It's been some years since the demise of Off-Broadway's Ridiculous Theatrical Company, where camp theatre once lived and thrived, first through the talents of founder Charles Ludlum, then by the industry of his heir apparent, Everett Quinton.
Now, for a month, from June 22 to July 23, New York theatregoers can revisit that world of drag, pastiche and outlandish costuming. Nada, the Off-Off-Broadway theatre kingdom spread over several spaces, is presenting "The Ridicu-fest," subtitled "A Camp Theater Retrospective." Included in the festival will be works by Ludlum, Charles Busch, Ethyl Eichelberger and Jack Smith. All are now deceased, except Busch, who has unexpectedly transformed himself into a hit playmaker; his The Tale of the Allergist's Wife will reopen on Broadway this fall.
The fest's ten offerings -- including two adaptations of "The Stepford Wives" -- will be presented at Nada Classic at 167 Ludlow Street, Nada Piano Store at 158 Ludlow Street and Nada ShowWorld at 675 Eighth Avenue. A specific schedule is not available, but offering will include:
• Busch's Pardon My Inquisition, Directed by Aaron Beall
• Busch's Theodora, She-Bitch of Byzantium, directed by Kelly Nolan
• Ludlum's Stage Blood, directed by Michael Goldfried
• Ludlum's Der Ring Farblonjet, directed by Tim Cusak
• Eichelberger's Clytemnestra, director TBA
• Eichelberger's Saint Joan, directed by Edward Einhorn
• An evening of Ronald Tavel's Shower and The Life of Juanita Castro, directed by Ian Hill
• An evening of two new plays by Todd Miller, Das Presley and The Stepford Wives
• Housewives, a new play mixing A Doll's House with "The Stepford Wives"
• Normal Love, a theatrical version of Jack Smith's film.
The festival will also include a June 15 symposium on camp theatre moderated by Daily News critic and Ludlam biographer David Kaufman. Panelists will include Busch, Lola Pashalinski and Black Eyed Susan. The event will take place from noon to 6 PM at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. For more information, call (212) 420-1466.
--By Robert Simonson