New in 2018 A group of gay men gather in a New York City apartment for a friend's birthday party where the cracks beneath their friendships begin to show, in the Broadway premiere of Mart Crowley's groundbreaking 1968 play.
From the producers: Mart Crowley's landmark 1968 play centers on a group of gay men who gather in a NYC apartment for a friend’s birthday party. After the drinks are poured and the music turned up, the evening slowly exposes the fault-lines beneath their friendships and the self-inflicted heartache that threatens their solidarity. A true theatrical game-changer, "The Boys in the Band" helped spark a revolution by putting gay men’s lives onstage - unapologetically and without judgment - in a world that was not yet willing to fully accept them.
"The Boys in the Band" had its premiere in April 1968 at the Playwrights’ Unit, an Off Broadway theater. Originally scheduled for only five performances, the play became an overnight sensation, and - after transferring to a bigger theatre - ran for over 1,000 performances. The first production was considered to be a landmark in the representation of gay men onstage. The show went on to have an acclaimed run in London and was adapted into a film by William Friedkin in 1970.
The cast includes four-time Emmy Award winner Jim Parsons ("The Normal Heart," "The Big Bang Theory"), Emmy nominee Zachary Quinto ("The Glass Menagerie," "Star Trek"), Golden Globe Award winner Matt Bomer ("The Normal Heart," "Magic Mike") and two-time Tony Award nominee Andrew Rannells ("The Book of Mormon," "Girls"), as well as Charlie Carver, Robin De Jesús, Brian Hutchison, Michael Benjamin Washington and Tuc Watkins. The production is directed by two-time Tony Award winner Joe Mantello ("The Humans," "Other Desert Cities," "Wicked").
Half a century on, Crowley's landmark [play] feels like both a lovingly preserved time capsule and a sometimes stark distillation of what has and hasn't changed since its debut. His script is still funny and cutting and heartbreaking, too; it's also a fraught, glittering showcase for actors. Certain facets do feel dated, but to scrub them entirely would also feel like a denial of the truths and the time the play is rooted in. Mantello takes care to let his characters' messier humanity come through.
What might have been another bulletin from the distant queer past is transformed into a scintillating portrait of the self-loathing that festers in ghettoized subcultures, perhaps as much now as then. The play stands as a compelling portrayal of internecine savagery bred by the stigma of isolation and oppression, by turns bitingly funny and moving. Mantello's superbly cast and acted production makes an even stronger case for its durability.