Fate has stepped in many times in his life, says Busche, who lives in New York.
“My life has been a series of miracles from the beginning. When things were looking bad, something happened.” The New York Times review of “Vampire Lesbians” in 1984 gave him instant cred and has allowed him to work as an writer/actor ever since. Certainly winning a Special Jury Prize for acting at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival for the film version of “Mommie” was another magic moment.
His comedic “The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife,” though, might be the highlight of his career. It opened on Broadway in 2000 and was nominated for a Best Play Tony — as well as Lead Actress for Linda Lavin and Featured Actress for Michele Lee — and ran for 777 performances. (It played locally at Horizon Theatre not long after).
Busch has learned to dream within reason — it never crossed his mind that he could have a play on Broadway but he enjoyed the heck out of it.
“I never dreamed of winning an Oscar,” he admits. “I wanted something achievable, like being able to open a solo show. There’s nothing better than having a show on Broadway.”
Another recent success was his comedy “The Divine Sister,” which got Busch some of the strongest reviews of his career when it opened in New York in 2010. The play has traveled to cities across the country.
“I did that for fun,” he says. “It’s fun to play a nun. I fell in love with films on TV about nuns.”
He loves both the writing process and getting to perform — and getting to intertwine the two. “I go through phases,” he says. “I love writing a play, four times a day getting into that world. That is when I am the happiest. But performing is special.” When he gets the urge to do so, it’s an itch he loves to scratch.
Busch says he has never really been in the closet. “I am very lucky,” he says. “I grew up in New York to a liberal family. My life is the plot of ‘Auntie Mame.’ (He came to Manhattan with his aunt after his mother died.) I was never in the closet. One day I was a kid then I was a sexual being. I came to sexual life post Stonewall. It was a great gift. I have never censored myself. I knew I was going to be doing drag and I don’t care what people think.”
Next up — rehearsals begin Dec. 17 for his new “The Tribute Artist,” an off-Broadway comedy at New York’s Primary Stages, opening in January with Busch as the writer and one of the actors.
His stay in Atlanta will be just 24 hours, so there will be little time to see the city. He is a rabid “Gone With the Wind” fan, however, and hopes to see the Margaret Mitchell House and the Fox Theatre while in town.
Charles Busch featuring Tom Judson on the piano
Dec. 6 at 8 p.m.
887 W. Marietta St., Atlanta, GA 30318