Contemporary Gay American Poets and Playwrights: An A-to-Z Guide

By Emmanuel S. Nelson | Go to book overview

CHARLES LUDLAM (1943–1987)

Tom Smith


BIOGRAPHY

Born on April 12, 1943, in Floral Park, Long Island, Charles Ludlam was the middle son of Joseph and Marjorie Ludlam. His family lived across Jericho Turnpike from a movie theater in a house built by his father. At age six, Ludlam got lost at the Minneola State Fair, where he wandered into a Punch and Judy show and a freak show, which greatly affected him. He began staging his own puppet shows and plays in his basement until a year later when he was cast in his first play, Santa in Blunderland. Ludlam’s mother, a movie-lover, took her children to the local movie theater every time the marquee changed. This, combined with the family’s devout Catholicism, would also influence Ludlam’s aesthetic.

In 1953, Ludlam’s family moved to Greenlawn, Long Island, where Ludlam immersed himself in reading classics. In 1958, at age fifteen, he took an apprenticeship at the Red Barn Theatre, a Long Island summerstock. Later, he traveled to New York City to see productions of Living Theatre’s Tonight We Improvise and The Connection. This encouraged him, at age seventeen, to found The Students’ Repertory Theatre in an abandoned Odd Fellows’ meeting hall. With his new company Ludlam directed and acted in obscure plays like Madman on the Room, a modern Noh play, and Theatre of the Soul, a Russian romantic work set inside the human body.

In 1961, he entered Hofstra University with an acting scholarship where his over-the-top acting style brought encouragement from the faculty to consider directing and writing. Here he wrote his first play, Edna Brown, an expressionistic and semiautobiographical work never performed and subsequently destroyed. During his college years, he came to terms with his homosexuality and, upon graduating with a degree in dramatic literature, moved to New York City.

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Contemporary Gay American Poets and Playwrights: An A-to-Z Guide
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xiii
  • Edward Albee (1928–) 1
  • Jeff Baron (1952–) 11
  • Jeffery Beam (1953–) 19
  • David Bergman (1950–) 25
  • Alan Bowne (1945–1989) 29
  • Donald Britton (1951–1994) 38
  • James Broughton (1913–1999) 43
  • Bibliography 50
  • Victor Bumbalo (1946–) 54
  • Charles Busch (1954–) 61
  • Leo F. Cabranes-Grant (1960–) 69
  • Robert Chesley (1943–1990) 74
  • Justin Chin (1969–) 82
  • Alfred Corn (1943–) 87
  • Mart Crowley (1935–) 93
  • Melvin Dixon (1950–1992) 101
  • Bibliography 106
  • Tim Dlugos (1950–1990) 108
  • Bibliography 116
  • Mark Doty (1953–) 117
  • Bibliography 123
  • David Drake (1963–) 125
  • Robert Duncan (1919–1988) 130
  • Christopher Durang (1949–) 141
  • Edward Field (1924–) 147
  • Harvey Fierstein (1954–) 153
  • William Finn (1952–) 162
  • Kenny Fries (1960–) 171
  • Allen Ginsberg (1926–1997) 178
  • Thom Gunn (1929–) 188
  • Bibliography 196
  • Essex Hemphill (1957–1995) 198
  • William M. Hoffman (1939–) 205
  • Richard Howard (1929–) 212
  • Bibliography 215
  • Maurice Kenny (1929–) 217
  • Bibliography 220
  • Rudy Kikel (1943–) 222
  • Harry Kondoleon (1955–1994) 230
  • Bibliography 234
  • Larry Kramer (1935–) 236
  • Tony Kushner (1956–) 246
  • Michael Lassell (1947–) 260
  • Timothy Liu (1965–) 268
  • Craig Lucas (1951–) 272
  • Charles Ludlam (1943–1987) 280
  • J.D. Mcclatchy (1945–) 288
  • Bibliography 291
  • Terrence Mcnally (1939–) 293
  • Bibliography 307
  • Scott Mcpherson (1959–1992) 309
  • James Merrill (1926–1995) 316
  • Paul Monette (1945–1995) 323
  • Frank O’hara (1926–1966) 334
  • Bibliography 340
  • Robert O’hara (1970–) 342
  • Peter Parnell (1953–) 349
  • Carl Phillips (1959–) 357
  • Kenneth Pobo (1954–) 363
  • D.A. Powell (1963–) 369
  • Bibliography 376
  • Guillermo Reyes (1962–) 377
  • Bibliography 382
  • Assotto Saint (yves FranÇois Lubin) (1957–1994) 383
  • Bibliography 387
  • F. Allen Sawyer (1957–) 388
  • Bibliography 392
  • James Schuyler (1923–1991) 393
  • Reginald Shepherd (1963–) 398
  • Bibliography 405
  • Martin Sherman (1938–) 406
  • Aaron Shurin (1947–) 412
  • David Trinidad (1953–) 421
  • Gore Vidal (1925–) 427
  • Bibliography 435
  • Jonathan Williams (1929–) 438
  • Doric Wilson (1939–) 444
  • Lanford Wilson (1937–) 451
  • Chay Yew (1966–) 461
  • Selected Bibliography 467
  • Index 469
  • About the Contributors 477
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