Covington kept his eyes of the prize for Uptown’s latest

I?NOW PRONOUNCE?YOU…. | Gay marriage complicates things for a stuffy Manhattan couple in Paul?Rudnick’s fluffy summer comedy, opening Friday.

Kalita Humphreys Theater, 3636 Turtle Creek Blvd.
Through June 27. $25-$35.

Setting the scene comes naturally to veteran theater director Coy Covington. But if he can’t quite see what he’s doing, well, that could be a problem.

"I had two eye surgeries during that period, so there were a few months I couldn’t see," says Covington. "It’s hard to focus when you can’t focus. We’ve had an interesting rehearsal process."

But every day has gotten better for Uptown Players’ latest production, Paul Rudnick’s Regrets Only. Coming off a late night rehearsal, Covington says the play is on target for Friday’s opening if only because the material has been a blast to work on.

"Regrets is so fun," he says. "Rudnick is such a strong playwright and a master of zingers. The play has a message, but it’s still fun."

The play centers on a privileged Manhattan couple — "delightfully clueless" about the real world, Covington calls them — as their daughter plans a wedding bridezilla-style. But when a trendy issue pops up, the shallow bubble of high society might get popped.

"Gay marriage enters the picture," he says. "Rudnick is such a prolific writer that he got the message already built in. As a director, there was nothing I needed to impose on it. It comes out loud and clear. The show really is a fizzy cocktail laced with social commentary."

Uptown Players really wanted to glitz it up, and the roominess of the Kalita allowed the company its most ambitious set ever.

"It’s a big step forward for us," Covington says. "We have this really sophisticated and beautiful set for this Manhattan apartment. We’re really excited and it looks terrific. It’s our most elaborate yet and I think it inhabits the space nicely."

Even without his 20/20, Covington’s vision of the play has been realized. With both a social message and comedy, he has a certain confidence about this production — even if he was down to one eyeball at times.

"This show is like a tasty summer soufflé — light and airy with just enough crust to give it some bite," he says. "I want them to come and laugh and enjoy these eccentric characters. Good to get your audiences to think a bit."

But still, one has to wonder if the eye thing at all affected the result.

"Well, sometimes I had to wear a patch during rehearsals, so you might find stage left more busy than stage right." •

— Rich Lopez

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 11, 2010.
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