“Gleefully wacky and irreverent.”

–The New York Times

“Line by line, Mr. Rudnick may be the funniest writer for the stage in the United States today.”

–The New York Times

“Deeply funny musings and adventures elevate Paul Rudnick to the highest level of American comedy writing.”

–Steve Martin

“One of the funniest quip-meisters on the planet.”

–The New York Times

“Paul Rudnick is a champion of truth (and love and great wicked humor) whom we ignore at our peril.”

–David Sedaris

“Quips fall with the regularity of the autumn leaves.”

–Associated Press

I Hate Hamlet

Hamlet - Paul Rudnick

A young and successful television actor relocates to New York, where he rents a marvelous, gothic apartment. With his television career in limbo, the actor is offered the opportunity to play Hamlet onstage, but there’s one problem: He hates Hamlet. His dilemma deepens with the entrance of John Barrymore’s ghost, who arrives intoxicated and in full costume to the apartment that once was his. The contrast between the two actors, the towering, dissipated Barrymore whose Hamlet was the greatest of his time, and Andrew Rally, hot young television star, leads to a wildly funny duel over women, art, success, duty, television, and yes, the apartment.

“…fast-mouthed and funny…It has the old-fashioned Broadway virtues of brightness without pretensions and sentimentality without morals.”
—Village Voice.

“…unapologetically silly and at times hilarious…affectionately amusing about the theatre…”
—NY Times.

Original Broadway Production starred Evan Handler, Nicol Williamson, Celeste Holm, Caroline Aaron, Jane Adams, and Adam Arkin. Directed by Michael Engler.

Performance rights available from DRAMATISTS PLAY SERVICE.

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Jeffrey

jeffrey - Paul Rudnick

Jeffrey, a gay actor/waiter, has sworn off sex after too many bouts with his partners about what is “safe” and what is not. In gay New York, though, sex is not something you can avoid. Whether catering a ditzy socialite’s “Hoe-down for AIDS” or cruising at a funeral; at the gym or in the back rooms of an anonymous sex club; at the annual Gay Pride Parade, or in the libidinous hands of a father-confessor, Jeffrey finds the pursuit of love and just plain old physical gratification to be the number-one preoccupation of his times—and the source of plenty of hilarity. Suddenly,just after he’s reconciled himself to celibacy, Jeffrey’s flamboyant friends introduce him to the man of his dreams, who also happens to be HIV-positive.

“Wildly funny…Just the sort of play Oscar Wilde might have written had he lived in 1990s Manhattan.”
—NY Times.

“The hottest ticket Off-Broadway…even with AIDS lurking in the background, JEFFREY sparkles… Mr. Rudnick has come up with some of the funniest lines and deftest gimmicks onstage today… He is a master of one-liners.”
—Wall Street Journal.

“…the laughter along the way is a battle cry, a defiant expression of who these idiosyncratic characters were before AIDS arrived, and who they will still be after it has gone.”
—NY Times.

Original Off-Broadway Production starred John Michael Higgins, Bryan Batt, Harriet Harris, Tom Hewitt, Edward Hibbert, Patrick Kerr, Richard Poe, and Scott Whitehurst. Directed by Christopher Ashley.

Winner of the OBIE Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award and the John Gassner Playwrighting Award. The script is included in Otis L. Guernsey’s Best Plays.

Performance rights available from DRAMATISTS PLAY SERVICE.

jeffrey - Paul Rudnickjeffrey - Paul Rudnickjeffrey - Paul Rudnickjeffrey - Paul Rudnick

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The Naked Eye

Alex DelFlavio is an ambitious downtown artist who plans to include sexually explicit photographs in his uptown show to advance his career. Nan Bemiss, the wife of a Republican senator who is running for the presidency and a gallery board member, appeals to DelFlavio to remove three of his most “offensive” photographs for the opening. Unexpectedly, Nan is liberated in the process.

“A wry and sometimes savage look at how both artists and politicians turn the sacred—love, sex, family and even death—into marketable commodities.”
—NY Times.

“The playwright is not only a master of the one-liner, but also expertly sends up the social and sexual conventions of wealthy New Yorkers, circa 1994”
–Michael Kuchwara, Associated Press

Original production featured Mary Beth Piel, J Smith-Cameron, Neil Maffin, and Jeremy Geidt. Directed by Christopher Ashley.

Performance rights available from DRAMATISTS PLAY SERVICE.

