Paul Rudnick Biography


(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Paul Rudnick was born in 1957, the son of Selma and Norman Rudnick, second-generation Polish Jews (his father was a physicist), in largely non-Jewish Piscataway, New Jersey. His mother frequently took him and his brother to the theater and encouraged his educational and dramatic aspirations. Although he early realized that he was a homosexual, he was not stigmatized by his schoolmates and had an uneventful childhood. He attended Yale University, where he majored in drama and met playwrights Christopher Durang, Albert Innaurato, and Wendy Wasserstein. When he graduated from Yale, he followed them to New York. His Yale experience provided him with the necessary material for his first play, Poor Little Lambs, which was written while he was employed as a writer of book-jacket blurbs. He has lived in Greenwich Village, which he once called “a refuge of clichéd bohemianism.” One of his apartments was formerly occupied by John Barrymore and inspired Rudnick to write I Hate Hamlet. In the late 1980’s, he wrote two satirical novels, Social Disease and I’ll Take It, but gained his real reputation first as a playwright with I Hate Hamlet, a popular spoof that has been produced nationally, and with the controversial Jeffrey, which concerns homosexuality and AIDS. His plays since 1993 have all been about homosexuality. His screenplay for In and Out, which he says was inspired by Tom Hanks’s tribute to his high-school drama teacher in his Oscar-acceptance speech for Philadelphia (1993), a film about a homosexual man dying of AIDS, concerns the “coming out” of a gay high-school teacher. In the 1990’s he also turned to screenwriting, specializing in comedy, where he is a master of the “one-liner.” In September of 2001, his Rude Entertainment, three one-act plays (including On the Fence, about the murder of homosexual Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming, and Mr. Charles, Currently of Palm Beach), opened in New York.


(Drama for Students)

Paul Rudnick was born in 1957 in Piscataway, New Jersey. He grew up in an unremarkable suburban milieu with both practical and artistic...

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