Netflix has released the first trailer for The Boys in the Band. This serves as a movie adaptation of Mart Crowley’s classic, groundbreaking play. It debuted more than 50 years ago off-Broadway and became an unexpected smash hit that put gay men’s lives center stage. Now, the tale returns to the screen in a new adaptation from producer Ryan Murphy (American Horror Story, Hollywood). The movie reunites director Joe Mantello with the all-star cast of the Tony-winning, 2018 Broadway production.
The trailer opens up with an impassioned speech from Jim Parsons as Michael as shots of the core cast of characters flash across the screen, set against the backdrop of late 1960s New York City. They are gathering together for a birthday party but, there is a twist. One of Michael’s old pals from college is visiting. However, this person has no idea that Michael is gay. Things get especially heated when the group begins to play a game that involves phoning up old lovers. It looks in line with the sort of thing we’ve come to expect from a Ryan Murphy production, with a combination of humor, drama and flair. Even though it’s a movie it carries that Broadway feel.
The cast includes Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory), Zachary Quinto (Star Trek), Matt Bomer (White Collar), Andrew Rannells (Black Monday), Charlie Carver (Teen Wolf), Robin de Jesus (Elliot Loves), Brian Hutchison (Winter’s Tale), Michael Benjamin Washington (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) and Tuc Watkins (Desperate Housewives). David Stone, Joe Mantello, Ned Martel and Alexis Martin Woodall are producing alongside Ryan Murphy. Mart Crowley and Ned Martel penned the screenplay.
The Boys in the Band takes place in New York City in 1968, when being gay was still considered to be best kept behind closed doors. It centers on a group of friends who gather for a raucous birthday party hosted by Michael, a screenwriter who spends and drinks too much, in honor of the sharp-dressed and sharp-tongued Harold. Other partygoers include Donald, Michael’s former flame, now mired in self-analysis; Larry, a randy commercial artist living with Hank, a school teacher who has just left his wife; Bernar), a librarian tiptoeing around fraught codes of friendship alongside Emory, a decorator who never holds back; and a guileless hustler, hired to be Harold’s gift for the night. What begins as an evening of drinks and laughs gets upended when Alan, Michael’s straight-laced college roommate, shows up unexpectedly and each man is challenged to confront long-buried truths that threaten the foundation of the group’s tight bond.
This is the latest Netflix project from Ryan Murphy produced for the streaming service. Murphy signed a massive $300 million deal with the streamer back in 2018. Murphy has, so far, produced The Politician and Hollywood, with Ratched, a prequel to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, on the way as well. Whether or not all of these projects, when combined, can justify that huge price tag remains to be seen. The Boys in the Band arrives September 30 on the Netflix streaming service.