Jun 18th, 2018
Fun Fact: Homosexuality is illegal in over seventy countries, with sentences ranging from the death penalty, life in prison, down to whipping. Yep, that's not a fun fact. Just a frightening one
Target Audience: Yes, the LGBTQ community will support this production but it reaches far wider and will be enjoyed by any human who appreciates FUNNY writing and believes in the fight for love and equality!
Best Bit: This cast! Wow. Brilliantly directed by Tony-winner Joe Mantello.
Morning After Effect: Wondering what Matt Bomer eats for breakfast?!
Just the other day I saw Skintight with Will Brittain prancing around the stage in a jockstrap, and then this pleasant surprise at The Boys in the Band where Matt Bomer strips down to tighty whities within the first five minutes of the play! He then slips out of the shower and teasingly wraps a towel around his absolutely exquisitely beautiful body! In fact, I am convinced that if you walk by the Booth Theatre around 8:15 PM you will hear a collective prayer chanting up the heavens, "please let that towel drop, please Lord make it fall off!"
Bomer is there, of course, to fulfil far more than this giddiness in the audience, it sets the scene for Mart Crowley's unapologetic play which first premiered Off-Broadway in 1968. Can you imagine the shock for some people seeing two men alone in a room, with one of them nakey nakey?
Crowley's play celebrates fifty years by finally making its Broadway debut with this star-studded cast. If it weren't for David Zinn's gorgeous period-specific set design and clothing, Crowley's play could have been written for today's audience. With the comeback of mid-century furniture and the ever-revolving door of fashion, one has to remind yourself that this "very gay" play was set in the late '60s. And let's just say these "issues" are still just as relevant today. The issue being that authorities are still trying to enforce rules as to how one should be -namely how one can love, and whom.
On stage in the Booth, it's 1968 and a group of friends are gathering to celebrate Harry's birthday (Zachary Quinto) who sees another year of life as a step closer to the grave. Michael (Jim Parsons) has decided to host the affair at his lavish Upper East Side apartment with balloons, cracked crab and cocktails - only to discover his straight friend from college is arriving, unannounced. Something you never do in the gay community, even worse would be arriving early, and Alan does both! How on earth will his friends behave so as not to offend Alan (Brian Hutchison) is all Michael can focus on, driving him back to the bottle of vodka he's been avoiding for weeks. How will he keep his dirty shameful little secret undiscovered? Needless to say, the vodka isn't helping.
This diverse group of outspoken friends refuse to give up their territory, to turn off the lights and sit in the dark so Alan can be more comfortable. Crowley's play is a stand, a stand for justice, for love - a stand for truth. And these men defiantly cover the room with their sparkle, sarcasm, and birthday confetti, tackling their own demands and destruction head on.
Joe Mantello directs the updated debut of The Boys in the Band. He has tackled this brilliantly written script causing you to laugh out loud with tears and squirm with the pain these men experience. I felt truly honored to see this work brought to life with such care and an unwavering strength to continue the stand against prejudice. This cast is insanely talented and represent the vast hues of life. Each unique, bold, and beautiful in their own right. Each fighting their own fight. It sounds like the start of a good joke; a Jew, a teacher, a Catholic, a Latino, a philanderer, an African American, a cowboy and a very educated man are having a party, with a straight man from the South. Crowley will have you laughing out loud while casting light on every shade, and remind you with a stabbing truth, it is not a joke, it is life.
Interestingly enough, I must mention that during the 1968 Off-Broadway run the American people realized they had been lied to about the victories in Vietnam, a cruel propaganda. It was also the year Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King was assassinated, a man who dedicated his life to love and to justice for his fellow human beings. Senator Robert F. Kennedy delivered the news on April 4 and announced to the people of America: "Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world." Just two months later, he too was shot and killed. Robert F. Kennedy was a man known to challenge the complacency in American society and wanted to bridge the divide between races, classes and generations. The divide between order and dissent. While we are at it, let's add the need to divide the gap between our sexual prejudice and give up this war that is still taking young lives around the world.
It has been fifty years since this plays inception and we have come a long way since with homosexuality making it into our homes with various TV shows and movies which too often were forced to present the tolerable "quirky gay", now we need to go further from our complacency not with caricatures or stereotypes but honest and real stories such as The Boys in The Band. Crowley's play is a gift to the historical archives - maybe one day we will all look back and wonder what on earth the problem was for two people to love each other, no matter what, no matter where.
As Parsons makes his way to midnight mass the lights fade, and we are left in the dark.
View our show pages for more information about The Boys In The Band, Booth Theater.
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