PLAYING THE PALACEis Paul Rudnick’s new novel (reviewed in this issue), a romantic comedy in which sparks fly and eyebrows are raised when Carter Ogden, a lonely New York City events planner, meets Crown Prince Edgar of Great Britain. It’s the Prince who tracks down Carter to initiate a romance that turns into a zany romp through Britain’s most cherished institutions.
Rudnick is an Obie and Outer Critics Circle award winner whose plays have been produced on Broadway and Off,and around the world, among them: I Hate Hamlet (1991), Jeffrey (1993), The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told (1998), Valhalla (2004), and The New Century (2008). Among his writing credits for films are Jeffrey (1995), In & Out (1997), and The Stepford Wives (2004). His previous novels include Social Disease (1986), I’ll Take It: A Novel (1989), and Gorgeous (2013).
Rudnick is a regular contributor to The New Yorker, and his articles and essays have also appeared in The New York Times, Esquire, Vogue, and Vanity Fair. He is currently writing the book for the Broadway musical adaptation of The Devil Wears Prada. Last fall, HBO aired the film Coastal Elites, starring Bette Midler, for which Rudnick wrote the screenplay. In a review, Ben Brantley wrote: “Line by line, Mr. Rudnick may be the funniest writer for the stage in the United States today.”
This interview was conducted by telephone in late April.
Frank Pizzoli: Let’s get right to it: Why a joyous celebration of queer love in Playing The Palace? Too many previous bad dramatic endings in general for queers?
Paul Rudnick: Exactly. I wanted an all-stops-out story of queer romance. Nothing marginalized. No special pleading for their love, no careful explanations of gay love as normal or acceptable, no coddling. Readers can see Carter Ogden and Prince Edgar’s relationship begin, develop, and evolve as a full-on celebration. The fact that Carter’s a lonely New York event planner and Edgar’s a Crown Prince only adds to the stakes and the fun.
Frank Pizzoli has published interviews with many noted writers. He is the founding editor and publisher of Central Voice.