The two actors, now appearing in the new revival of “The Boys in the Band,” went to the Tony Awards on June 10, where they presented the big award for new play. On the latest episode of Stagecraft, Variety‘s theater podcast, they talked about how they each got excited by brushes with big names like Tina Fey and Bruce Springsteen.
They also spoke about their latest project, a starry revival (with a cast that also includes Jim Parsons and Zachary Quinto, and a producing team that includes TV mega-producer Ryan Murphy) of Mart Crowley’s landmark of gay drama. Written in 1968, the show was a controversial Off Broadway hit when it opened, but has since become polarizing for its time-capsule portrait of gay life in Manhattan.
Rannells and Bomer, however, find plenty in the show that still resonates. “It doesn’t have to represent every gay person now,” Rannells said. “The takeaway now is that you can sort of watch it as a little more of a standalone piece, that it doesn’t have to be symbolic of a movement or a people, it’s just a play. It’s a story about nine characters.”
“And like it or not, it’s really the only theater piece we have that is about pre-Stonewall life,” Bomer added. “It’s like that last surge of anger that roils up right before real revolution, because Stonewall happened the next year. I feel like a lot of the people who stand there with their arms folded or are judgmental about [‘Boys in the Band’] aren’t really aware of everything that was going on in that pre-Stonewall period.”
Both actors are re-teaming with Murphy on “Boys” after working with him on multiple projects prior to this one. They talk about why they love working with him, and also delve into Rannells’ forthcoming memoir, Bomer’s interest in directing and why Rannells thinks Bomer’s next stage gig should be a musical.
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