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  The Boys in the Band Reviews
The Boys in the Band
Windy City Playhouse

  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune- Highly Recommended

"...But for the critical thinking soul, for the person who craves to understand who we are and where we came from, the person who sees that hatred still flairs up, inside and out of ourselves? This canonical American play will always merit revival. And it is, of course, set at a party among (mostly) intimate friends. They are at least trying to have a good time. You’ll have one too, I think, and also feel its sting."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Reader- Highly Recommended

"...Marquez and Tsopnang are particularly gripping as Emory and Bernard, with their back-to-back monologues about long-past but never-forgotten teenage crushes on white boys who could never return—or admit to sharing—their young love. It's easy to imagine these two participating in the Stonewall Rebellion a year after this story takes place, when queers of color fought back against police harassment and the social oppression it was meant to enforce. And it's possible to imagine these characters, all of whom take tentative steps toward personal liberation over the course of the evening, standing together as allies and caregivers in the AIDS crisis destined to unfold a decade later—an epidemic that, in real life, claimed the lives of almost half of the play's original cast."
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Albert Williams

Around The Town Chicago- Highly Recommended

"...Immersive theater! This is what Chicago is offered by Windy City Playhouse. They take plays off the stage and put their audience IN the play. While it may sound bizarre, it has proven something that people not only love, but want more of! It has been twenty years since Chicago has witnessed "The Boys In The Band", Mort Crowley's peer into a group of gay men and the games they play with each other. The play takes place in a high rise apartment as Michael ( Jackson Evans in a powerful performance) host a birthday party ."
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Alan Bresloff

NewCity Chicago- Recommended

"...The company’s latest endeavor lets the partygoers inhabit a decadent apartment space designed by William Boles and dressed by Mealah Heidenreich. With decor like that, party host Michael would be hard-pressed to get me to leave. I’d also throw my frenemy a birthday party for the opportunity to show off my crystal and wallpaper game."
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Amanda Finn

Chicago Theatre Review- Highly Recommended

"...While Carl Menninger has directed his production to stress the humor, it can't be denied that this is an emotional drama, as well as a period piece. The more mature gay man will recognize Mart Crowley's characters and situations as "the way we were." It's true that we've come a long way since that time but, as one of the catalysts that inspired the Stonewall Riots, it's equally important to reflect on where we began, how far we've journeyed and the progress that's still needed for acceptance. By opening up the environment in order to immerse the audience within the atmosphere of the play is exciting and allows theatergoers of all ages to empathize with Michael, master Harold and all the boys."
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Colin Douglas

Chicagoland Theater Reviews- Recommended

"...Today, it may be impossible to recreate the excitement and controversy that made “The Boys in the Band” such a fresh audience experience in 1968. It’s the fate of revolutionary art works to be absorbed into mainstream with the passage of time. Do we hear the phrase “in the closet” anymore? And “gay” is no longer a term of derision. Yet, at its most emotionally intense Crowley’s work remains more than a historical artifact. The conflicts remain valid, even though they now involve boy-boy rather than boy-girl crises. Having some actors operating on the edges of the set also created some audio problems for me. I just wish the dialogue drew more blood."
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Dan Zeff

The Fourth Walsh- Highly Recommended

"...THE BOYS IN THE BAND is a trip upstairs and back in time. Booze is flowing heavy for the characters and the audience (complimentary drinks of vodka tonics and champagne are served). This is a show to experience for both the cool aesthetics and thought-provoking turmoil. The revelry gets out-of-hand but the friendships endure and endear."
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Katy Walsh

Third Coast Review- Highly Recommended

"...The Boys in the Band is warm, funny, irreverent and still very relevant. It was written in and for 1968, however, and the language reflects that. The word gay is rarely used; the men use the terms fairy, pansy and homosexual."
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Nancy Bishop

The Hawk Chicago- Recommended

"...The Boys in the Band utterly immerses us into a world that, in some respects, stands in stark contrast to our own. But part of the play’s power stems too from the fact that we still have so much ground to break. Windy City Playhouse’s production compels us to think back and look forward. Listen up, Mary: this is a play worth seeing."
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Emoly Schmidt

Storefront Rebellion- Recommended

"...The cast is generally terrific, with extra points to Evans for keeping Michael sympathetic even at his worst moments, and to Harris for infusing interest into a character who’s written as a bit of a cipher."
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Kris Vire

Chicago On Stage- Highly Recommended

"...It’s a brilliant, powerful staging that amplifies every experience in this highly emotional play, and another engaging production from this unique and original theatre."
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Karen Topham

PicksInSix- Highly Recommended

"...Windy City's immersive experience places everyone in the action of the drama, allowing the audience to see the work of Menninger's fine cast unfold from every point of view, courtesy of William Boles's scenic design, which includes a sunken living room in which the audience may find choice seats. Period-perfect properties by Mealah Heidenreich and outfits by costume designer Uriel Gomez will take you back in time. For the friends at Harold's birthday party, expressing real feelings to, and for, each other is still the name of the game."
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Ed Tracy

Picture This Post- Highly Recommended

"...Rage, flirtations, fast-flowing satiric wit, sadness, and self-loathing— this and more spills out of playwright Mart Crowley’s pen, and the proverbial closet where mainstream culture circa 1968 kept gay men. Historic though this play may be, perhaps the greatest power of Windy City Playhouse’s immersive theater style production is to make it SO vivid that it pokes anew at your assumption that that was then, and this is now."
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Amy Munice

Rescripted- Recommended

"...While the direction keeps this play in the 60s, Crowley's script echoes a timeless portrait of what it looks like to bury who you are and who you love. It shows how repression and self-loathing can restrict the love we are able to express in our relationships. The production shows us that the 60s had great outfits, beautiful colors and gay people. The script demands that we reckon with the loneliness that occurs when you exist on the margins of society and how loneliness impacts the community we keep."
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Ada Alozie