The Rapidian

University Wits presents: 'Jeffrey'

Kicking off Pride Month, local theater company University Wits stages production of LGBTQ comedy "Jeffrey."

Performance dates/times

June 1st: 8pm
June 2nd: 8pm
June 3rd: 3pm
June 8th: 8pm
June 9th: 8pm
June 10th: 3pm

Set to open at Dog Story Theater on the first evening of Pride Month this year, is the University Wits’ production of "Jeffrey" by Paul Rudnick. In the play, originally published in the early 90’s, Rudnick delivers to his audience a comedic farce that deals with the realities of the AIDS virus, homophobia, and the chance for love between two men. The production is staged by The University Wits, a local theatre collective of Grand Rapids.

The story follows Jeffrey, a promiscuous gay actor/waiter, who has sworn off sex after too many bouts with his partners about what is “safe” and what is not. Suddenly, just after he’s reconciled himself to celibacy, Jeffrey’s flamboyant friends introduce him to the man of his dreams, who also happens to be HIV+positive. What follows is an audacious and moving romantic comedy with a difference—one in which the quest for love and really fabulous clothes meet, and where unflagging humor prevails even when tragedy might be just around the corner.

Shane German, the stage director for this production says, “I think it is always important to remember our LGBTQ History. To reflect on a time when medical advancements in HIV research and medicine were not as they are today. It was a completely different time in the 80's and early 90's, and it's important to remember how far we have come. Ultimately, Jeffrey is a story about taking chances, finding love and living life to the fullest, even if death may be around the corner.” Shane German is also a frequent performer to the stages of Grand Rapids in many roles including shows such as: "Torch Song Trilogy," "Ragtime," "Cats," "Boardwalk Blues," "Beauty and the Beast," and more.

The cast includes performances by: JJ Lindke, Devon Jordan, Matt Hartman, Tony Peraino, Vidal Thomas Sanchez IV, Ricardo Tavarez, Matthew Swartz, and Claire Mahave. 

Rudnick’s script was adapted for the screen in 1995 and included critically acclaimed actors like Patrick Stewart and Sigourney Weaver. University Wits brings this same story to life again on the stage of Dog Story Theater in downtown Grand Rapids, June 1-3 & 8-10. "Jeffrey" is recommended for mature audiences, dealing with adult themes, language, and mild nudity.

Information available at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/jeffrey-tickets-45387871345

The University Wits is a collective of theatre artists who have been staging DIY performance-driven plays & musicals in the black-box space of Dog Story Theater since 2012. Producing both published & newly-developed works. Formed by a group of "over-educated and under-employed" friends, the formation has since grown into a diverse & growing collaboration of actors, designers, writers, directors, & overall practitioners of theatre... continuing to bring shows to life that other stages of the area might not otherwise see.

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