Closed 1h 50m
The Boys in the Band (Broadway)
Midtown W
88

The Boys in the Band (Broadway) NYC Reviews and Tickets

88%
(500 Reviews)
Positive
97%
Mixed
3%
Negative
0%
Members say
Great acting, Funny, Absorbing, Entertaining, Thought-provoking

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.

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Member Reviews (500)

67
Dated, Funny, Overrated

See it if u can relate to (or bear) a party of self-loathing gay men in the 60s trading barbs & witty banter until it gets too personal & drama ensues

Don't see it if you expect to feel the urgency, bleakness, shock or emotional impact that the original production must have evoked in its day. Read more

91
Great acting, Great writing, Entertaining, Masterful, Exquisite

See it if you want top-notch Quinto along with great performances by Parsons, Rannells, deJesus and the rest of the cast in a defining play.

Don't see it if you don't mind missing a well-written play finally brought to Broadway with a remarkable cast delivering reality in a quite-intimate set.

Critic Reviews (43)

May 31st, 2018

"A starry but disconnected revival...I wish I could report that this charismatic and capable team transported me vividly and uncompromisingly into the dark ages of homosexual life in these United States, and that I shuddered and sobbed in sympathy. But...the show left me largely impatient and unmoved...There is one superlative performance, however, that provides the show with its most genuinely moving moments. That comes from Mr. de Jesús."
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May 31st, 2018

"It has mostly aged well: It has resonance and snap. While the star casting is not completely effective—Quinto is too knowingly attractive to play Harold, and Bomer’s marble-god physique seems wrong for the bookish Donald—the cast meshes convincingly, and there are many fine, small moments...At its most effective, Mantello’s 'The Boys in the Band' moves beyond the gay past and stares the present straight in the face. We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the mirror."
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May 31st, 2018

"A strange, somewhat removed experience...There are surely things to be enthusiastic about in Joe Mantello’s glitzy, solidly acted revival...Given that there’s something still alive, and still painful, at the heart of 'The Boys in the Band,' how does one explain the museum-piecey-ness that still overwhelms this production?...The whole thing feels like a carefully packaged luxury item, from the casting to the necessarily limited run."
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May 31st, 2018

"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."
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May 31st, 2018

"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."
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May 31st, 2018

"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."
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June 4th, 2018

"There isn’t much to like about this emotionally evasive revival, which disserves Mr. Crowley’s beautifully, fearlessly wrought play in so many ways that I went home not merely disappointed but angry...The result is a staging that is too funny, one that gets its laughs at the expense of the raw, heartfelt anguish that is the whole point of the play. I have a feeling, though, that Mr. Mantello is at least as much to blame for this problem as are the actors themselves—maybe even more so."
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June 1st, 2018

"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."
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May 31st, 2018

"A play that for all its imperfections throws a party at the Booth Theatre that shouldn’t be missed...Bernard, even as well performed as he is here, shows the play’s not inconsiderable seams...Those are imperfections that the best direction and most appealing performers can’t hide. They lock 'The Boys in the Band' just outside the major works of its era, even if they can’t keep us away from the party."
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May 31st, 2018

"You’ll laugh heartily at the juicy zingers in the starry, streamlined revival. And then you’ll wonder why that’s all you’re doing. Where, oh where did the bleakness go in Crowley’s scathing portrait of gay men baring their souls at the most emotionally scarring Manhattan birthday party of the ’60s?...Dispiritingly one-note...An effort to upgrade the accessibility of the story for a modern Broadway audience. But comfort is not the amenity that 'The Boys in the Band' was built to provide."
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May 31st, 2018

"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."
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May 31st, 2018

"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."
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May 31st, 2018

"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."
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May 31st, 2018

"A powerful production...The plotting can seem forced as the central conflict involves the arrival of a bigoted straight character who may or may not be gay himself. But it’s so well directed and performed, any dramatic flaws are easily overlooked...'The Boys In The Band' may strike some contrived notes and of course it’s dated to an extent, but I see it as a fascinating time capsule that continues to resonate in most entertaining fashion."
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May 31st, 2018

"Director Joe Mantello excels at illuminating the subtle group dynamics of a party, in which stolen glances and stealthy exits are as significant as the dialogue. He doesn't neglect Crowley's language, though, which sounds as crisp as ever in the mouths of this excellent cast...'The Boys in the Band' finds its greatest resonance in its shrewd depiction of less spectacular dysfunction."
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June 1st, 2018

"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."
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May 31st, 2018

"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.'"
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May 31st, 2018

"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."
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May 31st, 2018

