Charles Busch is an actor, playwright and drag legend. He is the author and star of many
plays, including Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, one of the longest-running plays in Off-Broadway
history. His play The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife played 777 performances on Broadway and
received a Tony nomination for Best Play. Busch wrote and starred in the film versions of his
plays Psycho Beach Party and Die Mommie Die, the latter of which won him the Best
Performance Award at the Sundance Film Festival. He has been honored with a special Drama
Desk Award for career achievement as both performer and playwright and he also received the
Flora Roberts Award for Sustained Achievement in the theater by the Dramatist’s Guild.
Leading Lady: A Memoir
By Charles Busch
$13.99 – $27.95
This item will ship 08/29/2023.
A poignant, deliciously anecdotal account of a talented artist’s dramatic journey in the worlds of Off-Broadway, Broadway, and Hollywood.
AVAILABLE AUGUST 2023
A poignant, deliciously anecdotal account of a talented artist’s Oz-like journey in the
worlds of Off-Broadway, Broadway, and Hollywood
Since he was a boy, Charles Busch dreamed of being on stage, but it wasn’t until he studied
drama in college that he found the way to let his full talent shine—as a Leading Lady.
The Tony Award-nominated writer of Tales of the Allergist’s Wife and the long-running hit Off-
Broadway play Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, and a Sundance Festival award winner, Charles
Busch has created a unique place in the entertainment world as a playwright, LGBT icon, drag
actor, director, and cabaret performer, with his extraordinary gift for connecting with and
channeling the leading ladies of show business.
A born storyteller, Charles has a powerful story to tell, and he shares it with readers for the first
time in Leading Lady. He was seven years old when his mother died unexpectedly from a heart
attack and since then, he has been searching for loving, emotionally complex mother figures. In
his teens, Charles moved to Park Avenue in Manhattan to live with his Aunt Lil, who was both
indomitable and loving and reminds the reader of Patrick Dennis’ free-spirited Auntie Mame. Lil
encouraged and nourished Charles’ artistic talents and dreams, and eventually he discovered his
gifts for writing plays and performing as a male actress.
In concise, wonderfully readable chapters, by turns comic and moving, Charles writes of his
close friendship with the brilliant comedian Joan Rivers, a mother figure after Aunt Lil’s death,
as well as his colorful and sometimes outlandish interactions with show business luminaries
including Angela Lansbury (who attended her first Passover seder with Charles), Debbie
Reynolds, Greta Garbo, Elaine Stritch, Linda Lavin, Carol Channing, Marian Seldes, Rosie
O’Donnell, Claudette Colbert, Valerie Harper, Kim Novak, Bea Arthur, and many others.
Full of both humor and heart—and including 24 pages of wonderful photographs, many in
color, Leading Lady is perfect for readers of entertainment books as well as anyone who enjoys
reading the story of a unique gay man who broke the mold, ditched the boundaries, and created
his own dazzling kind of art.
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Dimensions: 6 x 9 x 1 in.
Weight: 1 lbs.
Publication Date: August 2023
Format: E-book (epub)
Publication Date: August 2023