In his award-winning play Jeffrey, first produced off-Broadway in 1993, playwright Paul Rudnick (who wrote the screenplay to Hollywood's In & Out) 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 back in the early '90s, to frame a romantic comedy around the disease 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. It's a funny, frequently fourth-wall-breaking play with the potential to disturb as well.
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