Laughing on The Inside Too: PAUL RUDNICK

In a toxic age, writer Paul Rudnick brings the bright light of his wit to subjects comic and tragic

Father Dan is homosexual, like nearly every other character in Jeffrey, Paul Rudnick's rollicking AIDS play. Not sex-mad, exactly -- sex-nutty. "Do you know what it's like in that confessional?" he rhetorically asks Jeffrey, a Manhattan actor-waiter whom the priest has vamped in St. Patrick's Cathedral. " 'Father, I've had impure thoughts about my soccer coach.' Where are the Polaroids? What am I, a mind reader? Say six Hail Marys and bring me his shorts!"

Our hero is no less shocked and outraged by this catechism of concupiscence than a middle-class Manhattan playgoer might be. But because the plague years have...