Charles Ludlam Biography (1943-1987)

Born April 12, 1943, in Floral Park, NY; died of AIDS-related pneumonia in New York City, May 28, 1987; son of Joseph William and Marjorie (Braun) Ludlam.

At the time of his death, the New York Times called Charles Ludlam "one of the most prolific and flamboyant artists in the theatre of the avant-garde." His obituary went on to compare the highly regarded impresario to the theatrical entrepreneurs of the nineteenth century for his actions as playwright, director, producer, and star of the Ridiculous Theatrical Company.

Nationality
American
Gender
Male
Birth Details
April 12, 1943
Floral Park, New York, United States
Death Details
May 28, 1987
New York, New York, United States

Famous Works

  • Credits
  • OFF-OFF BROADWAY DEBUT--Peeping Tom, The Life of Lady Godiva, SeventeenthStreet Studio, 1967.
  • LONDON DEBUT--Title role, Bluebeard, Open Space Theatre, 1971.
  • Credits; PRINCIPAL STAGE APPEARANCES; ALL WITH THE RIDICULOUS THEATRICAL
  • COMPANY (SEE PRODUCTION DETAILS BELOW) Svengali, Norma Desmond, Big Hotel.
  • Cosroe, Zabina, When Queens Collide.
  • the Fool, The Grand Tarot.
  • Saint Obnoxious, Turds in Hell.
  • title role, Bluebeard.
  • An Te Hai, Eunuchs of the Forbidden City.
  • Paw Hatfield, Corn.
  • title role, Camille.
  • Buck Armstrong, Hot Ice.
  • Carleton Stone, Jr., Stage Blood.
  • Professor Bedlam's Educational Punch and Judy Show (puppet show).
  • title role, Caprice.
  • featured role, The Adventures of Karagoz.
  • Hagen, Der Ring Gott Farblonjet.
  • Charles, The Ventriloquist's Wife.
  • Botchup, Utopia, Incorporated.
  • Anti-Galaxie Nebula (puppet show).
  • Ebenezer Scrooge, A Christmas Carol.
  • Leonard Silver, Reverse Psychology.
  • Bram Taylor, Love's Tangled Web.
  • Phil Landers, Secret Lives of the Sexists.
  • Count Benito Neroni, Exquisite Torture.
  • Mr. Foufas, Le Bourgeois Avant-Garde.
  • Maria Magdelena Galas, Galas.
  • various roles, The Mystery of Irma Vep.
  • title role, Salammabo.
  • Chester Nurdiger, The Artificial Jungle.
  • Also appeared in later Off-Off Broadway revivals of these productions andin the title role in the American Ibsen Theatre's production of Hedda Gabler, Pittsburgh, PA, 1984.
  • Credits; PRINCIPAL STAGE WORK; PRODUCER AND DIRECTOR FOR THE RIDICULOUS THEATRICAL COMPANY
  • Big Hotel, Gate Theatre, New York City, 1967.
  • When Queens Collide (also known as Conquest of the Universe), Gate Theatre, 1967, restaged as Conquest of the Universe, or When Queens Collide, One Sheridan Square, New York City, 1979.
  • The Grand Tarot, Millenium Film Workshop, New York City, 1969.
  • Turds in Hell, Gate Theatre, then Masque Theatre, New York City, 1969.
  • Bluebeard, La Mama Experimental Theatre Club, then the Trocadero at Christopher's End, later the Performing Garage, all New York City, 1970.
  • Eunuchs of the Forbidden City, European tour, 1971, then Theatre for theNew City, later the Performing Garage, both New York City, 1972.
  • Corn, Thirteenth Street Theatre, New York City, 1972.
  • Camille, Thirteenth Street Theatre, 1973.
  • Hot Ice, Tamanous Playhouse, Vancouver, BC, Canada, 1973.
  • Professor Bedlam's Educational Punch and Judy Show (puppet show), Evergreen Theatre, New York City, 1975.
  • Stage Blood, Evergreen Theatre, 1975, restaged at the Truck and WarehouseTheatre, New York City, 1977.
  • The Adventures of Karagoz, Festival Mondial de Theatre, Nancy, France, 1976.
  • Caprice, Provincetown Playhouse, then Performing Garage, both New York City, 1976.
  • (also designer) Der Ring Gott Farblonjet, Truck and Warehouse Theatre, 1977.
  • The Ventriloquist's Wife, Anti-Galaxie Nebula (puppet show), and Utopia,Incorporated, all One Sheridan Square, 1978.
  • The Enchanted Pig, The Elephant Woman, A Christmas Carol, all One Sheridan Square, 1979.
  • (also designer) Reverse Psychology, One Sheridan Square, 1980.
  • Love's Tangled Web, One Sheridan Square, 1981.
  • Secret Lives of the Sexists, Exquisite Torture, both One Sheridan Square,1982.
