Actors sought for local production of ‘The Boys in the Band’

Nine actors are sought for a local production of the iconic LGBTI themed play The Boys in the Band. 

The Graduate Dramatic Society (GRADS) is putting on a production of Mart Cowley’s groundbreaking play to coincide with this year’s PrideFEST. The production is to be directed by award winning director Barry Park with proposed production dates from 4th to 14th November 2020.

The Boys in the Band which is recognised for its groundbreaking depictions of male homosexuality. Described as a game changer the play, which debuted off-Broadway in 1968, depicts the social lives of a group of gay men who gather for a friend’s birthday.

Premiering in the pre-Stonewall era, the play was controversial when first staged but has gone on to be performed regularly around the globe. Originally the play was only scheduled for five performances but it went on to play over 1,000 shows in its initial run with the Stonewall riots fueling discussion about homosexuality. The play had a successful revival for its 40th anniversary in 2014 with a Broadway production that included  Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto and Andrew Rannells. The production won the 2019 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play.

Later this year a film version featuring that cast, and directed by Ryan Murphy, will premiere on Netflix.

The auditions for this new local production will be held 25th or 26th July 2020 at BDA, Level 2, 369 Newcastle Street in Northbridge and if you think you’ve got the right talent to take on a part you can book a spot online for either the Saturday or Sunday auditions.

If you’d like to audition for a role prepare a short, contemporary monologue in an American accent or read an extract from the play. Queries can be directed to the show’s Production Manager, Dean McAskil.

Rehearsals will on Monday and Thursday evenings, Saturday afternoons, commencing Monday 31st August 2020 and prospective actors should note that this is unpaid community theatre.


(stage age thirties but older actors will also be considered)

The play takes place at Michael’s apartment. Michael is a lapsed Catholic alcoholic who is undergoing psychoanalysis. He is a smartly groomed writer who has sold a screenplay that was never produced. For the most part, he travels the world, running up bills and getting other people to pay them. He is aging, losing his hair (a fact that is commented on several times throughout the play), and seeing a therapist to help him deal with the self-hatred that he feels about his lifestyle. He is well versed in cinema history and has a movie reference for just about every occasion. Early on, he explains to Donald that he has quit drinking and smoking because he is unable to “get through that morning-after ick attack” when he realizes the things that he has said and done the night before while drinking. Later, after the hostility between Emory and Alan subsides, Michael starts drinking again. His behaviour becomes increasingly bizarre and offensive. He eventually makes up a “party game” that is meant to humiliate all of the guests. In the end, in a reversal of the first scene, Michael leaves his own apartment, intending to go over to midnight mass at the Catholic church.

(stage age thirties but older actors will also be considered)

Donald, who has wholesome American good looks, does not really know the other party guests well. He is a conflicted friend of Michael’s who has moved far from the city to spurn the gay lifestyle. He lives in a rented room in the Hamptons, where he has worked scrubbing floors since he dropped out of college. Donald comes to town on Saturday nights to see his psychiatrist, and then he stays at Michael’s apartment.

(stage age thirties but older actors will also be considered)

Emory is the joker of the group and the most flamboyantly gay. He is always referring to himself and to the others as “girls” or “Mary.” He is the one who made most of the food for the party. It is his light, whimsical, girlish attitude that infuriates Alan, leading him to punch Emory at the end of the first act. During the game at the end of the play, Emory chooses to phone Delbert Botts, an older boy whom he had a crush on in junior high school and high school. Emory once embarrassed himself, begging Delbert to be his friend and buying him an expensive present, only to find out at the senior prom that Delbert had been laughing about him to others and was engaged to be married.

(stage age thirties but older actors will also be considered)

Solid, athletic Hank left his wife and two children to live with Larry. He is a schoolteacher. Alan, noticing the wedding ring on Hank’s hand, feels close to him, raising the possibility that Alan’s attraction is not erotic but is because he identifies with Hank as the only other heterosexual in the room. In act 2, when Alan is feeling sick, Hank stays with him offstage. At the end of the play, when it is his time to phone the person that he loves most, Hank phones Larry, even though he knows that Larry has a difficult time committing himself to just one man.

(stage age thirties but older actors will also be considered)

Handsome Larry is a commercial artist. He has had an affair with Donald in the past, although it was impersonal: they had sex but never even learned each other’s names. As Larry explains it, “We haven’t exactly met, but we’ve… Seen… each other before.” Although he lives with Hank, Larry is reluctant to commit to a monogamous relationship, feeling that such a thing is unrealistic.

(stage age thirties but older actors will also be considered)

Bernard is an African American who still pines for the wealthy white boy of the house where his mother was a maid. He has a small part in the play until the end when Michael initiates the Affairs of the Heart game. Encouraged to phone someone he loves and tell him that he loves him, Bernard chooses to phone Peter Dahlbeck, the son in the household where his mother worked as a domestic. Once, when they were drunk, Peter and Bernard were intimate with each other in the pool house, but they never spoke of it again. When Peter’s mother answers and says that he is off on a date, Bernard spends the rest of the play angry at himself for having been so stupid as to have phoned. He is nice-looking and dressed in Ivy-League clothes.

