Read the EncoreMI REVIEW
Mart Crowley’s landmark play The Boys in the Band will finally get its Ringwald Theatre debut, in association with Five15 of Royal Oak, beginning on January 9, 2015. Promised last season, but the victim of scheduling changes, The Boys in the Band will play a four week engagement at the downtown Ferndale theatre.
The importance of Mart Crowley’s play can’t be overstated. Premiering a year before the Stonewall riots cemented the gay rights movement, The Boys in the Band was the first time that gay men had been portrayed realistically onstage. These were living, breathing men, not frail, feeble characters that killed themselves in the final act. The Boys in the Band took off-Broadway by storm and played for 1,000 performances. In 1970, William Friedkin (who would go on to direct The Exorcist) directed the film version featuring the entire original cast. The original production was so big it merited an original cast album, almost unheard of for a non-musical.
In the subsequent years, audiences have become sharply divided about The Boys in the Band. Some still praise it for the groundbreaking work it was. Others take issue with perceived stereotypes and self-loathing characters. This is a rare chance to get a fresh look at this classic work.
The Ringwald cast features Jamie Richards, Richard Payton, Mark Sobolewski, Brenton Herwat, James Lee, Dayne Laycy, Matthew Turner Shelton, Topher Alan Payne, and Dan Morrison. Joe Bailey will direct. Set design is by Jen Maiseloff, sound design by Dyan Bailey.