“Harold: I keep my grass in the medicine cabinet in the Band Aid box. Somebody told me it’s the safest place. If the cops arrive, you can always lock yourself in the bathroom and flush it down the john.
Hank: Very cagey.
Harold: Makes more sense to where I was keeping it: in the oregano jar in the spice rack. I kept forgetting it and accidentally turning my hateful mother on with a salad. But I think she liked it. No matter what meal she comes over for, even if it was breakfast, she says
[in his mother’s voice]
Let’s have a salad!”
Mart Crowley’s 1968 groundbreaking play The Boys in the Band was produced 14 months before Stonewall changed the LGBT community. In a sense, it foreshadowed what was brewing underneath. This play, full of self-loathing and sarcastic bitchery, is very much how the world is now. We haven’t really changed.
“Michael: [sings] Forget your troubles, c’mon get happy! You better chase all your cares away! What’s more boring than a queen doing a Judy Garland imitation?
Donald: A queen doing a Bette Davis imitation.”
The Boys in the Band follows Michael (Jim Parsons), an ex-alcoholic who tortures his hair to not seem bald, spends over his head, and lives on credit. He is throwing a 32nd birthday party for his friend Harold (Zachary Quinto). Michael obviously represents Crowley, who is a master of the bitchy one-liner, but behind every joke is a painful reminder that these men may not like each other, and most definitely do not like themselves. The jokes border on desperation, loneliness, and sex.
First to arrive is Daniel (the handsome Matt Bomer), Michael’s sometimes boyfriend who has moved to the Hamptons to spurn the homosexual “lifestyle” and is undergoing psychoanalysis. Michael’s married ex-college roommate, Alan (Brian Hutchinson) has called wanting to see Michael. The problem is, Michael has never come out to him. Enter Emory (Robin de Jesus), a flamboyant and effeminate interior decorator and his boyfriend, Bernard (Michael Benjamin Washington), an African-American who takes all of Emory’s racist stereotype jokes. Next up are Larry (Andrew Rannells), a fashion photographer who prefers multiple sex partners, and his live-in boyfriend Hank (Tuc Watkins), who was married to a woman whom he is separated and is divorcing. Emory’s gift for Harold is “Cowboy” (Charlie Carver), an attractive blond prostitute who is “not too bright” and is told to wait over by the gifts. Last to arrive is Harold.
“Michael: You’re stoned and you’re late. You were supposed to arrive at this location at eight thirty dash nine o’clock.
Harold: What I am Michael is a 32 year-old, ugly, pock marked Jew fairy, and if it takes me a little while to pull myself together, and if I smoke a little grass before I get up the nerve to show my face to the world, it’s nobody’s god damned business but my own. And how are you this evening?”
Just then, Alan arrives unexpectedly. As Michael goes off the wagon, he seeks to inflict his hurt on his friends via a telephone game. His intention is to out Alan. After things have gone off the deep end, Harold speaks to Michael before everyone leaves.
“Harold: You’re a sad and pathetic man. You’re a homosexual and you don’t want to be, but there’s nothing you can do to change it. Not all the prayers to your god, not all the analysis you can buy in all the years you’ve got left to live. You may one day be able to know a heterosexual life if you want it desperately enough. If you pursue it with the fervor with which you annihilate. But you’ll always be homosexual as well. Always Michael. Always. Until the day you die.”
This star-studded cast, all of whom are gay, brings heart. Jim Parsons allows us to see all sides of Michael and though he is the bitchiest queen of all, we feel for him. Matt Bomer brings us sympathy and a well-rounded characterization. Robin de Jesus moves the audience when he calls the love of his life, who has and always will be straight. As his lover, Michael Benjamin Washington shows the slow hurt of bigotry, but with de Jesus being Hispanic, we see a different aspect of “PC” correctness. Tuc Watkins and Andrew Rannells are perfectly matched as Rannells fights for his independence and a chance at love. Charlie Carver is lovable as the present that brings beauty alone. Brian Hutchinson keeps us guessing as to where his allegiances lie. Then there is the subtle, yet layered Zachary Quinto as the party boy in decline, Harold.
