Charles Busch Puts On The Pants To Play Kate Hepburn In Tea At Five

Playwright/actor Charles Busch is no stranger to drag—he’s made a notable career creating and playing vampy dames in Die, Mommie, Die!, The Lady in Question and other original works. But when he takes the stage in a one-off production of Matthew Lombardo’s Tea at Five next month, it might very well be the first time he plays an actual person: the legendary Katharine Hepburn. Tea is an intimate look at Hepburn in her Connecticut estate after a 1983 car accident. As she recovers, the actress reflects on her childhood, her career and her rollercoaster romance with Spencer Tracy. Proceeds from the performance will benefit New York’s Ali Forney Center, which provides housing and services for homeless LGBT youth.

Lombardo is no stranger to larger-than-life actresses with big gay followings. He recently brought Looped, about Tallulah Bankhead, to Broadway with Valerie Harper. “[Bankhead] was an alcoholic, a drug addict, admittedly bisexual, unapologetically promiscuous and she didn’t care who knew about it,” Lombardo told Next magazine. I think gay men at the time couldn’t do that so they looked up to her.”

Yowza—wonder what he thinks about Kate?

Tea at Five plays Monday, November 28, at the Lucille Lortel Theatre in New York City