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The Boys in the Band: a beautiul landmark for gay culture


It’s a memorable cover from 1968 but The Boys in the Band by Mart Crowley is much more than just a pretty book from the 1960s. This is the book version of an off-Broadway play that opened in 1968 and stretched to a thousand performances.  A movie version followed in 1970 with William Friedkin directing.

The Boys in the Band is significant because it was the first play to explore gay life in New York and it did so in a very frank way. It was very much a landmark for gay culture. The plot is set in a Manhattan apartment with a group of male friends gathered to celebrate a birthday and becoming progressively drunker. A whole series of gay themes are explored as the characters reveal more and more about themselves.

Natalie Wood is believed to have helped fund the stage play. Crowley worked as Wood’s assistant and was a close friend of the actress.

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