When Mart Crowley’s 1968 play The Boys in the Band came to Broadway in 2018, it made history. For the first time, the production — directed by Tony-winner Joe Mantello — featured only openly gay actors.
The production won a Tony for Best Revival of a Play in 2019 and a new movie adaption — including all members of the Broadway cast — was announced with Ryan Murphy at the helm.
Now fans can get a look at the fun, games and devilish humor for the first time with a trailer for the film (which debuts September 30th); it gives a peek into Michael’s (Jim Parsons) penthouse apartment as the guests’ barbed wit hooks in a new generation.
The 1970 William Friedkin-directed adaptation may not be familiar with mainstream audiences these days, but it was a bellwether for Hollywood since it was one of the first frank, big-studio treatments of uncloseted gay and bisexual men.
This sumptuous new version serves as a history lesson for a new generation. It follows eight friends (and one hustler) who’ve gathered to celebrate birthday boy Harold (Zachary Quinto). The cast also includes Jim Parsons (as host Michael), Matt Bomer (Donald), Andrew Rannells (Larry), Tuc Watkins (as Hank, a schoolteacher who just left his wife), Michael Benjamin Washington (Bernard) and Robin de Jesús (Emory). Charlie Carver plays the sex worker who is intended as Harold’s “gift” for the night and Brian Hutchison is interloper Alan, Michael’s old college buddy who shows up unexpectedly.
Crowley, who died at 84 earlier this year, makes a brief cameo in the movie during a shot at Julius’ Bar, the oldest gay watering hole in New York City; it’s also on the brink of shuttering forever due to the coronavirus. The West Village bar was the site of the 1966 “Sip In” protest staged by the Mattachine Society to fight for gay rights.
As Murphy told IndieWire last year: “I feel like the world needs more LGBTQ history. It just does. [The Boys in the Band] is a play that many people have looked on as problematic, when it’s seen through the current prism of, I guess — gay politics. But I was always interested in that. I thought that was a great jumping-off point.”