Magic in the Making
Crayton Robey discusses the filming of his documentary, Making the Boys, about The Boys in the Band.
It was actually weekend trips to The Pines in Fire Island -- the now-famous gay enclave -- that would eventually provide Robey with not one but two documentary subjects. "I couldn't believe my good fortune when I was first invited by friends to this wonderful place with all these amazing people who also had these fantastic lives in the city," he recalls. "They kind of introduced me to the history of both The Pines and its gay lifestyle as well as how to survive in the arts world."
His overwhelming desire to document the history of this fabled community resulted in his 2003 documentary, When Ocean Meets Sky, which was originally shown on LOGO-TV. And because of that film, Robey was eventually invited to the Tribeca Institute, which helped him develop Making the Boys. Having interviewed Crowley for When Ocean Meets Sky, Robey decided to focus his second film on the playwright and his landmark play.
"I called Mart, who was living out in Los Angeles," says Robey. "He's such a sweet little guy and a real Southern gentleman. I said, 'Tell me all about The Boys in the Band -- and in that wonderful slow drawl of his, he said, 'You really want to know? I'll give you the crash course.' And he did. He was so cool, I was hooked."
Robey's enormous list of "talking heads" in the film includes a remarkable cross-section of people, including actors Laurence Luckinbill (Hank) and Peter White (Alan); Oscar winner William Friedkin, who directed the film version; George Rondo, the longtime companion of original stage director Robert Moore; playwrights Edward Albee, Larry Kramer, Terrence McNally, Tony Kushner, and Paul Rudnick; and openly gay actor Cheyenne Jackson, all of whom discuss what the play has meant to them, both positively and negatively.