Charles Louis Busch is an American actor, screenwriter, playwright and female impersonator, known for his appearances on stage in his own camp style plays and in film and television. He wrote The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife, which was a success on Broadway. Busch’s father wanted to be an opera singer but owned a record store. His mother was a homemaker who died when Busch was young. Busch’s aunt, Lillian Blum, brought him to live in Manhattan after the death of his mother. Blum was his mother’s oldest sister and a former teacher.
He was intensely interested in film as a young child, especially those with female leads from the 30s and 40s. Charles attended the High School of Music and Art in Manhattan. He majored in drama at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and received his B.A. in 1976. While at the university, Busch had difficulty being cast in plays and began to write his own material. Charles has usually played the leading lady in drag in his plays. He has said, “Drag is being more, more than you can be. When I first started drag I wasn’t this shy young man but a powerful woman. It liberated within me a whole vocabulary of expression. It was less a political statement than an aesthetic one.”
By 1984, Busch’s performance bookings grew slim. He held various odd jobs “to pay the rent”, such as temporary office assistant, apartment cleaner, portrait artist, salesperson, shop manager, ice cream server, sports handicapper and artists’ model. He thought that perhaps his last piece would be a skit put on in the Limbo Lounge, a gay bar in the East Village in Manhattan. The skit was a hit and became Busch’s most famous Off-off-Broadway play, Vampire Lesbians of Sodom (1984). Busch and his collaborators soon created a series of shows. In 1993, he wrote a novel, Whores of Lost Atlantis, a fictionalized re-telling of the creation of Vampire Lesbians of Sodom. In 1994, he took the male lead in his comedy, You Should Be So Lucky. Charles has had a long string of plays, shows, movies, and more that cannot possibly all be listed here.