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BoysInTheBand-bannerOne of the seminal events in the birth of the gay pride movement will be restaged next month on the 45th anniversary of its off-Broadway debut. West Coast Players will present The Boys in the Band, considered to be a groundbreaking work in American theater and the first truly honest portrayal of the lives of contemporary gay men. This hilarious and poignant work by Mart Crowley will …  

BoysInTheBand-bannerOne of the seminal events in the birth of the gay pride movement will be restaged next month on the 45th anniversary of its off-Broadway debut. West Coast Players will present The Boys in the Band, considered to be a groundbreaking work in American theater and the first truly honest portrayal of the lives of contemporary gay men. This hilarious and poignant work by Mart Crowley will run for three weekends, June 7, 14 and 21. Friday and Saturday performances are at 8pm, Sunday’s is at 2pm. Tickets are $16 ($13 for groups of ten or more). A special performance to benefit St Pete Pride will be held on Thursday June 20 at 8pm with tickets set at $30 per person. Buy your tickets and select your seats at www.wcPlayers.org. Or phone the box office at 727-437-2363.

BoysInTheBand-pic1In 1968, a time when homosexuals were seldom seen in commercial media except as crude stereotypes, the play presented a well-rounded view of men who were unapologetically queer. Although it has not lost its sixties feeling, The Boys in the Band appears to have regained its relevancy.

“[It is] not only a historic work of gay theater, but also a timeless mirror of ourselves,” wrote critic Jason Dugger at CultureCatch.com. “While [the] characters can be seen as stereotypical, each is … very much a true representation of a specifically queer neurosis [while revealing] the joy and sadness of being a homosexual man.”

Set in the last days of the era before the Stonewall Riots, the action revolves around Harold who is celebrating his birthday at a party thrown by Michael and attended by several of their friends. Harold is morose about losing his youthful looks and claims that he no longer can attract cute young men. In attendance are Donald, whose homosexuality has put him into therapy; Emory, a flaming queen; Bernard, a black bookstore clerk; Hank, a teacher who is separated from his wife; and Larry, his boyfriend, who doesn’t think their relationship should mean that he has to stop sleeping around. Things are complicated by the arrival of Alan, Michael’s presumably straight friend from college, and Cowboy, a prostitute who is Emory’s birthday present for Harold.

The original production ran for 1,002 performances before being adapted to a successful motion picture.

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