Last year’s Broadway hit The Boys in the Band will live on in the form of a “Netflix movie event,” per Ryan Murphy. He’s producing the film, which will bring aboard the entire cast from the show, including Jim Parsons, Matt Bomer and Zachary Quinto.
Boys in the Band is based on the play written by Matt Crowley in 1968, a time when its subject matter — a group of gay men attending a birthday party in New York City, setting the stage for an exploration of not only the gay lifestyle but the emotional turmoil between them — was extremely controversial. In fact, the fact that it was controversial inspired the play in the first place.
“All this anger was penned up in me. It had partially to do with myself and my career, but it also had to do with the social attitude of people around me, and the laws of the day. That all combined to blow up and I started writing The Boys in the Band, the playwright explained to Mississippi Today. “[Activism] wasn’t my intention; to change any laws or increase tolerance. I was just angry and wanted the injustice of it all — to all those characters — known. They were just a microcosm of what was going on in the world. So, if I had any agenda, it wasn’t hidden, and it wasn’t really terribly conscious. I just think the anger and the frustration superseded everything and boiled over in its own way.”
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Last summer, THE BOYS IN THE BAND were on Broadway, breaking house records at The Booth. THIS summer, The Boys In the Band will be filming a Netflix movie event. The incomparable Joe Mantello, who directed the Broadway revival, will direct the film adaptation. The Broadway cast of BOYS was so important to me, and as equally groundbreaking as Mart Crowley's seminal work. Everyone in the cast was out and proud…and feeling so blessed to mark the 50th anniversary of Mart's landmark play. The entire Broadway cast will reprise their roles in the film. I can't wait to be on set with Joe and Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, Andrew Rannells, Matt Bomer, Charlie Carver, Robin de Jesus, Tuc Watkins, Michael Benjamin Washington and Brian Hutchison. I will be producing the film with David Stone and Ned Martel. Look for THE BOYS on Netflix in 2020.
A breakdown of the cast and their characters (bios of the latter coming from Wikipedia) are as follows: Zachary (Spock in the Star Trek movies beginning in 2009) is Harold, who’s celebrating his birthday. He becomes increasingly morose about losing his youthful looks and claims that he no longer can attract cute young men. Jim (The Big Bang Theory) is Michael, Harold’s “friend-enemy,” the host of the party and a lapsed Catholic as well as an alcoholic. He is the catalyst for most of the drama of the play. Matt (White Collar, Will & Grace) is Donald, Michael’s conflicted boyfriend who has moved from the city to the Hamptons to spurn the homosexual “lifestyle,” and is undergoing psychoanalysis.
Andrew Rannells (Girls) is Larry, a fashion photographer who prefers multiple sex partners. Charlie Carver (Desperate Housewives, The Leftovers) is “Cowboy,” an attractive blond prostitute who is “not too bright” and who happens to be one of Harold’s birthday presents. Robin De Jesus (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, 11:55) is Emory, a flamboyant and effeminate interior decorated. He is often campy in his sense of humor, which serves to irritate others.
Brian Hutchison (Bridge of Spies) is Alan McCarthy, an unexpected party guest. Michael’s married college friend, he is visiting New York and anxious to tell Michael something but is hesitant to do so in front of the others. It is suggested that he once had homosexual affairs while in college, but his sexual orientation is never explicitly stated and is left to audience interpretation. Michael Benjamin Washington (Broadway’s Mamma Mia!) is Bernard, an African-American, who still pines for the wealthy white boy in whose house his mother worked as a maid. Tuc Watkins (One Life to Live, Desperate Housewives) is Hank, Larry’s live-in boyfriend who has been married to a woman from whom he is separated and is divorcing. He “passes” as a straight and disagrees with Larry on the issue of monogamy.
In addition to its 1968 and 2018 stage runs, The Boys in the Band was adapted into a 1970 film directed by William Friedkin (The French Connection, The Exorcist). The Netflix version will stream in 2020.
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