Joe Mantello’s direction is spot on and I absolutely loved David Zinn’s duplex mirrored set and period costumes. Hugh Vanstone’s mood ring lighting was spot on, as was Leon Rothenberg’s sound design.
There are positive messages in this play if only we can open our eyes and see our reflections in these men and move forward.
The Boys in the Band: Booth Theater, 222 West 45th St. Closes Aug. 11th.
League of Professional Theatre Women’s 10th Annual Women Stage The World March
The League of Professional Theatre Women (LPTW) will hold its 10th Annual “Women Stage the World March” — a Suffragette-inspired project to educate the public about the role of women in the theatre industry — on Saturday, June 17. The march will begin at noon, at Shubert Alley and weave through Times Square and the Broadway Theatre District, wrapping up at about 2 p.m.
“The event is FREE and LPTW invites all theatre women and allies to join us as we increase awareness, lift our voices, and advocate for more opportunities for women in theatre,” said Ludovica Villar-Hauser, Co-President of LPTW.
“The Women Stage the World March is designed to educate the public about the role women play in creating theatre and the barriers they face as men continue to outnumber women by 4 to 1 in key roles such as playwright, director and designers. Women buy 67% of the tickets and represent 65% of the audience, yet 80% of the storytelling on stage is shaped by men’s voices,” said Katrin Hilbe, Co-President of LPTW.
Handouts during the March will prompt ticket-buyers to ask three questions as they make buying decisions: (1) Who wrote, directed and designed this play? (2) What is this theatre’s track record in giving opportunities to women? (3) How can you spread the word and promote women’s voices?
“All participants are encouraged to dress as their favorite historical theatre woman, or dress all in white. March participants will gather at Shubert Alley starting at 11:30 AM, in preparation for the start of the march at noon. Women Stage the World sashes and signs will be provided, as supplies last,” noted Penelope Deen, LPTW member and organizer of the event. Those interested in participating in the event please R.S.V.P. at: https://www.theatrewomen.org/women-stage-the-world or contact Penelope Deen at: Womenstagetheworld@Theatrewomen.org
LPTW Co-President Ludovica Villar-Hauser added: “The League of Professional Theatre Women stands alongside the Writers Guild of America (WGA) as they demand fair wages and take action to ensure more protections for artists. We encourage LPTW members to find a time to join the WGA on the picket lines this month as the strike continues. Women writers are the future of the film and television industry, just as they lead the way in theatre. LPTW supports the women on the frontlines of this movement as they call for long overdue change. We are stronger together.”
For the past 10 years LPTW members, affiliated union members, theatre artists and their allies have hit the streets in a March reminiscent of the Suffragette parades of the early 20th Century, with some marchers dressed in traditional suffrage garb and colors. Like the Suffragettes before them, participants in the Women Stage the World March empower women and men to become aware, take action and influence others.
The League of Professional Theatre Women (LPTW) is a membership organization championing women in theatre and advocating for increased equity and access for all theatre women. Our programs and initiatives create community, cultivate leadership, and increase opportunities and recognition for women working in theatre. The organization provides support, networking and collaboration mechanisms for members, and offers professional development and educational opportunities for all theatre women and the general public. LPTW celebrates the historic contributions and contemporary achievements of women in theatre, both nationally and around the globe, and advocates for parity in employment, compensation and recognition for women theatre practitioners through industry-wide initiatives and public policy proposals. LPTW is celebrating its 40th Anniversary in 2023.
Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Chicago
John Kander & Fred Ebb / Bob Fosse musical Chicago is now the longest running show playing on Broadway. Having played 10,338 performances, Chicago is the Tony Award-winning, record-breaking hit musical playing at the Ambassador Theatre, 219 W. 49th St., NYC.
Ham4Ham: Some Like It Hot, Parade and Shucked With Special Guests
Lin-Manuel Miranda brought out a. special edition of Ham4Ham outside the Richard Rodgers Theater yesterday and it was a star studded afternoon.
