Charles Busch Begins Summer Life as Auntie Mame on June 28

By Robert Simonson
28 Jun 2004

Charles Busch
Charles Busch

Is was possibly only a matter of time before Charles Busch, the playwright and performer known for his peerless comic impersonations of the opposite sex, would star in a production of Auntie Mame.

The fateful match of play and actor will take place this summer at Maine's storied summer stock landmark, the Ogunquit Playhouse. Dates are June 28-July 10. The co-production with the Bay Street Theatre of Sag Harbor, NY, will be directed by Richard Sabellico.

Also in the cast are Tolan Aman, Kerrie Blaisdell, Jennifer Harmon, Michael McCormick, Gordana Rashovich, Victor Slezak, Patrick Ryan Sullivan and Max Von Essen.

The set and costume design will be handled by Busch's longtime designers Michael Bottari and Ronald Case.

Busch will play the larger than life madcap Mame, who famously lives her life as a banquet and charges his impressionable orphaned nephew to "Live!" The show was a hit in 1956 for playwrights Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, who adapted the work from the novel by Patrick Dennis, and has since become a camp classic with a passionately worshipful following, particularly within the gay community. It inspired both a movie, with Rosalind Russell, and the Jerry Herman musical Mame.



Auntie Mame will fill the number three spot in the Sag Harbor season, July 13-August 1.

Busch starred in a sold-out all-star benefit performance of the comedy in New York Nov. 24, 2003. Christopher Sieber co-starred as Patrick Dennis, and the cast also included Marian Seldes (Vera Charles), Michael Berresse (Ralph Devine), Sarah Uriarte Berry (Gloria Upson) Charles Kimbrough (Mr. Upson) Beth Howland (Mrs. Upson), Swoosie Kurtz (Agnes Gooch), Alison Fraser (Nora Muldoon), Charles Shaughnessy (Brian O'Bannion), Douglas Sills (M. Lindsay Woolsey), B.D. Wong (Ito), Dylan Baker (Mr. Babcock) and T.J. Larke (Young Patrick Dennis).

Sabellico directed the benefit, as he did a 2002 Ogunquit staging of Busch's The Tale of the Allergist's Wife.

Aside from the benefit, Busch most recently donned a dress in the Drama Dept. Off-Broadway staging of his Shanghai Moon. Busch's other playwright-actor credits include Vampire Lesbians in Sodom, The Lady in Question, Red Scare on Sunset and Queen Amarantha.