Streaming Queens

Photo: Netflix x Brian Bowen Smith
Director Joe Mantello (seated left) and playwright Mart Crowley (seated right) and the all-out cast of Netflix’s The Boys In the Band Photo: Netflix x Brian Bowen Smith

Leave it to Ryan Murphy to make this happen (and to make it happen right).

Because the times have changed, hunty. Yes, they have. A not a moment too soon.

More than 50 years after the late Mart Crowley’s 1968 Off-Broadway play, The Boys In the Band, became an unexpected smash hit for unapologetically putting gay men’s lives front and center (spawning a William Friedkin-helmed film adaptation two years later), it’s time to hear it for the boys once more, on Netflix.

This all-out Murphy production (the show’s OG cast was closeted at the time, and stayed in the closet afterward, I understand…) doesn’t stray too far from what made the 2018 Broadway staging another life-affirming success (and the eventual winner of last year’s Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play). Tony-winning director Joe Mantello reunites with his stacked cast of gay stars, including Emmy winner Jim Parsons, Golden Globe winner Matt Bomer, and Independent Spirit Award winner Zachary Quinto, for a raucous birthday party in 1968 New York City no guest shall soon forget.

Quinto plays Harold, the sharp dresser with the even sharper tongue, around whose fête the story revolves. Parsons’ Michael, a screenwriter, is the host (too bad he drinks too much), while Bomer plays Donald, his ex (too bad he’s lost his confidence some and is overanalyzing it all). Meanwhile, Grammy winner Andrew Rannells and Tuc Watkins, a couple IRL, are Larry and Hank, a randy commercial artist and a school teacher, who has just left his wife, respectively.

There’s also Bernard (Michael Benjamin Washington), a librarian tiptoeing around fraught codes of friendship alongside Emory (three-time Tony nominee Robin de Jesús), a decorator who never holds back, and a guileless hustler (Screen Actors Guild Award nominee Charlie Carver), hired to be Harold’s gift for the night.

What begins as an evening of drinks and laughs gets upended when Alan (Brian Hutchison), Michael’s straight-laced college roommate (mmm hmmm…), shows up unexpectedly and each man must confront long-buried truths that threaten the foundation of the group’s tight bond.

Gurl.

The Boys In the Band will be available for streaming on Sept. 30.

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