Circa: 1965, Smalltown, U.S.A.. The play opens with Biff wandering on a darkened stage, appearing lost, as the opening overture plays “Serendipity Solace”. A mysterious voice calls to him. “Are you looking for something? How may I help you?” Biff asks to hear his favorite story. “Once upon a time, there was a little boy. A little Baby Boy,” begins the voice as it tells the story of Biff’s life. Lights rise, revealing a mother rocking in a chair, holding her baby. The father stands by her side. She sings, “Little Star Of Mine,” revealing her love for her child. The father then holds his son and sings, “That’s My Boy,” describing his hopes and dreams for the boy. Biff sings “What If I’m Not Like That?” reflecting his fears: “will you still love me if I don’t live your dream?” Their three songs become the trio “Family Dreams”.
Biff remembers how his dad loved to play baseball with him. “C’mon Biff. Let’s play ball,” calls his father as Biff joins him in the scene, missing his swings and dropping the ball. The frustrated father fears his son may be gay if he cannot catch a fast ball. Biff fails the test and his father sings, “Don’t Choose To Be Gay” as Biff does a tap dance, saying “Look at me Dad, I’m dancing for you. Do you like the way I dance?”
Biff talks to the audience about his Sunday School and joins the scene of “Little Crusaders for Christ,” with the teacher, Miss Righteous, warning the children about perverts and the word that we dare not speak its name. The “H” word. She sings “H-O-M-O-Sexuality” encouraging the students to smite perverts with the right hand of righteousness.
Biff talks about his high school days and how he felt different than the others, but couldn’t put his feelings into words. Beth, a classmate, has a crush on him and sings her love song, “You Are Different.” She asks him to the dance. Biff cannot dance and as she tries to teach him, clumsily falls. Biff begs off, needing time to think about this. He talks with the audience about these feelings he has inside. His mother calls, reminding him how late it is and to say his prayers before going to bed. Biff’s father argues with her over Biff not being the kind of son he wants. The frustrated mother sings the beautiful “A Mother’s Prayer”. The father sings of his disappointment in his son, beginning “Dysfunctional Dreams”. The mother follows with her song, being thankful for her wonderful son. Biff, at the opposite end of the stage, asks God to make him into the son his parents will be proud of. All sing to a star, combining their parts in a beautiful, but sad trio, where no one hears the other’s prayer. Beth comes to Biff in a dream, assuring him that she can teach him to dance. She sings “Dance with Me”. As they dance, “The Stud” appears, dancing to his own music, which becomes a duet to “Dance With Me”. Biff is drawn to him and leaves Beth to dance with “The Stud”, only to have her return with his parents and the clergy who drag him off of “The Stud” and shackle him to Beth where Biff collapses at her feet. He awakes, confused and shocked to discover his sheets are wet from his first wet dream.
Scene opens with the “Gay Pride March” playing. Charley prepares the Gay Campus Pride Rally he organized. The “Campus Crusaders for Christ” picket the rally, taunting and finally engaging in a fight with Charley, hitting him with their “Christ is Love” signs. Biff rescues Charley and drives his attackers away. They talk about feelings, being different and how to fit into a world that hates who you are. Charley asks Biff, “Will you dance with me?” Biff replies, “I don’t know the steps.” Charley responds, “I’ll teach them to you,” and sings his version of “Dance With Me”, as he dances with Biff. Biff asks, “Are you the pervert Miss Righteous warned me about who will take advantage of me?” “Yes”, replies Charley. “Good,” cries Biff. “I hoped you would be the one.” Lights go out ending scene.
Biff wakes up in bed with Charley sleeping by his side and sings Fairy Tale Love.” Charley wakes and they discuss living together and sing “Let’s Play House”, a comical musical-dance number. Charley sings “Mystery Man”, expressing his attraction to Biff, his fears of intimacy, and how agnostic Charley is compared to Biff’s deep faith. Biff speaks of his love for Charley as he puts on his cumber bun and bow tie and exclaims, “Today I’m getting married” and sings “When My Eyes First Saw You”. He walks across the stage where he meets Charley and they sing the duet “With This Ring”, as the Minister proclaims them united. Biff prepares for bed and sings his evening prayer, “Does Jesus Love Me”. As they sleep, Biff has a nightmare. Miss Righteous enters the dream with grotesque gargoyles, singing “The Misguided Preacher,” ending her song by nailing Biff’s hands to the headboard. Lights go out as Biff wakes up screaming. Scene ends.
