1. bookVolume 21 (2021): Issue 2 (December 2021)
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
2067-5712
First Published
30 Aug 2019
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
Languages
English
access type Open Access

A Gay New York City in Mart Crowley’s “The Boys in the Band”

Published Online: 10 Apr 2022
Volume & Issue: Volume 21 (2021) - Issue 2 (December 2021)
Page range: 26 - 52
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
2067-5712
First Published
30 Aug 2019
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
Languages
English
Abstract

“The Boys in the Band,” a play by American playwright Mart Crowley (1935-2020), represents a milestone in the representation of urban gay men in theater. By exploring on stage the lives of a group of male gay friends in the late 1960s, Crowley challenged social and dramaturgical norms and conventions. As an integral part of the narrative, New York City, specifically Manhattan Island, makes itself present in the text through direct and indirect references, whether on the level of plot, character construction, or the setting of the play itself. As a paradigmatic play in a moment of special prominence of the Gay Movement in the United States, soon after its premiere in 1968 and before the release of its first film adaptation, “The Boys in the Band” came to be seen differently by critics and activists under the influence of a historical event that also occurred in Manhattan, the Stonewall Riots. This article explores the various instances in which the play, especially in its first Off-Broadway staging, represents not only a gay New York City, but also how this same place made possible the existence of this story and these characters.

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