Mart Crowley, who helped spawn the "gay play" genre with his ground-breaking The Boys in the Band, recreates the "boys" thirty years later in his sequel, The Men From the Boys, playing San Francisco's New Conservatory Theatre Center Oct. 16-Dec. 8. New Conservatory Theatre's founding artistic director Ed Decker helms the world premiere, opening Nov. 9.
Set in the same duplex in New York City's East 50's, The Men From the Boys finds the original boys, including butch schoolteacher Larry, self-deprecating, sarcastic Harold and effeminate Emory in the age of AIDS, homosexual marriages and younger, prettier men.
In a released statement, Crowley said, "It has been suggested to me that I write a sequel to The Boys in the Band ever since it was a success, but I always declined, saying not enough time had passed for me to know what had happened to the characters...It was only after time changed the world, changed me (or, for better or worse, I stayed the same in some ways), changed my friends (or they stayed the same) or I lost many of them to AIDS and other tragedies, that I began to think I knew something of what life had in store for them. "
The original The Boys in the Band is sometimes passed off as too dated for its picture of bitter, bitchy homosexuals (one of its famous lines is ""Show me a happy homosexual and I'll show you a gay corpse"), but it is also a snapshot of homosexual life before gay rights had grown militant or gained any acceptance. The Men From the Boys is Crowley's first play since 1984's Avec Schmaltz, penned for the Williamstown Theatre Festival. His other works include Remote Asylum, A Breeze From the Gulf and For Reasons that Remain Unclear.
Michael Patrick Gaffney ("Clouds") is Emory with Will Huddleston as Harold and Andrew Nance as Larry. Also in the cast are Russ Duffy (Michael), Peter Carlstrom (Donald), Lewis Sims (Bernard), Rajiv Shah (Rick), Owen Thomas (Jason), Olen Christian Holm (Scott) and Terry Lamb (Hank). Larry Grossman, a Tony nominee for A Doll's Life and Grind, composed the original score. Grossman also composed for Minnie's Boys, Goodtime Charley, Snoopy, the Musical and the upcoming Tom Jones (with James Goldman, marked for production in 2003) and The Chairman of N.I.C.E. with Michael Korie.
The New Conservatory Theatre Center is located at 25 Van Ness Avenue near Market Street. For tickets, call (415) 861-8972. The New Conservatory Theatre Center is on the web at http://www.nctcsf.org.
— By Christine Ehren