New York | 1h 50m | Already closed

The Boys in the Band (Broadway)

From 43 critic and 483 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Funny, Absorbing, Entertaining, Relevant

About the show

Two-time Tony Award-winning director Joe Mantello brings Mart Crowley's groundbreaking 1968 play to Broadway in a production starring Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, Matt Bomer, and Andrew Rannells. More…

'The Boys in the Band,' centers on a group of gay men who gather in a NYC apartment for a friend's birthday party. After the drinks are poured and the music turned up, the evening slowly exposes the fault-lines beneath their friendships and the self-inflicted heartache that threatens their solidarity. A true theatrical game-changer, 'The Boys in the Band' helped spark a revolution by putting gay men's lives onstage - unapologetically and without judgement - in a world that was not yet willing to fully accept them.

1h 50m | Already closed | Booth Theatre (Midtown W)


"Superbly cast, zippily yet deeply directed and gorgeously designed, the play makes us laugh long and hard -- the quips fly faster than a hummingbird on speed -- before it makes us shed a tear or two and stabs us in the heart (and then smartly allows us to regain our breath)." Full Review


"Festivities are certainly in order for this superbly mounted 50th anniversary production...If there’s one thing this staid theater season is more than ready for, it’s a motley crew of gay friends getting together to celebrate...Crowley is a master of the bitchy one-liner, so the play is littered with quotable bon mots...Happily, a lot about the play now seems dated — but not everything, and not in all circles of society, which makes this anniversary presentation doubly welcome." Full Review

Broadway News

"Certainly director Joe Mantello’s smashing production of Crowley’s dark comedy sustains a savage humor from start to finish. More surprising, perhaps, is that the actors, under Mantello’s exquisite direction, probe the tender spots in Crowley’s time capsule of a play with a sensitivity that resonates even now...Mantello and his expert cast manage to make us see past the outmoded tropes to the wellsprings of truth from which they emerged." Full Review

AM New York

"Thanks to spot-on direction by Joe Mantello and rich performances by the nine-member all-male cast, 'The Boys in the Band' proves to be not just a historic artifact, but a witty, gripping and surprising drama that is just as enjoyable as it is menacing (showing influences of Edward Albee and Harold Pinter)...Even if the play is dated and its shock value has worn off, as this crowd-pleasing revival demonstrates, it can still be a powerful piece of theater." Full Review

Theater News Online

"Crowley uttered a 'cri de coeur' with tremendous style and grace, an existential scream with perfect pitch...A document of its time and, weirdly, a predictor of society to come...Mantello’s starry and glossy revival maximizes the script’s angsty impudence...It’s an exemplary piece of naturalistic playwriting, with a masterful control of pacing and tone. And it’s howlingly funny, packed with bitchy one-liners that help to mitigate the slide into darkness." Full Review

Gotham Playgoer

"I had forgotten just how funny the dialogue is with its many catty outbursts. I had also forgotten how nasty the play turns during its final third. The cast is uniformly strong...Director Joe Mantello has done his usual fine work with this fine ensemble. I still have problems with some of the play’s structure...However, there is no escaping how hilarious much of the play is, which goes a long way toward forgiving its shortcomings." Full Review

New York Stage Review

"Thanks to its excellent new Broadway production, 'The Boys in the Band' is revealed to be a trenchant period drama that dazzles contemporary viewers with a barrage of explosive laughs even as its smart staging respects the thorny past...Mantello, one of the top directors around, delivers quite a seductive production...Under Mantello’s astute guidance, a terrific ensemble sweeps the audience along on the story’s increasingly emotional roller-coaster ride as ribald laughter gives way to tears." Full Review


"Crowley’s script crackles with pathos and bitchy hilarity...Mantello’s production doesn’t disappoint, bringing together a star-studded cast featuring a lot of high profile gays to get to the heart of 'Boys’' humor and poignancy...I only had reservations about Zachary Quinto as the bemused, withering Harold...Still, Quinto scores laughs and has good moments...There’s a sexy, more hopeful ending here, and then the cast reconvenes to take an ensemble bow. My lips are blue from cheering." Full Review


