The Boys in the Band-Mart Crowley's trenchant comedy about the gay community, circa 1968-is revived at Murfreesboro's Out Front on Main Inc. as part of the celebration of Pride Month in the university town, running June 7-17 at the theater, located at 1511 E. Main Street.
D. Richard Browder directs-and does double-duty, playing Bernard-the play which is presented Thursday through Sunday evenings, with a 7:30 p.m. curtain nightly. Tickets are $10 general admission and $5 for students and seniors.
Crowley's first play, The Boys in the Band, is considered a groundbreaking work in American theater, "the first truly honest portrayal of the lives of contemporary homosexuals." It opened in New York on April 14, 1968, at the off-Broadway Theater Four and ran for 1,002 performances before being adapted to film.
At a time when gay characters were seldom seen in commercial media except as crude stereotypes, this play presented a well-rounded view of what critics of the day referred to as ''the homosexual milieu.'' Taking place in an apartment in New York's posh Upper East Side, the action concerns nine acquaintances who gather for the birthday of one of their friends.
The group includes Michael (Thomas Prunier), a lapsed Roman Catholic alcoholic who is undergoing psychoanalysis; Donald (Blair Thompson), a conflicted friend who has moved far from the city to spurn the homosexual lifestyle; Harold (Peter Depp), who is turning thirty and is morose about losing his youthful looks; Bernard (BroadwayWorld Tennessee best featured actor D. Richard Browder), an African American who still pines for the wealthy white boy of the house where his mother was a maid; Emory (BroadwayWorld Tennessee best actor George W. Manus Jr.), who revels in his homosexuality in his effeminate flamboyance; and Larry and Hank (Asa Ambrister and Ryan Vogel), a couple that live together despite the fact that they do not agree on the issue of monogamy.
Joining them are a male prostitute (Zach Parker) who has been hired as a ''present'' for Harold's birthday and Alan (Patrick Goedicke), an old college friend of Michael's, who claims to be straight but who becomes a little too emotional when his manhood is threatened and who is strangely reluctant to leave each time he says he is going. Modern audiences may find these character types overly familiar, in part due to the success of The Boys in the Band, which has bred countless imitations.
The Men From The Boys-Crowley's 2003 sequel to The Boys in the Band-which follows the story of the characters some 30 years after the first play, will be presented as a staged reading by The First Night Honors in Nashville on August 26.
For further information and for reservations, call (615) 869-8617 or go to www.outfrontonmain.com.