In his award-winning play Jeffrey, first produced off-Broadway in 1993 and opening at Miami Beach Stage Door this week, playwright Paul Rudnick dipped his sifter into that veritable comic goldmine, the AIDS crisis. HIV might not be the cause for national panic it once was — a controversial “functional cure” was announced last month — but in the early ’90s, to frame a romantic comedy around the virus must have been pretty bold. Rudnick’s main character, Jeffrey, is a compulsively sexual gay man in New York, transplanted from quieter confines in Wisconsin, who is so terrified of contracting HIV that he swears off sex and, by extension, romance. This proves difficult in Manhattan’s gay subculture, and the play dramatizes his conflict when he falls for a hunky, HIV-positive man. A funny, frequently fourth-wall-breaking play with the potential to disturb as well, Jeffrey is a work that’s hard to imagine at Stage Door’s more conservative original incarnation in Coral Springs; let’s hope it’s a sign of more alternative plays to come at this plum South Beach offshoot.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: April 12. Continues through May 5, 2013