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The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told

The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told - Paul Rudnick

A stage manager, headset and prompt book at hand, brings the house lights to half, then dark, and cues the creation of the world. Throughout the play, she’s in control of everything. In other words, she’s either God, or she thinks she is. Act One recounts the major episodes of the Old Testament, only with a twist: Instead of Adam and Eve, our lead characters are Adam and Steve, and Jane and Mabel, a lesbian couple with whom they decide to start civilization (procreation proves to be a provocative challenge). Act One covers the Garden of Eden, an ark, a visit with a highly rambunctious Pharaoh and finally even the Nativity. Along the way, Mabel and Adam invent God, but Jane and Steve are skeptical. This brings about the Flood, during which Steve has a brief affair with a rhinoceros and invents infidelity. No longer blissful, Adam and Steve break up only to be reunited as two of the wise men at the Nativity. Act Two jumps to modern day Manhattan. Adam and Steve are together again, and Steve is HIV positive. It’s Christmas Eve, and Jane is nine months pregnant even though she always thought of herself as the butch one. The two women want to marry and want Adam and Steve to join them in the ceremony. A wheelchair-bound, Jewish lesbian Rabbi from cable access TV arrives to officiate. The ceremony is interrupted as Jane gives birth, and Steve confides to Adam that his medication isn’t working and that he’ll probably not survive much longer. Bound by their long life together, and the miracle of birth they’ve just witnessed, the two men comfort each other even though they know their remaining time together will be short.

“Line by line, Mr. Rudnick may be the funniest writer for the stage in the United States today… One-liners, epigrams, withering put-downs and flashing repartee: These are the candles that Mr. Rudnick lights instead of cursing the darkness, although he does a lot of cursing, too… a testament to the virtues of laughing… and in laughter, there is something like the memory of Eden.”
—NY Times.

Funny it is… consistently, rapaciously, deliriously… easily the funniest play in town.”
—Variety.

…there is no one writing for the stage today who is capable of more acid quips or hilarious rejoinders than Rudnick… Even if there’s a part of you that will be chagrined by this play’s uncertain attitude toward religious beliefs, you will find yourself laughing uncontrollably throughout the evening.”
—NY Daily News.

Original Off-Broadway Production featured Alan Tudyk, Becky Ann Baker, Amy Sedaris, Peter Bartlett, Lisa Kron, Orlando Pabotoy, Joanna Adler, Juan Carlos Hernandez, and Kathryn Meisle. Directed by Christopher Ashley.

Performance rights available from DRAMATISTS PLAY SERVICE.

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Valhalla

Valhalla - Paul Rudnick

VALHALLA intertwines two stories: the life of Ludwig of Bavaria, the 1880s Mad King responsible for building a series of storybook castles inspired by Wagnerian operas, and the fictional adventures of James Avery, a wild Texas teenager of the 1940s. These two iconoclasts are tracked from childhood through their deaths, and while they embody separate eras, they are ultimately revealed as time-traveling soul mates. The play explores questions of beauty and madness, as both Ludwig and James pursue lives of operatic passion, bringing them in contact with such diverse figures as a high-school quarterback, the prettiest girl in Dainsville, Texas, most of the characters of Lohengrin and princess Sophie, who declares herself “the loneliest humpback in Europe.” VALHALLA is a comic epic, confronting the price to be paid for wanting, and getting, everything you dream of.

“You can be sure that a winsomely wicked bon mot will fly by every minute or so.”
—NY Times.

“Paul Rudnick’s most ambitious and…his strongest work yet.”
—The New Republic.

“…a dizzy, brisk diptych that connects 19th-century Bavaria to 1940s Texas in a unified field theory of gayness.”
—Time Out NY.

“…a juggling act skillful enough to revive vaudeville.”
—Village Voice.

“If, as Paul Rudnick contends, ‘opera is music gone mad,’ what’s it called when a giddy profusion of one-liners achieves the lunatic rhythm of music?”
—NY Newsday.

“Quips fall with the regularity of autumn leaves.”
—Associated Press.

Original Off-Broadway cast featured Peter Frechette, Sean Dugan, Scott Barrow, Candy Buckley, Samantha Soule, and Jack Willis. Directed by Christopher Ashley.

Performance rights available from DRAMATISTS PLAY SERVICE

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Regrets Only

Regrets Only - Paul Rudnick

This comedy of Manhattan manners explores the latest topics in marriage, friendships and squandered riches. The setting: a Park Avenue penthouse. The players: a powerhouse attorney, his deliriously social wife and their closest friend, one of the world’s most staggeringly successful fashion designers. Add a daughter’s engagement, some major gowns, the president of the United States, and stir.

“One of the funniest quip-meisters on the planet…the temptation is to quote as many of those one-liners as space allows…”
—NY Times.

Hilariously witty…Rudnick’s script is ripe with jokes at the expense of the upper class—taking pokes at plastic surgery, designer fashion and charity functions.”
—Show Business Weekly.

A devastatingly accurate political and social satire.”
—BackStage.

As stuffed with riotous Rudnickisms as my mother’s pastries were with sugar and calories.”
—CurtainUp.

Paul Rudnick, ever the stylish and witty playwright, pressed foot to pedal on his imaginative overdrive to see how far it would take him into his new comedy and it seems to have taken him into an elegant terrain.”
—Playbill.com.

