‘The Boys In The Band’ Features Cast Of Gay Men Depicting 1960s Closeted Gay Community
For the 50th anniversary of the landmark play The Boys in the Band, it has been revived on Broadway from May 31 to August 11.
The 1968 original play by Mart Crowley depicted the closeted gay community of the 1960s. Now, a starry, openly gay cast has brought the production to Broadway for the first time, including Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, Andrew Rannells, Matt Bomer, Charlie Carver, Robin de Jesús, Tuc Watkins, Michael B. Washington and Brian Hutchison.
Although the play opens with playful, witty “shade” being thrown at a gathering for a friend’s birthday party, it eventually digs into the shame and burden there was at the time for hiding their true identities. The group of gay friends held the party in a New York City apartment, where they begin to disclose their thoughts involving the remorse they feel for being gay.
The revival can be used to reflect on the progression of society’s acceptance of the gay community. When the original play hit Off-Broadway theaters, it was rightfully ground-breaking yet taboo, for there was great stigma still surrounding being gay. The actors who starred in the Off-Broadway run and 1970 adapted film by William Friedkin were even stereotyped after their simply playing their roles. Now, times have changed and there’s greater acceptance than ever; however, the gay community still faces discrimination, rendering the play’s relevance to be timeless.
A dynamic change is seen in Michael (Parsons), who drives the show with his self-deprecating humor that actually reveals his raw, fragile emotions by the play’s end.
The birthday boy, Harold (Quinto), says a speech to Michael in the final act that perfectly encapsulates the theme of the play as a whole.
“You’re a homosexual and you don’t want to be, but there is nothing you can do to change it—not all your prayers to your god, not all the analysis you can buy in all the years you’ve got to live,” Harold says. “You may very well one day be able to know a heterosexual life if you want it desperately enough—if you pursue it with all the fervor with which you annihilate—but you will always be homosexual as well. Always, Michael. Always. Until the day you die.”