Charles Ludlam Lives!

Charles Busch, Bradford Louryk, Taylor Mac, and the Queer Legacy of the Ridiculous Theatrical Company
Sean F. Edgecomb
Explores the enduring queer legacy of playwright, actor, and director Charles Ludlam


Playwright, actor and director Charles Ludlam (1943–1987) helped to galvanize the Ridiculous style of theater in New York City starting in the 1960s.  Decades after his death, his place in the chronicle of American theater has remained constant, but his influence has changed.  Although his Ridiculous Theatrical Company shut its doors, the Ludlamesque Ridiculous has continued to thrive and remain a groundbreaking genre, maintaining its relevance and potency by metamorphosing along with changes in the LGBTQ community.  
Author Sean F. Edgecomb focuses on the neo-Ridiculous artists Charles Busch, Bradford Louryk, and Taylor Mac to trace the connections between Ludlam’s legacy and their performances, using alternative queer models such as kinetic kinship, lateral historiography, and a new approach to camp. Charles Ludlam Lives! demonstrates that the queer legacy of Ludlam is one of distinct transformation—one where artists can reject faithful interpretations in order to move in new interpretive directions.
 “Sean Edgecomb thinks beyond pre- and post-Stonewall definitions of camp (without neglecting their significance) to argue that camp not only persists but remains a relevant tactic of transformational queer performance. Charles Ludlam Lives! is a smart, beautifully written book that will make a lasting contribution to gay and lesbian performance history.”
—Shane Vogel, Indiana University
“Charles Ludlam would be thrilled—just as he toyed with and overturned the conventions of popular theatre, this book playfully and brilliantly queers performance scholarship in its exploration of Ridiculous legacies. Edgecomb’s research is adventurous, and the writing is lively and compelling. Most importantly, the central figures, Charles Ludlam, Charles Busch, Bradford Louryk, and Taylor Mac, receive the full diva treatment they deserve.” —James Wilson, LaGuardia Community College, CUNY

Sean F. Edgecomb is Assistant Professor of Theatre, College of Staten Island, City University of New York.


Praise / Awards

  • "Enlightening, often lengthy sections of plays and descriptions of performances help readers engage intimately with work they may never have witnessed...Highly recommended for all readers."
  • "It is with considerable care and thoughtfulness that Edgecomb has researched the work of Charles Busch, as well as that of Bradford Louryk and Taylor Mac...Charles Ludlam Lives! is an important addition to American queer theater studies..."
    --Gay and Lesbian Review
  • "Edgecomb poses an intriguing final question: 'How, where
    and when does queerness move, and how then do
    we trace such movement?' It is a worthy inquiry,
    one that Charles Ludlam Lives! largely
    succeeds, in answering."
    --Theatre Journal

Look Inside

News, Reviews, Interviews

Read: Taylor Mac (covered in Charles Ludlam Lives) discussed in the New York Times (Link) | 9/14/2016

Product Details

  • 246 pages.
  • 7 illustrations.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Ebook
  • 2017
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-12295-0

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