Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Born Today: 'Boys In the Band' Playwright Mart Crowley

Happy Birthday to Mart Crowley who was born today August 21, in 1935. He is an American playwright widely known for writing the iconic gay play and film, The Boys In the Band. It enjoyed a very successful limited run revival on Broadway recently starring Jim Parsons, 
Zachary Quinto, Matt Bomer, Andrew Rannells, Charlie Carver, and Robin De Jesús.

Crowley was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi. After graduating from The Catholic University of America (Studying in acting and show business) in Washington, D.C. in 1957, Crowley headed west to Hollywood, where he worked for a number of television production companies before meeting Natalie Wood on the set of her film Splendor in the Grass. Wood hired him as her assistant, primarily to give him ample free time to work on the play he was working on. 

The Boys In the Band opened off-Broadway on April 14, 1968, and enjoyed a run of 1,000 performances. Crowley became part of Wood's inner circle of friends that she called "the nucleus," whose main requirement was that they pass a "kindness" test.

The Boys in the Band was adapted into a film in 1970 directed by William Friedkin. Crowley's sequel to The Boys in the Band was titled The Men from the Boys.

Crowley also wrote and produced Remote Asylum and the autobiographical A Breeze from the Gulf.

In 1979 and 1980, Crowley served first as the executive script editor and then producer of the ABC series Hart to Hart, starring Wood's husband Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers. Other credits include the teleplays for There Must Be a Pony (1986), Bluegrass (1988), People Like Us (1990), and a reunion special of Hart to Hart in 1996.

Crowley has appeared in at least three documentaries: The Celluloid Closet (1995), about the depiction of homosexuality in cinema; Dominick Dunne: After the Party (2007), a biography of Crowley's friend and producer Dominick Dunne; and Making the Boys (2011), a documentary about the making of The Boys in the Band.

London's King’s Head Theatre is currently staging the UK Premiere of Crowley's play, For Reasons That Remain Unclear. It examines complex questions of forgiveness and abuses of power following a chance meeting between Patrick, a Hollywood screenwriter, and Conrad, an older Catholic priest.

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