Broadway musical Taboo starring Boy George, directed by Christopher Renshaw, and produced by Rosie O’Donnell.  His first novel “Whores of Lost Atlantis” was published in hardcover by Hyperion Press and released as a Penguin paperback.  Busch graduated from Northwestern University and is a member of the Dramatist’s Guild.

Busch on seeing The Lady in Question is Charles Busch