Beyond Ridiculous: Making Gay Theatre with Charles Busch in 1980s New York

Univ. of Iowa. Nov. 2023. 226p. ISBN 9781609389192. pap. $35. THEATER
Elliott (theater, Rutgers Univ.-Camden) and actor/screenwriter Charles Busch met during college in the 1970s and eventually moved to New York, where they started the Theatre-in-Limbo company together in 1984. This book functions as Elliott’s memoir about his time working as the director and producer of the Theatre-in-Limbo shows with Busch, who wrote and occasionally acted in the productions. The book is also an examination of the importance of high-camp off-Broadway theater for a community of gay men in New York City during the height of the AIDS epidemic. The beginning of each chapter includes a black-and-white photograph of cast members, and a list of all the Theatre-in-Limbo plays and their casts are included in the appendix. The appendix also contains a section of notes, a bibliography, an index, and a list of studies in theater history and culture. The appendix alone makes up one quarter of the fairly slim book, making it seem less like a memoir and more like a reference guide.
VERDICT Might be perfect to assign to a class of theater students. The lengthy appendix and niche subject matter may weaken its appeal for general collections.
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