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.