“A sexistential crisis.” “A fucking celebration.” These are just a couple ways that this liberating tour de force has been described over the past week, and I couldn’t agree more with the enthusiasm behind them.
The show begins after the poorly attended funeral of the eponymous Gary, the openly gay uncle of Mel (Chelsea Young) who had been renounced by his religiously judgmental family. In the aftermath of this show of familial disrespect, Mel and her friends Shawn (Cory Thibert) and Gregg (Tony Adams) wonder why Gary allowed himself to keep making the mistakes that drove his family away and ultimately cost him his life. It isn’t until they unearth a pile of letters addressed to Gary that they realize Gary had more love, more excitement, more life in his life than all of them combined.
Gary’s complete lack of fear, of embracing each moment for what it is, inspires each of these characters to dive into the unknown, to risk the big mistakes in life, and, as it happens, to explore their own relationships and sexuality.