Crayton Robey (shown at right), the gifted director of the new documentary MAKING THE BOYS, while telling well the story of how this play came to be in an era when homosexuality was just beginning to emerge from its love-that-dare-not-speak-its-name status, also tells a tale of gay life -- from then till now. By the end of this treasure of a film, you'll have lived through something much bigger than the play and its creation, fascinating though this is. If you're a senior citizen in particular, you'll have lived again gay life when the closet was pretty much the only option/venue of choice, then Stonewall and the emergent 60s, through the 70s (when the love that dare not speak its name seemed unable to close its mouth), the coming of AIDS and the ensuing huge losses, and the continuing, consistently up-and-down drive toward genuine equality.
Of course Crowley and his play are central here, and that's fine. The playwright's a great raconteur, and he leads us through the Hollywood period when times were a-changin', taking us to a private club where sexual preference did not seem to matter so much (except to certain people -- and Crowley names names). As someone who saw the original production of "Boys" while the play was in previews prior to its opening at Theatre Four, I was fascinated to learn the inside dope from the prime insider. And what a load of pungent memories Crowley -- shown holding up the wall at Manhattan's late Loew's Tower East, above, in his earlier years, and below, in front of Stonewall in his latter days -- has to offer.