The primary Stages Off-Broadway Oral history Project

Celebrating the visionaries who created New York's vibrant Off- and Off-Off-Broadway theater.

Charles Busch

Charles Busch

Actor, Playwright, Librettist, Author
Born on Monday, August 23, 1954

Interviewed on: Wednesday, June 7, 2017
Location: Primary Stages Offices
Interviewed by: Casey Childs
Interview #99
Photo Credit: Michael Wakefield
"People’s so marvelous that you didn’t give up. It didn’t occur to me… There’s always going to be a young person who has a dream and a lot of ambition and some talented friends. They’ll figure it out."
Charles Busch Highlights
Video Length: 5 Minutes, 21 Seconds
Charles Busch Interview Part One
Video Length: 1 Hour, 59 Minutes
Charles Busch Interview Part Two
Video Length: 2 Hours, 15 Minutes

Charles Busch is an actor and playwright best known for starring in his own plays, which include: VAMPIRE LESBIANS OF SODOM (1985), SLEEPING BEAUTY OR COMA (1985), TIMES SQUARE ANGEL (1985), PSYCHO BEACH PARTY (1987), THE LADY IN QUESTION (1988/89), RED SCARE ON SUNSET (1991), YOU SHOULD BE SO LUCKY (1994), SHANGHAI MOON (2003), DIE, MOMMIE DIE! (2007), THE THIRD STORY (2009), THE DIVINE SISTER (2010), and THE TRIBUTE ARTIST (2014). As a playwright, he has co-authored and appeared in the Off-Broadway musical SWINGTIME CANTEEN (1995), written the book for the musical THE GREEN HEART (1997), and written the plays OUR LEADING LADY (2007) and OLIVE AND THE BITTER HERBS (2011). His play THE TALE OF THE ALLERGIST’S WIFE (2000) was nominated for a Drama Desk Award and won him the Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award for Playwriting. When the play transferred to Broadway in 2001, it was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Play.

Charles Busch was born in New York City. He attended the High School of Music and Arts and graduated from Northwestern University. He began his career touring the country doing solo shows and cabarets under the title Alone With a Cast of Thousands. He is a two-time MAC Award winner for his work as a cabaret artist. His film and television credits include a recurring role on the HBO series “Oz” and film versions of Psycho Beach Party and Die, Mommie, Die!, for which he received a Special Jury Prize for Outstanding Performance at the Sundance Film Festival. In 2003, he received a special Drama Desk Award for his achievements as a performer and playwright. He has been honored with a star on the Playwrights’ Walk of Fame outside the Lucille Lortel Theatre.

Mentioned in Interview

Maxine Andrews, Zoe Caldwell, Robert Carey, Elizabeth Katherine Carr, Casey Childs, David Downs, Ruth Draper, Kenneth Elliott, Richard Foreman, Alison Fraser, Andy Halliday, Julie Halston, Arnie Kolodner, Linda Lavin, Charles Ludlam, Rusty Magee, Theresa Marlowe, Lynne Meadow, George Osterman, Lola Pashalinski, Meghan Robinson, Daryl Roth, Jeff Weiss, Brian Whitehill, Blue Angel, Lucille Lortel Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, New World Stages, Orpheum Theatre, Players Theatre, Primary Stages, Provincetown Playhouse, SoHo Playhouse, Westside Theatre, Variety Arts Theatre, WPA Theatre, DIE, MOMMIE DIE!, THE DIVINE SISTER, THE LADY IN QUESTION, OLIVE AND THE BITTER HERBS, OUR LEADING LADY, PSYCHO BEACH PARTY, RED SCARE ON SUNSET, SHANGHAI MOON, SLEEPING BEAUTY OR COMA, SWINGTIME CANTEEN, THE TALE OF THE ALLERGIST’S WIFE, THE THIRD STORY, TIMES SQUARE ANGEL, THE TRIBUTE ARTIST, VAMPIRE LESBIANS OF SODOM, YOU SHOULD BE SO LUCKY