Talkin' 'Boys'

WATCH: Director Joe Mantello on the controversial legacy of ‘The Boys in the Band’

Director of Photography Bill Pope and director Joe Mantello.
Cr. Scott Everett White/NETFLIX ©2020

Joe Mantello keeps it classy.

Trust us, you know his work. As a director, Mantello has overseen the success of iconic Broadway shows including Wicked, Assassins, The Normal Heart and Love! Valor! Compassion! As an actor, the man has earned equal acclaim as an original cast member of Angels in America, on stage in The Glass Menagerie, and recently, in the Netflix series Hollywood.

Now Mantello brings one of his most successful outings to the mainstream. In 2018, he directed a Broadway revival of Mart Crowley’s seminal play, The Boys in the Band. The show won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play. Mantello reprises his directorial duties for the new film version, which arrives on Netflix September 30. He also retained the same cast of the stage version–all of them gay men.

Since its off-Broadway debut in 1968, The Boys in the Band has ignited a fierce debate over its story of a group of gay men clashing at an all-night party. While some critics and audiences have hailed it as a landmark, affirming play about gay male culture, others have attacked it as a work of self-loathing and homophobia.

We snagged some time with Mantello to chat about the play, writer Crowley’s revisions to the script for the 2018 stage version and subsequent film, and the ongoing discussion of how the story portrays its characters. The Boys in the Band comes to Netflix September 30.




Video Editor: David Beerman