Original Off-Broadway cast featured Christine Baranski, Jackie Hoffman, George Grizzard, Sian Phillips, Diane Davis, and David Rasche. Directed by Christopher Ashley.

Performance rights available from DRAMATISTS PLAY SERVICE.

Regrets Only - Paul RudnickRegrets Only - Paul RudnickRegrets Only - Paul RudnickRegrets Only - Paul Rudnick

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The New Century

The New Century - Paul Rudnick

When the playwright is Paul Rudnick, expectations are geared for a play both hilarious and smart, and THE NEW CENTURY is no exception. It is a provocative and outrageous comedy, featuring a collection of hilarious characters. In PRIDE AND JOY, Helene is a Long Island matron, the self-proclaimed “most loving mother of all time” to her three gay children, whom she brags about at the Massapequa chapter of Parents of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, The Transgendered, The Questioning, The Curious, The Creatively Concerned and Others (1 man, 1 woman). The flamboyant MR. CHARLES, CURRENTLY OF PALM BEACH is described by Mr. Rudnick as “an aging homosexual hounded out of New York City by younger gay men, who find his theatrical style a threatening throwback to an earlier, tougher time.” Mr. Charles spends his exile in the company of the hunky Shane, with whom he produces a cable television show, Too Gay (2 men, 1 woman). In CRAFTY, Barbara Ellen is a Midwestern craftswoman and competitive cake-decorator who has lost a son to AIDS (1 woman). In THE NEW CENTURY, all of these hilarious and poignant people collide under surprising and comical circumstances, providing evidence of just where our new century might be heading.

“The one-liners fly like rockets in THE NEW CENTURY, the rollicking bill of short plays by Paul Rudnick… Building on time-honored traditions within gay and Jewish humor, Mr. Rudnick turns stereotypes into bullet-deflecting armor and jokes into an inexhaustible supply of ammunition… Frivolity for his characters is a solid existential choice in a threatening universe.”
—NY Times.

It’s not every day that a comedy writer gets a laugh on every line he intends to be thigh-slappingly funny, but Paul Rudnick does so with THE NEW CENTURY.”
—TheaterMania.com.

The evening contains so many gut-busting one-liners that those with heart conditions are advised to steer clear.”
—NY Post.

Paul Rudnick just may be the funniest playwright around. A perfect little production!”
—Journal News.

Original Off-Broadway cast featured Peter Bartlett, Jayne Houdyshell, Linda Lavin, Mike Doyle, Christy Pusz, and Jordan Dean. Directed by Nicholas Martin.

Performance rights available from DRAMATISTS PLAY SERVICE.

The New Century - Paul RudnickThe New Century - Paul RudnickThe New Century - Paul RudnickThe New Century - Paul RudnickThe New Century - Paul RudnickThe New Century - Paul RudnickThe New Century - Paul Rudnick

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Standing On Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays

Standing-On-Ceremony - Paul Rudnick

Two little words, and suddenly your whole world changes. An A-list lineup of writers offers unique takes on the moments before, during and after “I do.” Witty, warm and occasionally wacky, these plays are vows to the blessings of equality, the universal challenges of relationships and the often hilarious power of love. Paul’s plays include The Gay Agenda and My Husband.

“CEREMONY puts a human face on a hot-button issue and delivers laughter and tears rather than propaganda.”
—BackStage.

All you have to do is listen, shed an occasional tear and laugh a lot. There is something for everybody… STANDING ON CEREMONY holds a magnifying glass to the highs and lows, joys and fears, courage and silliness, of people bucking trends and making history. It’s a fine evening, heartily recommended.”
—NY Observer.

A feel-good show celebrating gay marriage. The unifying theme of same-sex marriage gives this collection its strong identity. The individual plays don’t share the same perspective or speak in the same voice. Which keeps things interesting.”
—Variety.

Original Off-Broadway cast featured Craig Bierko, Mark Consuelos, Polly Draper, Harriet Harris, Beth Leavel and Richard Thomas. Directed by Stuart Ross.

Performance rights available from DRAMATISTS PLAY SERVICE.

Cabin Pressure

Cabin Pressure

Part of 59E59 Summer Shorts. Directed by Walter Bobbie.

Cabin Pressure is a one-act monologue which tells us exactly why Ronald Darwell,
a brave flight attendant, is receiving the Presidential Medal of Valor. Ronald has battled both terrorists and extremely rude passengers, and the play is his heartfelt acceptance speech, confession and fever dream.

Rights available from ICM.

Paul Rudnick

PLAYS

Paul Rudnick’s plays have been produced both on and off Broadway and around the world, and include I HATE HAMLET, JEFFREY, THE MOST FABULOUS STORY EVER TOLD, VALHALLA, REGRETS ONLY, and THE NEW CENTURY. He has won an Obie Award, two Outer Critics Circle Awards and the John Gassner Playwrighting Award, and two of his short plays have been included in STANDING ON CEREMONY: THE GAY MARRIAGE PLAYS.