By Richard Hack
Mart Crowley, the writer of the “The Boys in the Band,” which originally set tongues wagging in its off-Broadway production in 1968, died last March after surgery following a heart attack. His last writing assignment ended up much as he started–writing, or in this case, reediting “The Boys in the Band” as a Ryan Murphy produced film for Netflix.
The latest production, like the original, follows events that transpire at a birthday party attended by a group of gays in Manhattan. The play was revived on Broadway in 2018 and won Crowley, then 83, the Tony Award–the oldest playwright to receive the honor. “I outlastested them all,” he said to me.
What he did not do was live long enough to see his revolutionary play turned movie, unreel inself in its latest version on Netflix September 30, 2020.
The Netflix version is directed by Joe Mantello, who recently appeared in Murphy’s “Hollywood.” Mantello also directed the revival, all of whose all-gay stars return for the new streaming version. They include Jim Parsons as Michael, Zachary Quinto as Harold, Andrew Rannells as Larry, and Matt Bomer as Donald, with Tony nominee Robin De Jesús as Emory, Brian Hutchison as Alan, Michael Benjamin Washington as Bernard, Tuc Watkins as Hank, and Charlie Carver as Cowboy.