Starring Sean Childress, Greylyn Gregory, Mary Ann Johnson, Sarah Mueler, Dale Strange and Carol Tyree Williams. Directed by Michael J. Drury. Written by Paul Rudnick. Presented by Pandora Productions. Continues through Sept. 15 at the Henry Clay Building, 604 S. Third St. For tickets, visit www.pandoraprods.org.
“Regrets Only” is the third Paul Rudnick play staged by Pandora Productions, and it’s a winner. (Rudnick’s “Jeffrey” and “The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told” are the others.)
World-famous fashion designer Hank Hadley (loosely based on Bill Blass) and his best friend Tibby (loosely based on socialite Nan Kempner), spend their time dressing up and going to fancy parties. Tibby’s conservative lawyer/mate has been tapped by the United States president to draft a constitutional amendment defining marriage to exclude gays once and for all. Their daughter, also an attorney, eagerly joins her dad in this task while flaunting her own impending marriage. Hank begins to feel more like a mascot than a friend. He declines to join them for the evening out after Tibby refuses to take a stand.
If this sounds like a serious play, think again. The jokes never stop, and most are funny. Example: Upon hearing they’ll be attending a fundraiser for multiple amputees, Hank asks, “Will there be dancing?”
The witty second act is all about Hank’s decision to take a stand politically, and I won’t spoil it. But I can’t resist telling you that Tibby’s mother, Marietta, enters wearing a fright wig, trash bags as a dress and shoeboxes on her feet because her couturier, along with all homosexuals, has disappeared. Marietta, played with expert comic timing by Mary Ann Johnson, pooh-poohs the idea of gay marriage. “I’ve been married to five gay men,” she says, “and they’re not ready” for marriage.
But the gay marriage issue is mere window dressing for the real drama. Will Tibby meekly follow the fascist fashion of condemning gay rights, or will she be a style setter and blaze her own trail? It’s worth the price of admission to find out.
BY SHERRY DEATRICK