"Peerlessly directed by Joe Mantello, this revival reaffirms the social significance of an admittedly dated work and makes the case that Crowley's dark vision of semi-closeted, self-loathing gay men still resonates in the age of marriage equality. That's no mean feat...A collection of performances that are all too human and vulnerable -- these are real people, trying to push beyond the boundaries imposed by a society that insists on seeing them as something lesser." Full Review

The Observer

"There isn’t a single moment of political correctness in it, but as a social and cultural dossier on what life was like for gay men in the Dark Ages, it still resonates with wit, poignancy, and heart-breaking truth...A play that has, in retrospect, gained insight and lost none of its power or potency. It holds up beautifully...The ensemble acting is rich, Mart Crowley’s script seems to have been written with rattlesnake venom, and the result is engrossing, sad, hilarious, and gratifying." Full Review

Drama Queen NYC

"Director Joe Mantello has uncovered something important about Crowley’s 'The Boys in the Band.' At its base, it is a drama about an alcoholic dysfunctional family, much like 'Long Days Journey into Night.' Unlike that play, however, there is much humor and hope in this chosen family...This is a revelatory production that casts an insightful eye toward both gay history and plain old human psychology. Essential gay viewing, and highly recommended." Full Review


"When the truly gifted director Joe Mantello, who is openly gay, assembles a pitch-perfect company of actors who are also all openly gay, for his fiercely charged and fearlessly honest production, there's a sense of reclaiming about the proceedings and of honoring those who came before them...The director also has the liberty to play to a more sympathetic public, allowing the sharp edges to occasionally soften, giving clearer views of what all that laughter was hiding." Full Review

New York Daily News

"Crowley does the torching in his fanged, furious and frequently laugh-out-loud funny landmark 1968 dive into gay men’s lives. It’s messy stuff — and all too human...It still packs a wallop — even with slow patches and plot devices as old as the hills...Through it all, the ensemble filled with out-and-proud actors is uniformly terrific. They deftly hug the curves of the script as it goes from barbed humor to bile-spewing." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"There are certainly some wince-worthy moments that cannot be avoided altogether...But time, history, and a slew of plays and musicals featuring gay, lesbian, and, transgender characters, allow us to better appreciate the place of 'The Boys in the Band' in the grand scheme of things...It is wrong to dismiss this play, and why this outstanding production, performed and directed by openly and proudly gay men, marks a triumphant return for 'The Boys in the Band.'" Full Review

The Wrap

"'Inspired' is the word for casting Parsons as Michael, the vitriolic host of a totally misbegotten birthday party. Equally fortuitous is getting Mantello to direct the first Broadway revival of Crowley’s 'The Boys in the Band'...While Parsons is a revelation, so too is Washington...Likewise, Bomer keeps finding unexpected levels of anxiety in playing what is arguably the play’s blandest character. Elsewhere, the starry ensemble offer heartfelt homages to the original performances." Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

"What might have been another bulletin from the distant queer past is transformed into a scintillating portrait of the self-loathing that festers in ghettoized subcultures, perhaps as much now as then...The production is sharpest when the zingers are flying back and forth, but the anger coursing through the play's veins still scalds...There's unapologetic ownership and humanity in the incisive characterizations, which banishes any simplistic perception of the play as a voyeuristic pity party." Full Review

Chicago Tribune

"Mantello wants his audience to breathe in not just his characters, with their one-liners, quips, power trips and deep sadness, but also to imbue the breathtaking contrast with the self-assured men who now are playing them, luckier men not born when the play was written...I swear there is no place better than the theater to be overwhelmed by suddenly comprehending the transformations of 50 years in 110 minutes." Full Review

Broadway Blog

"Without the political constraints of the last 50 years, Crowley's script emits a sense of structural freedom, whereby these men struggle, swoosh, snap, and sneer their way through an evening of self-discovery that transcends its timestamp. In spite of the streamers and balloons, 'The Boys in the Band' is far more than a theatrical gay party favor." Full Review


"An emotional, gut-wrenching production that has audiences laughing silly one minute, wallowing in the despondency of it all the next...The star-studded cast is in fine form...The impact of 'Boys,' written pre-AIDS crisis and only a year before the Stonewall uprising, goes well beyond period piece...If 'The Boys in the Band' does anything, it points out the reality that change can be fleeting, that nothing in the politics of sexual identity is certain." Full Review

