Valhalla intertwines two stories: the life of Ludwig of Bavaria, the 1880’s Mad King responsible for building a series of storybook castles inspired by Wagnerian operas, and the fictional adventures of James Avery, a wild Texas teenager of the 1940s. The play explores questions of beauty and madness, as both Ludwig and James pursue lives of operatic passion, bringing them in contact with such diverse figures as the small town inhabitants of Dainsville, Texas, most of the characters of Lohengrin and Princess Sophie, the loneliest humpback in Europe. Valhalla is a comic epic, confronting the price to be paid for pursuing and, seemingly, attaining everything you could dream of.
Reviews & Impressions
Paul Rudnick has achieved success as a playwright, novelist and screenwriter often focusing on gay characters in his work. His plays include Poor Little Lambs, Jeffery, I Hate Hamlet, The Naked Eye, The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, and most recently Regrets Only. His novels include Social Disease and I’ll Take It. As a screenwriter he was responsible for In and Out, Addams Family Values, and uncredited contributions to Sister Act, The Addams Family, and The First Wives Club. As a journalist, Rudnick writes regularly for he movie magazine Premiere under the pseudonym Libby Gelman-Waxner, a fictional Long Island resident who mixes celebrity and family gossip with more criticism and camp insights.
“You can be sure that a winsomely
wicked bon mot will fly by every minute or so.”
“Paul Rudnick’s most ambitious
and…his strongest work yet.”
—The New Republic
“…a dizzy, brisk diptych that connects 19th-century Bavaria to 1940s Texas in a unified field theory of gayness.” —Time Out
“…a juggling act skillful enough to
“If, as Paul Rudnick contends,
‘opera is music gone mad,’ what’s it called when a giddy profusion of one-liners
achieves the lunatic rhythm of music?”
“Quips fall with the regularity of