Gerrad Bohl, Dann Howard, and Leo Lawhorn
in Friends Are Forever
(© Lois Tema)
Gerrad Bohl, Dann Howard, and Leo Lawhorn
in Friends Are Forever
(© Lois Tema)
"When you're talking about relationships, you've almost got to laugh or you'll just cry," chuckles Tom W. Kelly while talking about his new comedy, Friends Are Forever, now premiering at San Francisco's New Conservatory Theatre Center, which has produced five of his other works.

Kelly's inspirations for the play, which revolves around three gay men and how their friendships with one another shift when they each bring a lover into the mix, ranged from Sex in the City to "the quick repartee of a poker group I meet with every week," he says. Throughout the piece, Kelly juggles the realities of open and monogamous relationships, including an honest love that blossoms between a young hustler and a masseur. "One issue that is plaguing the gay community right now is a lack of good, positive role models for gay couples. Shows like Queer as Folk and Will and Grace just haven't spoken to me at all, so I thought -- write your own."

But ultimately, Kelly has another mission in writing the piece. "I've seen so many gay plays where there's homophobia, even though it's a gay writer, and anger," notes Kelly. "I just want people to go and laugh, and maybe see themselves and their own mistakes on stage, and relate to it in that way."