The Stage (UK)

“For all the internalized homophobia and self-loathing openly on display, Crowley’s achievement is to humanize each character amid the bitchy banter to reveal layers of feeling and friendship...The all-star cast of Joe Mantello’s production lend it an unaffected honesty and authenticity, with Parsons as party host Michael and Quinto as birthday boy Harold both bringing waspish wit and expert comic timing to the stage...The ensemble cast also has finely calibrated contributions.” Full Review

Entertainment Weekly

"Both a lovingly preserved time capsule and a sometimes stark distillation of what has and hasn’t changed since its debut. His script is still funny and cutting and heartbreaking...Certain facets do feel dated, but to scrub them entirely would also feel like a denial of the truths and the time the play is rooted in. And for all the pop-culture asides and wit, it’s hardly a hollow platform for banter and bitcheries; Mantello takes care to let his characters’ messier humanity come through." Full Review


"Serving both as an inspiring reminder of how far the LGBTQ community has come and also as a sobering warning of the dangers of internalized oppression...To help put on this poignant play, Murphy and Mantello have assembled a stellar, starry cast...All work remarkable well together and inhabit each role fully, as if it had been written specifically for them...Mantello keeps the action moving swiftly on stage...If there were ever a time to revisit 'The Boys in the Band,' it’s now." Full Review

Gay City News

"Aside from some judicious cutting, which compresses the play from two acts to one, the text has not been altered from the original. Mantello is bent on mining the comic potential of the material and he succeeds, though sometimes at the expense of the pathos...Yet any rough spots inherent in the 50-year-old text are, by and large, glossed over by the top-notch staging...And then there are the performances, each one more remarkable than the next." Full Review


"It’s campy and funny...It’s also an emotionally bruising evening...At times it's painful to watch, but it is definitely one party you don’t want to miss...A more universal work that examines what it means to be honest about who you are, how to love yourself and how to accept love...Mantello ends with an image of hope for a happier future, one where people accept and love one another for who they are for all the world to see. Progress, indeed." Full Review

Front Mezz Junkies

"As directed by Joe Montello, that anger flies at us in this 50th anniversary production, punching us as hard as it can, taking no prisoners in this game of telephone calls. He and this marvelously authentic cast makes us sit up and take notice of these boys, and the band they all play for...Everything about this, including the ripe and engaging performances, remind us of the 1968 time period without beating us over the head with it." Full Review

Absorbing, Delightful, Entertaining, Funny, Edgy

See it if taking a trip back in time to the "gay days" of the 1960's and experience an typical gay party and all its delicious mayhem. Ready? Good!

Don't see it if you have no personal reference, interest, or insight into the gay experience, because this play will blow your socks off - sexually speaking

Also Matt Crowley's play is so RELEVANT today 50 years after it was first p... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Great writing

See it if you want to see a groundbreaking play that is still as relevant today as it was so long ago.

Don't see it if you're homophobic.

Absorbing, Delightful, Enchanting, Entertaining, Insipid

See it if Loved it

Don't see it if Don’t go if you don’t have an open mind

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Masterful, Must see

See it if want great theater that possibly changed the world when it originally debuted.

Don't see it if are unable to appreciate a gay themed show.

Great acting, Hilarious, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if I loved this show. I loved it so much I went twice. Truly phenomenal— a masterclass on making a fantastic performance.

Don't see it if Well, it’s closed now, but if you missed it you missed out.

Absorbing, Entertaining, Masterful, Must see, Profound

See it if you're a fan of the movie, love to laugh, and want to see a show that is so relevant to today.

Don't see it if you're uncomfortable with nudity

Absorbing, Great acting, Funny, Edgy, Thought-provoking

See it if you want to see an amazing ensemble of actors that can make you laugh as they break your heart. I saw it on the last day and so glad I did.

Don't see it if I can’t think of any reason not to see this wonderful portrayal of a 1968 play still relevant today. I hope they recorded it to show later

Great acting, Hilarious, Intense, Intelligent, Entertaining

See it if you want to see some great acting - a cast full of stars - intense writing - laugh-out-loud funny but also gut punches towards the end.

