‘Jeffrey’ Opens to a ‘90s Kind of Crowd

The Scene: Tuesday night’s premiere of “Jeffrey” at the Westwood Playhouse. The comedy about love in the age of AIDS was a big hit off Broadway last year and has arrived in Los Angeles for an eight-week run. After the performance, guests moved to an outdoor courtyard for dessert and a chance to rehash the show, which received good word-of-mouth from all quarters.

Who Was There: Gordon and Judi Davidson, Anjelica Huston, Sally Kirkland, Samantha Mathis, Juliet Prowse, Doris Roberts, Marion Ross, Patrick Stewart and Brenda Vaccaro. But it was playwright Paul Rudnick (also screenwriter of the upcoming film sequel “Addams Family Values”) who was the man of the hour. “This year has been so bizarre,” Rudnick said in disbelief. “I feel like I’ve been cashing in all my karmic bonus coupons.”

Dress Code: Mostly after-work business garb, but some people of both sexes, apparently mistaking the event for a theatrical singles bar, wore outfits two sizes too tight. One transplant from Washington, D.C., marveling at another woman in a translucent blouse and mini skirt, muttered, “That is the embodiment of every Georgetown hostess’s nightmare.”

Fashion Statement: Kirkland’s eye-catching purple sequined jacket was rather difficult to ignore; it gave the effect of flashbulbs popping all over the theater. Apparently ignorant of Kirkland’s acting career, but bedazzled by her Vegas-inspired wardrobe, several people were heard to ask, “Who is that woman?”


Overheard: Despite the play’s farcical depiction of life in the ‘90s, complete with New Age faith healers and a “Country Hoedown to Fight AIDS” set at the Waldorf Astoria, the action in the play apparently rang true for many in the audience. “I’ve lived that story,” insisted one man at the party.

Favors: Instead of red ribbons, there were red balloons. For those who wanted a more lasting memory of the show, there were “Jeffrey” caps for $10 and “Jeffrey” T-shirts for $15.

Manhattan Meets Hollywood: Rudnick said that, despite the success of “Jeffrey” in New York, the subject matter has made Hollywood producers skittish about turning it into a film. “Well, there are no dinosaurs in it,” the playwright pointed out diplomatically. “It’s not really mega-budget studio material.” How about “Jeffrey” as a TV series? “I’d love to get the original cast of ‘Baywatch,’ ” he said with a sigh. “I know it’s a crazy dream--but it’s mine.”