Charles Busch: Broad Appeal
BY Brandon Voss
February 02 2009 12:00 AM ET
It’s been 25 years since Charles Busch’s outrageous play Vampire Lesbians of Sodom made him a star of Manhattan’s East Village performance scene. Since that unlikely long-running sensation, Busch has channeled his obsession with Hollywood’s Golden Age — and a penchant for drag — into a legendary theatrical career crowned by his Tony-nominated 2000 work The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife. Now, the actor, playwright, novelist, director, and screenwriter behind campy genre parodies such as Psycho Beach Party and Die, Mommie, Die! is back off-Broadway portraying three delicious female roles in his new too-hard-to-summarize show-within-a-show sci-fi mob comedy The Third Story at the Lucille Lortel Theatre. There’s no trimming this Busch as he recalls romancing costar Kathleen Turner and his other favorite divas.
Advocate.com: I spotted you in the audience of Liza's at the Palace on Broadway back in December. What did you think of the show?
Charles Busch: I thought it was thrilling. It’s the kind of show business that just will not exist anymore. And I saw it under wonderful circumstances. I remember I was 13 and at sleep-away camp when Judy Garland was at the Palace the last time, so I was devastated that I had to miss it, but my aunt sent me the clippings from all the papers. I was the only 13-year-old at summer camp getting clippings about Judy at the Palace. Now I have this 16-year-old protégé — this young kid I’ve known since he was 12 — so I took him to see Liza at the Palace, which is the closest thing to Judy. It was great seeing it with him particularly. I enjoy exposing him to all sorts of cultural events. We went backstage afterward, and it was like going to see Santa Claus at Macy’s: You’re led into a bright red room, there’s a mythical creature sitting there, you say a few words, you have your picture taken with her, and then you’re ushered off.
Did Liza know your work?
Gosh, I’ve met Liza Minnelli maybe six times now, but I wonder if she really knows who I am. She always greets me with great enthusiasm and says, “I’m a huge fan of yours,” but I’d know if she’d been at one of my shows, and I wouldn’t count on her having seen Die, Mommie, Die! I think she just has very good manners.
I also noticed you chatting up Judith Light at intermission.
Judith Light was sitting in front of us by herself, so we kind of ended up being her dates for the night. She’s a lot of fun.
I hope you asked for a cameo on Ugly Betty.
Well, it seems like everybody else is getting one these days.
- Colo. School Board Member Denies Existence of Gay, Trans Identities
- Don't Miss the Message in Rome's Beautiful Christmas Lights
- Colo. Bakery's Refusal to Bake Gay Wedding Cake Is Discrimination, Judge Rules
- WATCH: Pastor Rick Warren's Orwellian 'Doublespeak' on Marriage Equality
- WATCH: Elton John Slams 'Inhumane, Isolating' Anti-LGBT Laws In Russia
- Holiday Guide: Shop Here, Not There
- Music A Brief History of Macklemore's 'Same Love' 9:10 AM
- Transgender Gay, Trans Identities Don't Exist, Says Colo. School Board Member 7:00 AM
- World News PHOTOS: Don't Miss the Message in Rome's Beautiful New Lights 1:47 AM
- Travel Wedding Bells Ring Down Under December 07 2013 3:33 PM
- Religion WATCH: Rick Warren's 'Doublespeak' on Marriage Equality December 07 2013 3:32 PM
- Entertainment News Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Score 7 Grammy Nominations December 07 2013 1:32 PM
- Marriage Equality Washington's Weddings Were 17 Percent Gay Last Year December 07 2013 8:00 AM