The boys are on Broadway, and they are fabulous.
Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, Matt Bomer and the rest of the nine-member cast of “The Boys in the Band” look like they are enjoying themselves as they trade quips and kisses; eat cake and unwrap birthday gifts; and dance the Madison to 1960’s R&B music.
Fifty years after the Off-Broadway opening of Mart Crowley’s groundbreaking play about a group of gay men at a birthday party, “The Boys in the Band” is debuting on Broadway with an all-gay cast of A-list actors who make the play pop. The show is often fun, funny and inviting.
Is the script dated? Yes. That’s surely why it’s trimmed to 110 minutes for this production, turned into one act, and presented as a period piece, set in April, 1968, which is the month it premiered on stage. (The movie, with the original Off-Broadway cast, came out in 1970.) Does the play traffic in stereotypes and depict characters who are self-loathing, as it’s long been accused of doing? Well, yes, especially in the second half. Yet, at the same time, helped by the alchemy of Joe Mantello’s smart direction and a stellar cast, the play can still feel daring, and its characters delightfully defiant.
Click on any photograph by Joan Marcus to see it enlarged.