The Boys in the Band won the award for best revival of a play at the 2019 Tony Awards on Sunday night.
The revival production premiered last year, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Mart Crowley’s groundbreaking play, which premiered off-Broadway in 1968. The show depicts a group of gay male friends getting together for a birthday party, predating the Stonewall riots in 1969.
Crowley accepted the prize, alongside producer David Stone, and dedicated it to the original cast.
“I’d like to dedicate the award to the original cast of nine brave men, who did not listen to their agents when they were told that their careers would be finished if they did this play,” Crowley said. “They did it, and here I am.”
Television writer-producer Ryan Murphy in 2016 optioned the revival of the play, which then cast Jim Parsons as the central figure, alongside an ensemble featuring Zachary Quinto, Matt Bomer, Andrew Rannells, Charlie Carver, Robin de Jesus, Brian Hutchison, Michael Benjamin Washington and Tuc Watkins.
Director Joe Mantello reinvigorated the play with “an acute understanding” of the wounds intolerance inflicts, wrote The Hollywood Reporter critic David Rooney in his review.
“In the 1980s, the gay community’s anguished response to the AIDS crisis made the insular hedonism of Crowley’s characters seem trivial. But in the post-equality era, the play stands as a compelling portrayal of internecine savagery bred by the stigma of isolation and oppression, by turns bitingly funny and moving,” Rooney wrote.
In April, Murphy announced that he will reunite the cast of the revival for a second film adaptation of the play for Netflix, due in 2020. Mantello will return to direct the movie, and Murphy will produce alongside Stone and Ned Martel. The play was first adapted in 1970 under the direction of William Friedkin.
Also nominated in the category were Arthur Miller’s All My Sons, Lanford Wilson’s Burn This, Kenneth Lonergan’s The Waverly Gallery and Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song.
James Corden hosted the Tonys, which aired live from New York’s Radio City Music Hall.