(stage age thirties but older actors will also be considered)

Alan is an aristocratic old college roommate of Michael’s. Alan did not know that Michael was gay when they were in college, so Michael tries to keep it from him. Throughout the play there are several strong hints that Alan has homosexual feelings that he is trying to suppress. Alan is crying when he phones, asking to come over. Michael is afraid that Alan will find out that he is gay, a secret that is lost when Alan enters the apartment to find all of the men dancing together. Alan bonds with Hank after noticing the wedding ring on his finger and stays around him during much of the play, telling Michael when they are alone, “That Hank is really a very attractive fellow.” Alan claims to be straight but becomes a little too emotional when his manhood is threatened and who is strangely reluctant to leave each time he says he is going. After a few drinks, Alan becomes enraged at Emory and lunges at him, threatening to kill the “little mincing swish,” the “freak.” Late in the second act, Michael insists that Alan call Justin Stuart, a man who had a gay affair with Alan in college. It seems that he is acknowledging his homosexuality when he phones and says “I love you,” but when Michael takes the phone, he finds out that Alan has called his wife and committed himself to his heterosexual relationship.

(stage age twenties but older actors will also be considered)

The Cowboy is a handsome, well built young man, a male prostitute dressed in a cowboy outfit, hired for twenty dollars to sing “Happy Birthday” to Harold and spend the night with him. Unfortunately, he shows up early, before Harold arrives. He wants to get home early and get to bed because he hurt his heel while doing chinups. Throughout the play, he asks naive questions, unable to keep up with the witty banter of the rest of the group. He leaves with Harold in the end.

(stage age thirties but older actors will also be considered)

It is Harold’s birthday, and he is the last character to arrive, at the very end of the first act. He is a former ice skater, morose at losing his youthful good looks. Harold copes with the depression and self-loathing that he feels by taking drugs: when he arrives, Michael mentions his being late and high on marijuana, and he explains, bitterly, “What I am, Michael, is a thirty-two year old, ugly, pock-marked Jew fairy.” Later, commenting on the issue of beauty, he mentions his soul and notes, “if I could, I’d sell it in a flash for some skin-deep, transitory, meaningless beauty.” Michael announces to the group that Harold is hoarding depressant drugs so that he can commit suicide before becoming old, a claim Harold does not deny. The Cowboy, who is beautiful and almost completely devoid of any intellect whatsoever, is attractive to Harold.

More about Director Barry Park

Barry is an experienced director and actor whose productions have achieved considerable success. He recently won the Finley’s Director Award for his Playlover’s production of August: Osage County, which also won Robert Finley Best Play Award and several others. His production of Present Laughter was also ranked in the Top Ten Plays at the Awards, won the Best Costumes Award and was nominated for several others.

His production of A View from the Bridge for GRADS, also nominated for four Finley Awards, was Runner-up Best Play. His production of Other Desert Cities for Playlovers, nominated for six Finley Awards, won the Technical Achievement Award. His production of Design for Living for The Old Mill Theatre won the Best Set in a Play Award. His GRADS production of David Henry Hwang’s M. Butterfly won the Finley Director Award, Best Play Award and several other awards.

Park’s GRADS productions of The Real Thing, Broken Glass and All My Sons were all nominated for several Finley awards and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof won several Finley awards. Overseas, his productions of Death of a Salesman, The Golden Masque of Agamemnon and The Life and Death of Almost Everybody won several National Theatre awards. Among other shows Barry has directed are: Agnes of God, Songs from the Shows, Snoopy! The Musical, The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man in the Moon Marigolds, Blythe Spirit, On Monday Next, The Fantastiks and Lord of the Flies.

More about author Mart Cowley

Mart Crowley was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi and educated at The Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. After graduation from the drama department he went to New York to pursue a career in the theatre and landed jobs as production assistant to the directors Sidney Lumet and Elia Kazan.

His first play, the groundbreaking The Boys in the Band, opened Off-Broadway on April 14, 1968 to rave reviews. He wrote the screenplay and produced the film version, directed by Academy Award winner William Friedkin.

The 2011 documentary, Making the Boys, explores the genesis of the play and film. Crowley’s other produced plays are Remote Asylum (1970); A Breeze from the Gulf (1973), which earned a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle nomination for Best Play; Avec Schmaltz (1984), written for the Williamstown Theatre Festival; For Reasons That Remain Unclear (1993), a pre-scandal effort to investigate sexual abuse in the Catholic Church; and The Men from the Boys (2002), a sequel to The Boys in the Band.

From 1979 through 1984 Crowley was the producer/co-writer of the ABC TV series Hart to Hart. He also wrote several television movies and mini-series. In addition, he is the co-author of the children’s book, Kay Thompson’s Eloise Takes a Bawth, published by Simon & Schuster (2002). He is the winner of the 2009 Lambda Literary Award for The Collected Plays of Mart Crowley. He lived in Manhattan and died earlier this year.

OIP Staff

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