Part II of a report on the March 1, 2010, post-"Temperamentals" talkout
In Which We Learn That Classical-Music People Are Mean to One Another and That the Theater Will Never Die.
IT was probably a serious question when Paul Rudnick (left) was asked if, during his formative years, he came to divide the world into gay people and straight people.
"No," he said, "I always divided it into people from New Jersey and people from New York."
Rudnick, the author of "Jeffrey" and "I Hate Hamlet" and the screenplay for "In & Out," was the first speaker at a talkout (that's like a talkback but out?) after Monday night's performance of "The Temperamentals" at World Stages Theater. He shared the stage with Larry Kramer, the gay-rights leader; Jon Marans, the author of "The Temperamentals"; and Jonathan Silverstein, the production's director.
The cast had to be in a good mood, having awakened to Ben Brantley's glowing, affectionate review in that morning's New York Times. And Rudnick, 52, kept the party going with light comments on all kinds of subjects.
The most vicious artistic community
"Theater gets a reputation for being vicious and backbiting. But the nastiest world, hands down: classical music. And those people will tell you about it."
When Kramer came to see "Jeffrey," Rudnick's groundbreaking 1993 Off Broadway play
"You said going to see 'Jeffrey' made you want to go on a date."
(Kramer responded, "I still want to go on a date.")
When his parents took him to a show in New York every year for his birthday
"I had unerringly bad taste as a child. I would always pick the worst musical."
(He offered "Dear World," a 1969 Jerry Herman musical based on "The Madwoman of Chaillot," as an example.)
Whether theater, which has supposedly been dying for half a century, will go on
"There will always be hopeless theater rats. I remain one."
How he used to love reading scripts in the bookstore
"Was there a Samuel French? That's a very good question."
Yes, Paul, there really was a Samuel French. The man whose name is on all those paperback scripts at every actors' bookstore was a savvy mid-19th-century American entrepreneur. He started his play-publishing business in New York in the 1850s, teamed up with a British partner and eventually moved to London, leaving his son in charge of the New York office. French died in 1898. And if you see it on theatergossip.com --- even if the info came from Wikipedia and from French's London office --- you know it's true.
Photograph: © Walter McBride/Retna Ltd.