Charles Busch Is Curating a 'Drag Show' Hirschfeld Gallery for Pride Month | Playbill

On the Rialto Charles Busch Is Curating a 'Drag Show' Hirschfeld Gallery for Pride Month

The online exhibition celebrates queer-themed and queer-coded performances from Harvey Fierstein, Julie Andrews, BD Wong, and more.

Hirschfeld's caricature of the original Broadway production of Hairspray The Al Hirschfeld Foundation

The Al Hirschfeld Foundation is celebrating Pride Month with a new online exhibition spotlighting the renowned caricaturist's drawings of Broadway shows featuring the art of drag. Titled Hirschfeld's Drag Show, the collection has been curated by Tony nominated playwright, actor, director, and drag legend Charles Busch.

Busch has provided commentary for the images chosen for the collection, which include caricatures of such shows as HairsprayVictor/VictoriaCharlie's Auntand Peter Pan. Actors depicted include Julie Andrews, Mary Martin, Harvey Fierstein, Charles Ludlam, José Ferrer, Katharine Hepburn, Raquel Welch, BD Wong, Robert Morse, and more.

"Through Hirschfeld’s remarkable catalogue, we’re able to chart the ways cross-dressing has been used as a theatrical tool over the past century," says Busch in a statement. "At first, it was often the only way closeted LGBT artists were able to express their voices. At other times drag has been employed as a plot device allowing society to articulate in a light-hearted manner its fear of the 'other.' In more recent decades, openly gay artists have taken drag into new realms both dramatic and comic. With this collection of drawings, we chart the history of performers and shows that have used drag in a variety of creative strategies. Hirschfeld’s great gift in portraying the joy of theatrical self-expression gives all of these drawings a humanity along with their outrageous flamboyance."

"We are thrilled to have the legendary Charles Busch curate this special exhibition," adds Hirschfeld Foundation Creative Director David Leopold. "He brings not only a wide-ranging knowledge of the history of drag, and is a drag legend himself, but he was drawn by Hirschfeld—twice—so he brings that insider knowledge as well. While this show debuts during Pride, it is one for the ages. It reveals a collection of Hirschfeld art that has never been properly celebrated, and we hope that this show leads to more appreciation of his drawings of performers in drag."

The collection will also be celebrated with a special episode of the foundation's podcast The Hirschfeld Century Podcast. That episode will be available anywhere you get podcasts beginning June 11.

To view the online exhibition, visit

Look at the Art of Your Favorite Shows as Imagined by Al Hirschfeld

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