Will Grayson (Evanston Will)

The first of the story’s protagonists and title characters. Will is a teenager on the edge of adulthood whose life philosophies are to shut up and not care. These philosophies are based on his fear of getting hurt and stymies his growth. Will’s childhood best friend, Tiny Cooper, pushes him to be vulnerable and face his truth so that he can build meaningful relationships with his friends, family, and love interest to grow into the person he is meant to be.

Will Grayson (Naperville Will)

The second protagonist and title character. Will is a teenager who struggles with depression. His self-esteem and view of the world is angry and dark because of his mental illness and prevents him from opening up to the people in his life. Tiny Cooper helps to bring Will out of his shell and shows him the importance of relationships. 

Tiny Cooper

Evanston Will’s best friend and Naperville Will’s love interest. Tiny is self-assured, larger-than-life, and defiant of stereotypes and expectations. He believes his role in life is to bring out the truth in his friends and bring them together. His play, Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story is an extension of himself that portrays his loves, truths, and identity.

Jane Turner

Evanston Will’s girlfriend. Jane is confident and smart, interested particularly in art and culture which catches Evanston Will’s attention. Her honesty and vulnerability help Evanston Will be honest with himself and realize that he cannot grow if he stays closed off to the world.


Naperville Will’s friend. Maura sees through Naperville Will’s façade and tries to get him to be honest with her. Her cruel scheme of inventing Isaac damages Naperville Will but also leads to his progression.

Mom (Naperville Will’s Mother)

Naperville Will’s mother. Mom is a single parent who struggles with connecting with her son. Her patience and understanding eventually create a safe space for Naperville Will to be vulnerable and honest.


Naperville Will’s friend. Gideon is a stable presence in Naperville Will’s life as his first real friend. He lends a caring and non-judgmental perspective that helps Naperville Will gain confidence.


Tiny’s friend. Gary plays Evanston Will in Tiny’s play.


Naperville Will’s friend.


Naperville Will’s friend.