“Boys in the Band” headed for Broadway revival

Clockwise from upper left, Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons, Andrew Rannells and Zachary Quinto. AP photos.

Openly gay actors Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons, Andrew Rannells and Zachary Quinto will star in a Broadway revival of the 1968 play The Boys in the Band. The play, later made into a movie, was important because it was a first for openly gay characters on stage.

The limited Broadway production will be directed by Tony award winner Joe Mantello, according to Playbill. “The production, from Ryan Murphy and veteran Broadway producer David Stone, marks the comedic drama's Broadway premiere.

“Each of the four is an alum of Murphy's TV ventures. Parsons (The Normal Heart), Quinto (American Horror Story), Rannells (The New Normal), and Bomer (The Normal Heart, AHS) will take on the roles of Michael, Harold, Larry, and Donald, respectively, on stage.”

Bomer, a TV veteran, has appeared in White Collar and The Last Tycoon in addition to American Horror Story. This will be his first appearance on Broadway. Parsons is best known for his character Sheldon Cooper in CBS' The Big Bang Theory, has been on Broadway in An Act of God and Harvey in addition to Murphy’s The Normal Heart.

Quinto played on Broadway in The Glass Menagerie. Rannells starred in Murphy’s The New Normal after appearing in The Book of Mormon onstage.

Murphy stressed the importance of the play in a statement quoted by Playbill. “’The significance of The Boys in the Band cannot be underestimated. In 1968, Mart Crowley made theatrical history by giving voice to gay men onstage, in this uncompromising, blisteringly honest, and wickedly funny play,’ says Murphy.

“‘The play was groundbreaking in its exploration of how gay men treated each other and how they were made to feel about themselves. And while some attitudes have thankfully shifted, it’s important to be reminded of what we have overcome and how much further we still have to go.’”

“’Everything has changed. And nothing has changed,’ adds Stone.”

The Boys in the Band is lined up for a limited 15-week run at the Booth Theater, according to Variety. The show begins previews April 30 and runs through Aug. 12. The exact opening night — which will be late enough to make The Boys in the Band one of the first openings of the 2018-19 Broadway season — is yet to be set.

The play and movie are often thought to be controversial by the LGBT+ community. Some say that it portrays gay men in pre-AIDS New York as self-possessed, bitter, angry and lonely queens, emblematic of a bygone era.

Others say yes, that’s true, but I still know gay men who are like the characters in the play. Not all gay men, but some. Hence, Stone’s remark to Playbill.

Copyright The Gayly – November 3, 2017 @ 12:05 p.m.