  • (also designer) Le Bourgeois Avant-Garde, Galas, both One Sheridan Square, 1983.
  • (also designer) The Mystery of Irma Vep, One Sheridan Square, 1984.
  • Salammbo, One Sheridan Square, 1985.
  • The Artificial Jungle, One Sheridan Square, 1986. Dates are for originalproductions.
  • in early years of the Ridiculous Theatrical Company, plays were done in repertory, later in individual runs.
  • Credits; MAJOR TOURS
  • Produced, directed, and acted in Ridiculous Theatrical Company tours of European cities, 1971 and 1973, U.S. cities, 1978, and West Coast, 1980.
  • Credits; PRINCIPAL FILM APPEARANCES
  • The Big Easy, Columbia, 1987.
  • Also appeared in Forever, Lulu, 1987; Imposters; The Sorrows of Dolores;Museum of Wax; She Must Be Seeing Things.
  • Credits; PRINCIPAL FILM WORK; PRODUCER AND DIRECTOR
  • The Sorrows of Dolores.
  • Museum of Wax.
  • Credits; PRINCIPAL TELEVISION APPEARANCES; EPISODIC
  • Oh Madeline, ABC, 1984.
  • Miami Vice, NBC, 1985.
  • Tales from the Darkside, syndicated, 1986.
  • Writings;PLAYS; SEE PRODUCTION DETAILS ABOVE UNLESS INDICATED
  • Big Hotel, 1967.
  • When Queens Collide (also known as Conquest of the Universe), 1967.
  • The Grand Tarot, 1969.
  • (with Bill Vehr) Turds in Hell, 1969, published in Drama Review, edited by Erika Munk, New York University, 1969.
  • Bluebeard, 1970, published in Best Plays of Off Broadway, 1970, edited byMichael Smith, Bobbs-Merrill, 1970, in The Off-Off Broadway Book, edited byAlbert Poland and Bruce Mailman, Bobbs- Merrill, 1972, and by Samuel French,Inc., 1987.
  • Eunuchs of the Forbidden City, 1971, published in Scripts, edited by Erika Munk and Bill Coco, New York Shakespeare Festival, 1972.
  • Corn, 1972.
  • (adaptor) Camille, 1973, published by Samuel French, Inc., 1987.
  • Hot Ice, 1973, published in Drama Review, edited by Michael Kirby, New York University, 1974.
  • Professor Bedlam's Educational Punch and Judy Show (puppet show), 1975.
  • Stage Blood, 1975, published in Theatre of the Ridiculous, edited by Bonnie Marranca and Gautum Dasgupta, Performing Arts Journal Publications, 1979,and by Samuel French, Inc., 1987.
  • The Adventures of Karagoz, 1976.
  • (adaptor) Jack and the Beanstalk, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, NY, 1976.
  • Caprice, 1976.
  • Der Ring Gott Farblonjet, 1977.
  • The Ventriloquist's Wife, 1978.
  • Utopia, Incorporated, 1978.
  • (with Bill Vehr and Everett Quinton) Anti-Galaxie Nebula (puppet show), 1978.
  • The Enchanted Pig, 1979.
  • The Elephant Woman, 1979.
  • (adaptor) A Christmas Carol, 1979.
  • Reverse Psychology, 1980.
  • Love's Tangled Web, 1981.
  • Secret Lives of the Sexists, 1982.
  • Exquisite Torture, 1982.
  • Le Bourgeois Avant-Garde, 1983.
  • Galas, 1983.
  • The Mystery of Irma Vep, 1984, published by Samuel French, Inc., 1987.
  • (adaptor) Salammbo, 1985.
  • The Artificial Jungle, 1986, published by Samuel French, Inc., 1987.
  • Writings;SCREENPLAYS
  • The Sorrows of Dolores.
  • Museum of Wax.
  • Writings;ESSAYS
  • "The Totalitarian Theatre of Energy" in Drama Review, edited by Erika Munk, New York University, 1970.
  • "The Seven Levels of the Theatre" in Performance, edited by Erika Munk and Bill Coco, New York Shakespeare Festival, 1972.
  • "Ridiculous Theatre: Scourge of Human Folly" in Drama Review, edited by Michael Kirby, New York University, 1975.
  • Also author of libretto for operas The Production of Mysteries, performedby City Symphony, Bennington, VT, 1980, then Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra, Brooklyn, NY, 1985, and Die Fledermaus, performed by Santa Fe Opera, SantaFe, NM, 1986; wrote scenario for Paul Taylor Dance Company production Aphrodisiamania, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, NY, 1977, and subsequent tour.

Further Reference

OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:

  • New York Times, April 7, 1972, December 28, 1977, December 5, 1978, April 24, 1979, May 29, 1987.

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