Transcontinental producers Ryan Murphy and David Stone have teamed up for a starry Broadway production of Mart Crowley’s 1968 off-Broadway hit, The Boys in the Band. Headed by a cast that includes Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, Matt Bomer and Andrew Rannells, the 15-week booking will run April 30 through August 12 at the Shubert Organization’s intimate Booth Theatre. Also in the cast are Robin De Jesús, Brian Hutchison, Michael Benjamin Washington and Tuc Watkins; the key role of Cowboy remains to be filled. Two-time Tony Award winner Joe Mantello (Assassins, Take Me Out) is directing.
Mantello – who staged Wicked for Stone (with co-producer Marc Platt) and 2016 Tony best play The Humans – will be doing double duty: He’s also staging Scott Rudin’s spring revival of Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women, which opens March 29 a few doors down at the Shuberts’ John Golden.
The design team will be announced shortly.
The Boys In The Band takes place at an alcohol-fueled birthday party for a gay man and his friends that turns inexorably – and with acid humor – from celebratory to toxic as relationships unravel, feelings are shredded and alliances are food-processed. “W]herever we stand, sit or lie on the sliding scale of human sexuality, I have a feeling that most of us will find The Boys in the Band a gripping, if painful, experience,” Clive Barnes wrote in The New York Times when the play opened at off-Broadway’s Theater Four, adding, “I know I did.”
The play ran for more than 1,000 performances. William Friedkin directed the 1970 film with the original cast.
“The significance of The Boys In The Band cannot be” overstated, Murphy meant to say, in announcing the production. “In 1968, Mart Crowley made theatrical history by giving voice to gay men onstage, in this uncompromising, blisteringly honest, and wickedly funny play.” said Ryan 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.”
David Stone added, “Everything has changed. And nothing has changed.”