The Boys in the Band (1970)
It makes Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? look like an Olsen Twins movie.
– Carson Kressley
I remember the great thing about seeing The Boys in the Band. I hadn’t come out yet, and what it did for me was present gay men as having this incredible sense of camaraderie, this sense of belonging to a group, which I’d never really felt before.
– Barry Sandler
I was devastated. I went to see it with a straight friend. I can’t remember what it was I said at all, but I must have said something about the negative portrayal of gay people in the media. And he gave me a funny look, and he said, “David, do you feel oppressed?” And I said, “Yeah… I do. I do feel oppressed.” And that was the first time I enunciated that feeling, I think, to another person.
– David Carter
We’re starting to build a library of plays and films and television shows that represent the infinite variety of gay lives so that no one work, no one play or novel or whatever, has to carry that completely unjust burden of representing every gay man and woman on the planet. That just isn’t fair. And I think Boys in the Band was remarkable for shouldering that burden for quite some time.
– Paul Rudnick
The main reason why the characters in The Boys in the Band are miserable is because the straight world of old made them that way. If people in the ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s had been tolerant, these guys wouldn’t have turned out as they did. I saw The Boys in the Band countless times way back when and, believe me, plenty of men in the audience were weeping openly. It’s not the story of today’s gays, but it certainly was the story of yesteryear’s. How could the 1968 production have set a then-record-high ticket price of $10 (when Broadway plays were still charging $6.90) and run 1,000 performances it if weren’t telling a story that resonated and rang true?
I also believe that one reason that Stonewall and Gay Rights happened – not the only reason, mind you, but one reason – is because of this play. After gays saw The Boys in the Band, they no longer would settle for thinking of themselves as pathetic and wouldn’t be perceived as such any longer. Now that Michael and his friends had brought their feelings out of the closet, this new generation would dare to be different. And, just as some whites’ view of blacks changed after seeing A Raisin in the Sun, so too did the outlook of many straights after they caught The Boys in the Band. Some whom I personally know felt terrible and – I saw this happen! – actually changed the way they treated gays. So this is a play to be cherished for what it did.
– Peter Filichia
- Reblogged from: farley g. for prom king 1943