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Making the Boys 

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One of the more amusing moments in Making the Boys is playwright Edward Albee explaining why he opposed the initial production of The Boys in the Band in New York City in 1968. Mort Crowley's drama about a bunch of gay men celebrating a friend's birthday was the first production to feature not just openly gay characters but all gay characters. The production debuted a year before the homosexual rights movement was ignited by the Stonewall riots. And though playwrights like Tennessee Williams had had huge success on Broadway, New York's drama world didn't embrace open discussion of homosexuality or feature noncloseted gay characters. Albee, who had declined to discuss his sexuality for decades, didn't like negative gay stereotypes in the play, and he advised producers not to support it. But it was a nearly instant hit, and for many gay people just getting negative stereotypes on stage was a huge breakthrough. Within months it moved from off-Broadway to Broadway, where it had a five-year run, and it was made into a movie (pictured) in 1970. Clayton Robey's entertaining documentary Making the Boys rehashes the homophobia of the 1950s and '60s, and it includes accounts of the Stonewall uprising. That material is good, though it's been amply covered in other recent documentaries. But the main focus is Crowley, his early career (including his friendship and work with Natalie Wood) and the phenomenon that The Boys became. The film has great footage from Hollywood (including parties filled with acting legends at Roddy McDowall's Malibu beach house) and interviews with playwrights and writers from Tony Kushner (Angels in America) to Dominick Dunne (who was a producer of the film version of The Boys in the Band), and it's an interesting peek into what was a small world of writers and celebrities who circulated between Hollywood and New York. Tickets $7 general admission, $6 students/seniors, $5 Zeitgeist members. — Will Coviello

March 18-24

Making the Boys

7:30 p.m. Friday-Thursday

Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center, 1618 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., 827-5858;

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