Biff and Charley are invited to Biff’s home for Thanksgiving. Biff’s parents, Charley, Beth, and Miss Righteous are seated at the table. During the meal, it is revealed that Charley is more than Biff’s roommate. That, in fact, they are lovers. The outraged father sings “Get Out of My House”, and throws them out as each character sings their part in a disastrous Verde style chorus. Biff, shattered by the experience, asks Charley how he handled his feelings when his parents rejected him. Charley sings and dances the first chorus of “I Am Just Me”, encouraging Biff to sing. He responds, timidly at first, becoming stronger as he believes what he is singing. The number ends with the pair wearing top hats, dancing and singing in a rousing finish. Scene ends.
Charley speaks of how painful this rejection is for Biff and how their relationship is evolving with the passage of time. He joins Biff on the couch and they share a beer. He notices a spot on his arm that was not there yesterday, and sings “A Spot”. The two have a fight over fears that Charley has AIDS and they have just shared a beer. Charley is preparing to move out as Biff watches him pack. He re-commits himself to Charley as he sings “Knight in Tarnished Armor”.
Biff talks to his mother on the phone. “He’s really sick. I’m worried he may die, and I don’t want to live if that happens.” Lights rise dimly with Charley lying in bed, stage center. Biff lights a few candles and the stage glows like a church at night with memorial candles. He holds Charley as they sing the duet, “A Healing prayer”. Charley asks, “May I have this last dance with you?” Biff helps the weakened Charley to his feet and they dance together slowly as Biff sings “Dance With Me”. Charley collapses and dies in Biff’s arms at the end of the number. Biff screams at him, “Don’t stop dancing now. You know the steps, dam it, dance with me.” Biff continues dancing with the body as the music becomes frenzied and dissonant, finally dropping the body, screaming “No!” He curses God and sings “A Prayer Of Despair”, taking Charley’s pills to end his life. As the song ends, he blows out a candle, and collapses on top of Charley’s body.
A small white light grows slowly larger on the screen as the overture “Serendipity Solace” plays. The voice that began the play, asks “is this the way the story ends. Is this the kind of finish you had in mind?” “No!” screams Biff, and he has a dialogue with the voice about the scripts of his life, why Charlie died, why AIDS, what is Biff’s purpose in life? The voice speaks of love, and that he has the choice to continue following the bright light or return to his body. Charlie appears and encourages Biff to return and teach others what he has learned and to “change the story. You have to change the story. It can’t end this way. Someone has to re-write the script.” Biff chooses to return as his parents burst in with a paramedic and take him to the hospital. End of scene
Scene two opens with Biff in a hospital bed. His father enters where they have a dialogue and a loving, moving, reconciliation of acceptance. The father leaves and Biff talks to Charlie’s picture and sings nostalgically,”Remember A Friend.” Charlie appears midway through the song. As the cast comes on stage and join in the chorus, the movie screen shows slides of “The Quilt”. During a musical interlude, the audience is encouraged to remember a friend and call out their name as the screen shows still shots of people loving. Old and young, black and white, gay and straight. The chorus finishes the song. Biff holds out his hands as he sings “You’ve Found A Friend”. One by one, the cast joins hands and sings the second chorus. The words and music appear on the screen and the audience is encouraged to join hands and sing the finale’ with the chorus. Biff walks to stage front, holding hands and speaks:
“Feel the power we hold in our hands. We are the power. We are the love. We can make a difference. Go forth from this place tonight and carry that message. Be that power that can change this story. Be that messenger. Tell someone what you have learned tonight. Tell someone you love them, for they need to hear those words as only you can speak them. If not you, then who? If not now, when? Go in Peace. Go in Love. Thank you, and Good Night.”