'The Boys in the Band' Turns a Profit on Broadway

Joan Marcus
From left: Robin de Jesus, Michael Benjamin Washington, Andrew Rannells and Jim Parsons in 'The Boys in the Band'

Mart Crowley's landmark play about gay New Yorkers, headlined by Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, Matt Bomer and Andrew Rannells, gives the 2018-19 theater season a strong commercial start.

The first production of the 2018-19 Broadway season is also the first production to recoup its capitalization, moving into profit just 11 weeks into the limited run.

Producers David Stone, Scott Rudin, Patrick Catullo, Aaron Glick and Ryan Murphy on Monday announced that the $3.5 million revival of The Boys in the Band — the first-ever Broadway presentation of Mart Crowley's landmark 1968 comedy-drama about pre-Stonewall gay New Yorkers — is now firmly in the black, with four weeks remaining.

Directed by Joe Mantello, the well-reviewed 50th-anniversary production began previews April 30 at the Booth Theatre and officially opened May 31, playing to sell-out business ever since. The play has grossed $10.8 million to date in an intimate house with seating capacity of just 766.

Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, Matt Bomer and Andrew Rannells head an ensemble cast made up entirely of out gay actors, which also features Charlie Carver, Robin de Jesus, Brian Hutchison, Michael Benjamin Washington and Tuc Watkins.

Set in a swanky Manhattan apartment over the course of one rocky evening, the play follows a birthday gathering of gay male friends that turns sour when the host falls off the wagon and starts goading his supposedly straight college buddy, who turns up uninvited.

Examining both the self-loathing and the innate survivalist resilience of an outsider community in a time before gay rights, The Boys in the Band broke new ground in its depiction of gay men's lives onstage. Mantello's punchy production makes a strong case for the divisive work as a nonjudgmental snapshot of an oppressed minority finding comfort in community, albeit not without wounds being inflicted.

The production arrives on Broadway in the midst of a wave of important plays about gay men's struggles. It follows the 2018 Tony-winning revival of Tony Kushner's Angels in America and precedes the return of Harvey Fierstein's Torch Song in October and Moonlight Oscar winner Tarell Alvin McCraney's Choir Boy next spring.

The Boys in the Band will play its final performance at the Booth Theatre Aug. 11.