First up Leopoldstadt stars Josh Molina and Brandon Uranowitz introduced Some Like It Hot‘s J. Harrison Ghee, who performed “You Coulda Knocked Me Over With a Feather” accompanied by the show’s composer, Marc Shaiman. You can watch the beginning of this and the whole performance of that song here.
Then Nikki Crawford and playwright James Ijames from Fat Ham, introduced composer Jason Robert Brown and performers Ben Platt and Michaela Diamond who perform the duet “This Is Not Over Yet” from the must see revival of Parade.
The Thanksgiving Play stars D’Arcy Carden and Chris Sullivan introduced book writer Robert Horn and the Tony-nominated cast of Shucked recreated new lyrics for “We Love Jesus” and a parody of Hamilton‘s “The Story of Tonight.”led by Ashley D. Kelley, Grey Henson, Andrew Durand and Kevin Cahoon
This was a spectacular afternoon that can only be had in NYC.
T2c would love to thank these three ladies who gave us a chair to sit on.
The Outer Critics Circle Awards and You Are There Part 2
Yesterday the 72nd Annual Awards honoring achievements in the 2022-2023 Broadway and Off-Broadway season were presented at the Bruno Walter Auditorium, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
Here are highlights from the show.
Outstanding New Score: Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman – Some Like It Hot
T2c interviewed the fantastic duo.
Outstanding Lead Performer in an Off-Broadway Play: Bill Irwin –Endgame
Outstanding Featured Performer in a Broadway Musical: Alex Newell – Shucked
Outstanding Lead Performer in a Broadway Musical: J. Harrison Ghee
Outstanding Featured Performer in a Broadway Play: Brandon Uranowitz – Leopoldstadt
T2c talked to this amazing performer before the ceremony.
Special Achievement Award:To B.H. Barry, one of the world’s foremost fight directors.
Outstanding New Broadway Play: Leopoldstadt and Outstanding Director of a Play:Patrick Marber – Leopoldstadt
Outstanding New Broadway Musical: Some Like It Hot Robert E. Wankel and Neil Meron
Broadway’s Samantha Pauly and Reeve Carney Come To Chelsea Table and Stage
On May 29th catch Samantha Pauly for Memorial Day. Best known for originating the role of Katherine Howard in Broadway’s smash hit SIX the Musical, and her captivating performance as Eva Peron in Jamie Lloyd’s critically acclaimed revival of Evita on London’s West End, Samantha Pauly has carefully crafted an evening that reflects the last few years of her life. Join this Grammy nominee and Drama Desk Award winner as she revisits some career highlights, Broadway classics, pop/rock favorites, and all the fun stuff in between.
Grammy-winning singer-songwriter and actor Reeve Carneyreturns to Chelsea Table + Stage June 4th to perform a night of music honoring the artistry of the legendary rock n’ roll supergroup Led Zeppelin. Carney is best known for his portrayal of Dorian Grayin on Showtime’s Penny Dreadful, Riff Raff in Fox’s Rocky Horror Picture Show Reimagining, as well as originating the role of Peter Parker in Julie Taymor/U2’s Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark. He is currently starring in the Broadway blockbuster, Hadestown. Reeve Carney delivers a one-man-show cabaret that feels more like an invitation-only after-party than a traditional concert performance. Don’t miss this special performance from one of Broadway’s leading actors!
Events2 days ago
Happy Memorial Day From T2C
Broadway5 days ago
Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Happy Birthday Richard Jay-Alexander
Art4 days ago
Taylor Swift Exhibition Opens in NYC
Broadway5 days ago
The Outer Critics Circle Awards and You Are There Part 1
Celebrity5 days ago
The Glorious Corner
Events3 days ago
Tovah Feldshuh Joins The American Popular Song Society In Celebration of Marilyn Maye
Broadway4 days ago
The Outer Critics Circle Awards and You Are There Part 2
Cabaret3 days ago
Cabaret, Talks and Concerts For June