Powerhouse Ensemble Cast Leads Revival to Victory
On May 31, 2018, The Boys in the Band had its opening night at Broadway’s Booth Theatre, where it had been running in previews since April 30, 2018. This is the Broadway premiere of Mart Crowley’s 1968 play, which debuted Off-Broadway and was made into a 1970 feature film, which earned Kenneth Nelson a Golden Globe nomination for New Star of the Year for his performance as Michael. This production, which is directed by Joe Mantello (Three Tall Women, An Act of God, Blackbird, The Humans, Airline Highway, The Last Ship, Casa Valentina), stars Jim Parsons as Michael, amongst an all-star gay ensemble cast. Jim Parsons has previously been on Broadway in The Normal Heart, starring opposite Joe Mantello in an acting role, as well as An Act of God, which was directed by Mantello, and Harvey. He is also well-known for his film and television roles, including the TV show “The Big Bang Theory.” The other actors in the cast include Zachary Quinto (The Glass Menagerie), Andrew Rannells (The Book of Mormon, Falsettos, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, “Girls”), Matt Bomer (“The Normal Heart” on HBO), Charlie Carver (“Desperate Housewives,” “The Leftovers”), Brian Hutchison (Man and Boy, Looped), Robin De Jesús (Rent, La Cage aux Folles), Michael Benjamin Washington (La Cage aux Folles, Mamma Mia!), and Tuc Watkins (“Desperate Housewives”). Upon the show’s opening night, it received a combination of positive and mixed reviews, but this show is nevertheless apparently unstoppable at the box office.
Upon the show’s opening night, it earned an array of reviews, some positive, and some more on the fence. Ben Brantley from The New York Times, who is arguably the most influential theatre critic in New York, was more on the fence, calling the revival “starry but disconnected.” He compliments the cast – and particularly applauds Robin De Jesús – saying that “they’re never better than when the boys are happily at play, dancing and camping and exchanging choice put-downs.” However, he goes on to state that “because they’re so endlessly, openly analytical, there’s no subtext for the actors to play, which means the big “reveals” aren’t all that revealing.” Marilyn Stasio from Variety was more laudatory, praising the “superbly mounted 50th anniversary production,” and complimenting “Jim Parsons’ endearing performance as the heart and soul of the play’s rambunctious birthday gathering.” Roma Torre from NY1 also loved the piece, complimenting “Joe Mantello’s gripping direction,” and stating that “it’s so well directed and performed, any dramatic flaws are easily overlooked.” David Rooney from The Hollywood Reporter loved the “landmark comic drama” and “high-caliber cast of out gay actors,” stating that “in the post-equality era, the play stands as a compelling portrayal of internecine savagery bred by the stigma of isolation and oppression, by turns bitingly funny and moving.” Still, Adam Feldman from Time Out New York was more on the fence as well, calling the revival “keen-edged and engrossing,” and enjoying how it “moves beyond the gay past and stares the present straight in the face.”
Still, any mixed to negative comment in the reviews are apparently being disregarded by the avid fans clamoring for tickets to The Boys in the Band. In the four weeks of reported box office figures thus far, the show has brought in an astounding average 105.84% of its gross potential. With a top ticket price of $360.25, the average paid admission has been $163.97, and the audience was filled up to 99.72% on average. The weekly gross has been over $1 million in every full week of eight performances, with the most recently reported, the week ending May 27, 2018, bringing in $1,002,550. As these numbers show, this cast is box office candy. The show is scheduled to run until August 11, 2018.