Mart Crowley born 21 August 1935
Mart Crowley is an American playwright.
Crowley was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi. After graduating from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. in 1967, 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 Inside Daisy Clover. Wood hired him as her assistant, primarily to give him ample free time to work on his gay-themed play The Boys in the Band, which opened off-Broadway to ecstatic reviews on April 14, 1968 and enjoyed a run of 1002 performances.
Crowley's second work, Remote Asylum, was mounted with great expectations at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles in 1970, but it failed to garner the raves his debut had. In that same year, he enjoyed greater success with the motion picture adaptation of Boys in the Band. With his next play, the autobiographical A Breeze from the Gulf, he regained cachet with the critics and earned a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle nomination for Best Play.
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 Stephanie Powers. Other credits include the teleplays for There Must Be a Pony (1986), Bluegrass (1988), People Like Us (1990), and a Hart to Hart reunion special in 1996.
Crowley appeared in The Celluloid Closet, a documentary about homosexuality and its depiction on screen throughout the years, in 1995.
The Boys in the Band was a ground-breaking work that used both humour and melodrama to offer a look at the lives of a group of openly gay men. Gay audiences welcomed it when it appeared, but over the years it became controversial. Objections centered on traits of various characters that critics felt perpetuated negative stereotypes - self-loathing, flamboyance, and promiscuity. Rather than offering an upbeat, positive look at the gay subculture, it presented a depressing snapshot of individuals tormented by internalised homophobia. The post-AIDS perspective is not kind either; however, the play, and the film, should be taken as snapshots of the era that produced them. And the play is still revived, even if time has not been kind.
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