ABOVE: Take it o— oh, you're already doing it.
ABOVE: Take it o— oh, you're already doing it.
Father's Day wouldn't be Father's Day without another installment of Broadway Bares, the annual burlesque event founded by the great Jerry Mitchell to raise cash for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
Joe Beauregard at left
Even though I'm old enough to be the dad of a large percentage of the dancers, I suppose I can look at them as “zaddies,” or just use the millennial “dad” for anyone hot, regardless of whether they're 18 or 80. (They're usually not 80.)
This year's show, Broadway Bares: Game Night, riffed on a theme of classic games — sometimes board (Clue, Battleship), never boring — on its way to raising a whopping $1,875,090 at two standing-room-only performances at the Hammerstein Ballroom. The event was all fun and games, but left out the childhood favorite Risk in favor of encouraging audience members to instead play it safe sexually.
Less a game of chance than a game of dance, Game Night was packed with players, strokes of luck, and oodles of team effort.
It all paid off with a series of performances as successful artistically as they were financially — and all for a good cause ...
Lee Pace, notoriously private but famously glass-closeted, came out definitively after being asked in W Magazine the perfectly appropriate question of whether he is gay. At the time, he was set to appear in Angels in America, and had said he felt it was important for the gay roles to be played by as many gay actors as possible, so the question was contextually sound — yet it surprised him, and in coming out, he came off as defensive.
Now, he's opening up further in The New York Times, saying:
Above: The eventual unveiling is going to be a pretty picture. Follow here.
Below: Insecure hotness, the shirtless Poldark hunk, Vienna readying itself for Patti LaBelle, anti-gay Pogo claims he was just joshing' around and is really bicurious (but also loves right-wing nuts), Trump digs in on Samantha Bee, and more ...
Many things have been written about The Boys in the Band, Mart Crowley's acidic, unsparing look at the jousting within a circle of gay friends attending a 32nd birthday party, and opinions have swung widely from “groundbreaking” to “retrograde.” Some of the gay men old enough to be activists when it bowed treated it like anti-gay propaganda, while some younger gay men simply find it depressing, filled with too many low blows and angst.
Is this what my life will be like?
Even now, as the show opens for the first time on Broadway — 50 years after its premiere Off-Broadway at Theater Four on April 14, 1968 — the positive pre-press it has received is filled with arguments about how it's a period piece that represents the way we were, not the way we are, as writers attempt to persuade still younger gay audiences it is a play that's probably worth seeing as a historical marker if the production is on point.
I think those writers are getting it wrong; The Boys in the Band is not a great play that is of another era, some time-capsule peek at the bad old days and bad old gays, but a great play, period. It was and remains an unflinching look at the unique ways in which many gay men, coached our whole lives by society, pick at each other's emotional scabs, wearing each other down to lift ourselves up.
As Vito Russo once wrote, the play, which came out at a time when most gay representations in the theater and all gay representations on film were dismissive or pathological, is negative, but fair. It's easy to tell it was written by a gay man who understood that testosterone spiked with lavender is still testosterone. Gay men who are friends will not hesitate to be competitive, to be jealous, to attempt to take each other down a notch, to hand off their earrings ahead of a rumble.
To the play's great credit, it presents drama-filled gay relationships not as the by-products of abomination, but as the by-products of social pressure not to be gay in the first place. The self-loathing is accepted by the play, but only in the context of the story at hand, and even then, the play's central figure expresses hope that things will improve in the future as he darkly jokes about the only happy homosexual being “a gay corpse.”
Yes, things have improved in the past 50 years, but whether or not you're familiar with the play, you'll be surprised — as you, hopefully, watch the Broadway revival that officially opened at the Booth Theatre tonight — by just how timely and relevant it still is.
I would argue that The Boys in the Band is not a crystal ball, and this is no seance; rather, the play is a mirror, so make sure your hair looks good ...
It took The Boys in the Band 50 years to get to Broadway, and it took me nearly as long to get into the pre-opening after-party ... but I did.
I impulsively bought one of the last tickets for Wednesday's 7 p.m. performance (I had already seen the first preview April 30), scoring one with an empty seat on one side of me and two empty seats on the other. (There were only seven empty seats in the house; not surprising since the show's official opening night is tonight, which is probably the night fans targeted, thinking it would be the star-studded choice.)