108 WAVERLY is a four character original musical, set in one apartment at 108 Waverly Place, Greenwich Village, New York City, in 1928 and 1998.
The story cuts between two gay couples who have lived in the apartment. They sometimes share the stage but never “see” each other.
In 1928, Brian, a 32 year old grammar school teacher, lives alone the apartment. He is from a Southern family that sent him away to boarding school when they realized he was gay. He has met, and fallen in love with Matthew, a 29 year old first generation Irish-Catholic bank teller who lives at home with his parents. Their story turns on the issue of whether Matthew will be able to overcome his fears and move in with Brian.
In 1998, Wei and Robby have lived together in the apartment for three years. Wei, a 29 year old Asian-American free lance writer, is feeling very settled in the relationship, and ready to investigate adopting a baby with Robby, a 26 year old graphic artist. Robby is somewhat self centered, happy with the relationship and their life as it is, and ambivalent about adopting. As the play progresses, each man addresses his own feelings about the relationship, and society’s acceptance of them as gay men with children.
Brian, 30 years old, a grammar school teacher, fastidious, lives in Greenwich Village and is as “out” as one could have been in the 20’s.
Matthew, 28, Irish-Catholic, a very reserved and introverted bank teller, who lives at home with his parents in Brooklyn, afraid to acknowledge his true feelings for Brian.
Wei, 29 years old Asian free lance writer, who is ready to settle down with his partner.
Robby, 26, a graphic artist, somewhat self-centered, and guarded about his feelings.
The Thorny Theater has a bonafide hit on their hands with their new production of “108 Waverly.” With the world premiere of a new musical comedy featuring book & lyrics by Dan Clancy and music by Lynn Portas, the Thorny Theater is on track to continue delivering original productions and bringing quality local theater to the desert.
“108 Waverly” is the story of two couples who share the same apartment 80 years apart. Many of the laughs come from the differences between how the couples view being gay and how much we, as homosexuals, have changed over the years. There are many heartwarming moments in the play and just as many heartbreaking moments as well. This play is one that will make you laugh and then make you cry a second later. I found myself teary-eyed a couple of times during the show. In addition to the laughter and tears there is also a very serious storyline for each couple that runs throughout the play. As with any true musical comedy, the songs don’t just sit there on the stage, they move the plot forward and provide needed exposition.
The music is really the star of the show, though. From the opening number, “Spend the Night,” where Brian is trying to convince Matthew to stay overnight, to the closing song, “Moving On,” the music is memorable. It is fun, relevant and exciting. Even after having seen the show two nights ago, I am still able to recall lyrics and melodies to mind.
Palm Springs, CA
In the midst of its second season as the Coachella Valley’s lone gay theatrical venue Thorny Theater has struck gold with the musical 108 Waverly. The show is set in a Greenwich Village apartment inhabited by one gay couple in 1928, another in 1999. The co-inhabitants are unaware of each other but the audience can see both, comparing and contrasting two versions of 20th century gay life.
The 1928 couple is Brian, a teacher, and Matthew, a banker. Both are closeted, Matthew more so than Brian. Their struggle is over whether they should or can live together. The 1999 pair is Robby, an illustrator, and Chris, a writer. They are an out and proud couple, but one wants to party while the other wants to adopt a baby. All four characters are very real, possessing desires and fears with which any gay man can identify.
Palm Desert News,
Palm Springs, CA