Playbill Pride: From Angels in America to Hedwig, Our Top Ten Gay Plays

By Ben Rimalower
27 Jun 2013

Paul Rudnick

8. Jeffrey
By Paul Rudnick

It's difficult to appreciate in 2013 just what a welcome tonic, what a needed relief, Paul Rudnick's landmark comedy about AIDS offered in 1993. First of all, AIDS today poses a different kind of threat, more insidious and easily ignored, with the success of "cocktail" medications widespread in the First World, so we are no longer culturally mired in the tragedy of the epidemic on a day-to-day basis as so many theatregoers were in 1993.

Furthermore, as the disease was only then hitting its first decade in 1993, few had dared to find the funny in its stories, and certainly none so deftly as Paul Rudnick. Jeffrey was a trendsetter and we've since learned to laugh at most things and done away with a good deal of the political correctness of 20 years ago. Rudnick has since become something of a pundit on a national level and his work back in Jeffrey offers a fine example of his warm wit, coloring in the humanity in any and every situation, and of course, his trademark knack for a punchline.