Don't see it if You're not into a cast of gay men talking about gay life and don't like un-pc language. I think everyone should see it.

Entertaining, Intense, Masterful, Profound, Riveting

See it if you like being a fly on the wall, watching a friend group implode at a party. Outstanding performances from a well known cast. Shame to miss

Don't see it if that sounds like too much conflict for you or dislike gay themed shows or you want to see women on stage. All characters & actors are male.

Absorbing, Great acting, Must see, Resonant, Riveting

See it if you want to see a surprisingly still relevant and resonant classic performed flawlessly. This cast in dynamite, and the script feels fresh.

Don't see it if homosexuality makes you uncomfortable, not interested in seeing humans annihilate each other verbally, or only want happy, light fare.

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Relevant, Funny

See it if You like campy gay theme

Don't see it if You are a homophobic

Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining, Hilarious, Resonant

See it if You love the actors in the show and you want to learn more about the specific era the show takes place in.

Don't see it if I have no reasons.

Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if You want to see a top notch cast in fresh staging of an historically relevant play.

Don't see it if You are a prude.

Funny, Entertaining, Great acting, Great staging, Must see

See it if fantastic cast to play out this story. funny sad realistic of gay life at that time.

Don't see it if cant think of a reason not to unless gay themed play not your thing

Riveting, Masterful, Intelligent, Great writing, Great staging

See it if Powerful drama with Tony Awards written all over it.

Don't see it if If you can not deal with the gay topic, it is not for you.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Intense, Relevant

See it if You appreciate great acting and a show that holds it's relevance through different generations.

Don't see it if You are homophobic and don't appreciate the importance the shows message

Great acting, Hilarious, Relevant, Resonant, Absorbing

See it if you love a thought provoking play that resonates with you once you leave the theatre. Outstanding acting. Relevant story. Don’t miss it!

Don't see it if you are not fond of watching gays being themselves. Some themes and imagery may not be suitable for everyone.

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Must see, Great writing

See it if The acting is first and foremost the main reason to see this show. This ensemble is nothing short of brilliant.

Don't see it if If a play being a bit dated (this is set in the late 60s) bothers you or if you don't like stories about the LGBTQ+ community, stay away.

Extraordinary, Great acting, Hilarious, Honest, Great writing

See it if Shocking in closeted 1968, this Off-Bway play comes back to 2018 life on Bway with a stage-full of famous, gifted, out-gay talent. Go!

Don't see it if "Camp"; affection between men; depiction of the vicious gay self-hatred that preceded Stonewall & the emergence of a gay community.

Clever, Absorbing, Great acting, Must see

See it if You want to see some of the best acting and actors ever. The story of gay friends was brought to life. The stage was incredible.

Don't see it if Well you probably won’t like the show if you are homophobic.

Great acting, Epic, Thought-provoking, Must see, Masterful

See it if you are looking for an incredible story - the direction in this is on another level, and the actors are masters at the top of their game.

Don't see it if You are looking for something light and fluffy!

Great acting, Funny, Intelligent, Relevant, Resonant

See it if Written 50 years ago!?! fresh a voice as anything today, incredibly gifted cast. Joe Mantello.

Don't see it if See it and feel,

Great acting, Great writing, Relevant, Funny, Thought-provoking

See it if It's one of those shows that will stay with you. So poignant in these times, AND this cast!!!!

Don't see it if Don't see it if you are a judgmental or a bigot- your energy is not wanted.

Absorbing, Exquisite, Great acting, Great staging, Great writing

See it if Gay culture in the eighties means something to you. This play is perfect. These actors are PITCH PERFECT. It is a perfect storm of talent...

Don't see it if And timing and BRILLIANCE. Parsons leads the cast in a simply riveting and hilarious dialogue into what ugly is, and what friendship means.

Absorbing, Great acting, Profound, Masterful, Must see

See it if You like human rights stories and support LGBTQ issues. This play is a masterpiece that rings true today. Funny and thought provoking.

Don't see it if You like plays that focus on just comedy or just drama. This one goes back and forth quite a bit as they dive into important issues.

Cast & Creatives (13)