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The Boys in the Band

The Boys in the Band
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Mart Crowley
Publisher: Samuel French
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 114
Pub. Date: 2010
ISBN-10: 0573640041
ISBN-13: 9780573640049
Cast Size: 9 male

About the Play:

The Boys in the Band is a full-length drama by Mart Crowley. The Tony-Award winning play revolves around a group of gay men who gather for a birthday party in New York City in 1968. The Boys in the Band is a time capsule of urban gay life at the time – before Stonewall, before AIDS, before Marriage Equality. As the evening wears on, fuelled by drugs and alcohol, bitter, unresolved resentments among the guests come to light when a game of "Truth" goes terribly wrong.

The Boys in the Band broke the silence and courageously slammed open the closet door, introducing honest and sensitive depictions of gay men into dramatic literature. In 1968 New York City – when being gay was still considered to be best kept behind closed doors – a group of friends gather for a raucous birthday party hosted by Michael, a screenwriter who spends and drinks too much, in honour of the sharp-dressed and sharp-tongued Harold. Other partygoers include Donald, Michael's former flame, now mired in self-analysis; Larry, a randy commercial artist living with Hank, a school teacher who has just left his wife; Bernard, a librarian tiptoeing around fraught codes of friendship alongside Emory, a decorator who never holds back; and "Cowboy" a guileless street hustler, hired to be Harold's surprise gift for the night. What begins as an evening of drinks and laughs gets upended when Alan, Michael's married, straight-laced college roommate, shows up unexpectedly and the would-be celebration takes a darker turn as the men dissect their lives, relationships, and each other in a fierce verbal free-for-all. Taking its title from a line James Mason says to Judy Garland in A Star is Born, The Boys in the Band is a seminal work of the Off-Broadway movement that is in the realm of Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolff, for which, when drinks are plentiful the truth comes out.

The Boys in the Band was first presented in 1968 at Theatre Four in New York City. Originally scheduled for a five-night run, it ended up playing for more than 1,000 performances in its original Off-Broadway production, and was said by some to have helped inspire the 1969 Stonewall riots. In 2018, it premiered on Broadway at the Booth Theatre for its 50th anniversary, winning the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play. The play has become a favourite scene study vehicle in acting classes and workshops and has been performed in regional repertory, college, and community theatre productions.

Cast: 9 male

What people say:

"A play of real substance, one that deserves to be performed not occasionally but regularly." — Wall Street Journal

"...terrifically thoughtful ... The Boys in the Band emerges remarkably universal." — NY1

"The Boys in the Band ... goes from wittily bitchy to heartbreakingly brutal...." — Out Magazine

"Witty, bitchy, revelatory and dazzlingly entertaining ... the excoriating wit is still there." — New York Post

"Humor is still on key in this poignant, sparkling revival of a landmark gay play...the star of the evening is the play itself solidly built, still moving and enormously entertaining." — New York Daily News

"This is a play that takes the homosexual way of life totally for granted and uses this as a valid basis for human experience ... the power of the play is the way in which it remorselessly peels away the pretensions of its characters." — The New York Times

About the Playwright:

Edward Martino Crowley, shortened to Mart Crowley, (1935-2020) was an acclaimed American playwright whose best-known work, The Boys in the Band, broke the mold of how gay life was depicted onstage. He went on to write many other plays, including a prequel to his seminal work, titled A Breeze from the Gulf, and work in television; he was a producer on the ABC series Hart to Hart.

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