Drag diva Charles Busch is striking out in a new direction for his upcoming cabaret performances.
The Tony nominee told Playbill that he plans a full “coming out” party for the new persona at Feinstein's/54 Below October 17–21, with an all-new show titled Charles Busch: My Kinda 60s, which he describes as “Charles Busch, Act III.”
The author and frequent star of four decades of classics including Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, Psycho Beach Party, The Divine Sister, The Lady in Question, and Charles Busch's Cleopatra, said he plans to perform in traditional male garb at future club appearances.
“What I love about cabaret—and it’s been a chapter in my life the last five years as cabaret performer—is just how intimate it is and just how true to yourself you have to be,” he said. “And, surprisingly, after 40 years in drag I can actually be myself and still be dressed as a lady. But at a certain point I was feeling about the drag, why am I doing it at all [in cabaret]. It seems so superfluous.”
For those who might be shocked at these plans, Busch hastens to reassure them. “I’m not giving up drag. Please make that clear! I still believe in it and it's what I do. In plays and movies ....I’ll still play female characters. That is what I do best. But in cabaret I like being just so true to my own persona.”
There is precedent. He pointed out that when he’s done benefits or personal appearances such as the Playbill Cruise tours, he has performed in trousers. “So it’s not that big of an adjustment.”
Busch said he hasn’t figured out what he will wear for the gig at 54 Below, but “I have feeling it might be a tad androgynous anyway.”
He doesn’t wish to disappoint his long-term fans, and, in any case, he said, “Listen, what I call men’s clothes somebody else might call drag!”
He described Charles Busch: My Kinda 60s as “a whole new show,“ drawn on the music he remembers from his childhood, growing up in the 1960s. "They’re all songs from pop, Broadway, film, just an incredible and eclectic group of songs. I tried to pick songs that are somewhat familiar but not done to death.”
Tickets to Charles Busch: My Kinda 60s cost $30–$75, plus a $25 food/beverage minimum, and can be ordered by clicking here.