By BTL Staff
Mart Crowley’s landmark play “The Boys in the Band” will finally get its Ringwald Theatre debut, in association with Five15 of Royal Oak, beginning on Jan. 9. Promised last season, but the victim of scheduling changes, “The Boys in the Band” will play a four-week engagement at the Ringwald Theatre in downtown Ferndale.
The importance of Mart Crowley’s play can’t be overstated. Premiering a year before the Stonewall riots cemented the gay rights movement, “The Boys in the Band” was the first time that gay men had been portrayed realistically onstage. These were living, breathing men, not frail, feeble characters that killed themselves in the final act. “The Boys in the Band” took off-Broadway by storm and played for 1,000 performances. In 1970, William Friedkin (who would go on to direct “The Exorcist”) directed the film version featuring the entire original cast. The original production was so big it merited an original cast album, almost unheard of for a non-musical.
In the subsequent years, audiences have become sharply divided about “The Boys in the Band.” Some still praise it for the groundbreaking work it was. Others take issue with perceived stereotypes and self-loathing. This is a rare chance to get a fresh look at this classic work. The Ringwald cast features Jamie Richards, Richard Payton, Mark Sobolewski, Brenton Herwat, James Lee, Dayne Laycy, Matthew Turner Shelton, Topher Alan Payne and Dan Morrison. Joe Bailey will direct. Set design is by Jen Maiseloff; sound design by Dyan Bailey.
“The Boys in the Band” opens Friday, Jan. 9, and plays through Monday, Feb. 2. Showtimes are at 8 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays with 3 p.m. Sunday matinees. Ticket prices are $20 for Friday and Saturday performances, $15 for Sunday shows, and Monday nights are half off the original ticket price at only $10 a ticket. All students can now receive a $5 discount off normal ticket price on Friday, Saturday and Sunday performances (available at the box office the day of the show with valid student ID). Tickets can be purchased at www.TheRingwald.com or at the theater box office. The Ringwald box office opens 45 minutes before performances and tickets can be purchased with cash or Visa/Mastercard.
The Ringwald opened their doors over seven years ago on May 11, 2007 with “Fatal Attraction: A Greek Tragedy.” Quickly, The Ringwald became a mainstay of Detroit’s theatre community. Past Productions include: “Stupid Fucking Bird,” “Angels in America,” “Into the Woods,” “The Motherfucker with the Hat,” “August: Osage County,” “When the Rain Stops Falling,” “The Bad Seed,” “Making Porn,” “The Book of Liz,” “Rent” and “Love! Valour! Compassion!” The Ringwald was named 2009, 2012 and 2013 Best Theatrical Troupe by Real Detroit and Best Place to See Local Theatre in 2010, 2011 and 2012 by the readers of Metro Times.