The Boys in the Band April 1968: playwright-performer David Drake revisits Mart Crowley's acid drama, the first play to smash the closet right onstage. (Bold beginnings).
Rarely does a play become a lightning rod for public discourse. But in April 1968 it happened in New York City New York City: see New York, city.
New York City
City (pop., 2000: 8,008,278), southeastern New York, at the mouth of the Hudson River. The largest city in the U.S. when a first-night crowd encountered The Boys in the Band. Suddenly, a piece of theater became a yardstick against which gay men measured themselves. While the American psyche grappled daily with Vietnam, race riots, and the psychosexual psychosexual /psy·cho·sex·u·al/ (-sek´shoo-al) pertaining to the mental or emotional aspects of sex.
Of or relating to the mental and emotional aspects of sexuality. shattering spurred by the free love movement, Mart Crowley's depiction of eight homosexual men at a Manhattan birthday-cum-cocktail party--men snarling with cynicism, snapping with pessimism, and limping from the wounds of unrequited love--was more than a sign of the times A Sign of the Times was a 1966 single by Petula Clark. Written by Tony Hatch, the uptempo pop number juxtaposed Clark's driving vocals with a powerful brass section. She introduced the tune on the Ed Sullivan Show on February 27, 1966. . It was the mainstream culture's first peek into that great societal container: the closet. Fourteen months later the same gnarled rage that was electrifying e·lec·tri·fy
tr.v. e·lec·tri·fied, e·lec·tri·fy·ing, e·lec·tri·fies
1. To produce electric charge on or in (a conductor).
a. audiences in Crowley's show would find its way to the streets, erupting in real life as patrons at the Stonewall Inn burst through the confines of the closet forever on June 27, 1969.
When I starred in the 1996 off-Broadway revival of Boys, public discourse resumed: How far had we come? Although the play's Nehru jackets and blaring Supremes soundtrack were obviously relics of the past, it remained clear that the trauma of the closet--with its power to contain or release an individual--is still very much with us.
Drake is currently appearing in his new solo show, Son of Drakula, at New York's Dance Theater Workshop Dance Theater Workshop is a New York City performance space and service organization for dance companies. Located on West 19th Street in the Chelsea section of Manhattan, DTW was founded in 1965 by Jeff Duncan, Art Bauman and Jack Moore as a choreographers' collective. .