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Natalie and "The Boys in the Band"

by Nathaniel R

Natalie and the Boys

Did you know that without Natalie Wood, the seminal gay play and subsequent film The Boys in the Band (1970) might never have existed? 1970 is our year of the month but the story began much earlier when Natalie met the playwright Mart Crowley on the set of Splendor in the Grass (1961). He was working as an assistant to Elia Kazan but Natalie immediately snatched him up for herself, taking him along for her West Side Story ride...

Natalie Wood with the cast of "Boys in the Band "

Natalie essentially bankrolled Crowley's writing and his emotional wellbeing; she also paid for six months of his psycho-analysis and encouraged his sobriety and career. Along the way she introduced him to agents and the Hollywood gliteratti as part of her inner circle. 

She attended the play in California and London and New York. You can bet that if the superstar was still with us, they'd be interviewing her along with Mart Crowley (who is now 82) about the show's groundbreaking history with its all-star Broadway revival currently in previews

Natalie and Mart early on Natalie and Mart some years later

Natalie at a party for the first day of filming of "Boys in the Band" in 1969

Natalie Wood was supporting the gays before Stonewall! Long before it was something straight people did and definitely before it was fashionable. Your faves could never.  


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Reader Comments (13)

Never heard about this before now. Brava to Natalie!!! Thank you, wherever you are!!!

May 4, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterforever1267

Great lost piece of history. Well done!

May 4, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah Lipp

👑 queen of the gays 👑

May 4, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Amazing! I still don't understand why the revival didn't open before the Tony nominations.

May 4, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Did she helped starting "a national conversation" too?

May 4, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSusie S.

Just have been introduced to your blog site this week. Read many past pages and enjoy the conversations very much. There are a couple of WHACKOS, but it is much classier than some sites.

I knew Nat and RJ from the 60's on ... She was a huge backer of the gay cause .. she took Mart under her wings big time. Everything you wrote about was true.. also, she gave Mart a home in their backyard area. He stayed until he hit it rather big with BITB.

She was such a gracious human being. I still tear up when I think about her.

May 4, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRDF

This is detailed in “Making the Boys,” the doc about The Boys in the Band, and even includes some footage of Robert Wagner. A fun deep dive into the times and creation of the play.

May 4, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJames from Ames

I love this. I, too, had a strange overwhelming love for Natalie Wood as a young film kid. West Side was the gateway drug. I didn't see many of her films and yet I would tell people I loved her. Guess I knew even at a young age, down deep, I was an actressexual.

May 4, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterTom M

By the way, I'm still waiting for your stay-away-from-it! post to Spielberg's West Side Story.

May 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

She totally would have won an Oscar now had she lived long. We miss you, Natalie.

May 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSTFU

peggy -- i wrote a little bit about that here.

May 5, 2018 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

God, why couldn't Spielberg just direct Wicked instead? That musical actually still needs its movie adaptation and it fits much more comfortably in his aesthetic.

May 7, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

weren't they shopping around a project he'd written where she would have played twin sisters: one straight, one gay? too ahead of it's time, i guess

May 9, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterpar

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