"The play remains compelling viewing, for its wit and its pathos and especially as a slice of historical anthropology. But there’s just no good reason, and there’s never been a good reason, why the miserable men in Michael’s living room don’t simply get up and leave. It’s the unavoidable flaw in this unavoidable work. Director Joe Mantello hasn’t solved that problem. But he’s otherwise given us as fine a version of 'Boys' as we’re likely to get."
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June 3rd, 2018

"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."
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May 31st, 2018

"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."
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June 5th, 2018

“Not a great play...However, it remains a funny/sad group character portrait that deserves its own 50th Birthday party to honor its trailblazing status....The actors make the zingers still work...While Parsons is both the major character and star name, it's the ensemble that's this production's true heart and soul...An all too timely reminder that GLBT community's hard-won rights demand continued activism in the face of current Blue State hostility to those rights.”
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May 31st, 2018

"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."
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May 31st, 2018

"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."
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May 31st, 2018

"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)."
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May 31st, 2018

"'The Boys in the Band' is debuting on Broadway with an all-gay cast of A-list actors who make the play pop. The show is often fun, funny and inviting...Does the play traffic in stereotypes and depict characters who are self-loathing, as it’s long been accused of doing? Well, yes, especially in the second half. Yet, at the same time, helped by the alchemy of Joe Mantello’s smart direction and a stellar cast, the play can still feel daring, and its characters delightfully defiant."
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May 31st, 2018

"A starry, glossy and occasionally glib production...Provides an opportunity to see how far a culture has advanced and how far it hasn’t...If the actors don’t show their age, the play does. It’s still funny – rich in off-color bon mots – and still genuinely uncomfortable...When it works best, it’s hilarious and vicious, like the subtext of 'Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf' had split for New York City and decided to throw its own shindig. But the structure is increasingly schematic."
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May 31st, 2018

"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."
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May 31st, 2018

"'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."
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July 8th, 2018

"Directed with characteristic aplomb by Mantello...Parsons stars as Michael, giving his finest, most nuanced stage performance yet...Missing in this production, though, is the subtext of fear and persecution that undergirds Crowley’s text. It is not fatal, but noticeable, as modern sensibilities pervade the production, producing an air of disconnection the source of which I could not put my finger on, but no doubt felt. Despite this observation, the play remains joltingly funny and sad."
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May 31st, 2018

"In Joe Mantello’s brilliant and sometimes puzzling staging at the Booth Theatre, featuring many well-known gay faces, the vibe couldn’t be more different from the infamous 1970 movie...Here’s a suggestion for this revival: why not treat 'The Boys in the Band' in the context in which it was written, at the time it was written?...Mantello and the cast have done a wonderful, respectful, and intelligent job bringing it back."
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May 31st, 2018

"Witnessing a rising class of out A-listers sink their teeth into the self-loathing, shame, and desire that have coursed through generations of gay identity is a truly transcendent experience — even if it doesn’t quite tear up old scars...Brightened by its attractive stars, the production couches Crowley’s snappy dialogue in a self-consciously retro light, making for easy consumption, while often resisting the play’s darkest recesses."
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June 1st, 2018

"The veneer of merriment evaporates when the birthday boy Harold finally shows up an hour late...Michael duly escalates the nastiness by forcing everyone to play a humiliating party game. He and Harold emerge as the only truly rounded characters because of the mutual intelligence underlying their antipathy...Their hopeless psychodrama lies at the heart of Joe Mantello’s tightly wound staging. And by the end, no one seems to be laughing much."
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June 4th, 2018

"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."
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May 31st, 2018

"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."
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May 31st, 2018

"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."
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June 7th, 2018

“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.”
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May 31st, 2018

"Mantello and his star cast have breathed a new life into this production...They managed to find unexpected connections between 1968 and 2018...The first two thirds is a hilarious comedy...But in the final third, comments turn from petty to pointed, to prejudiced, to painful...The play becomes startling, feeling unresolved and leaving a bad taste in your mouth...'The Boys in the Band' is imperfect...A deeply significant event for the gay community and the theater community."
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May 31st, 2018

"A stellar cast under Joe Mantello’s tight direction...It’s still a flawed play, dated and inherently off-putting by 21st century standards, but if one looks beyond the now 'politically incorrect' content, the show remains a curious masterpiece, and was groundbreaking for being the first drama to show a microcosm of the gay-male subculture...Joe Mantello directs the amazing ensemble of actors beautifully, but the biggest disappointment is Jim Parsons."
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May 31st, 2018

"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."
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June 1st, 2018

"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."
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June 3rd, 2018

"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."
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June 2nd, 2018

"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."
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