Producer Ryan Murphy has assembled an all-star cast for the 50th anniversary production of Mart Crowley’s groundbreaking play The Boys in the Band, and PEOPLE has an exclusive first look at its cast in action.
Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, Andrew Rannells, Matt Bomer, Charlie Carver, Robin DeJesus, Tuc Watkins, Michael B. Washington, and Brian Hutchison make up the ensemble of the upcoming Broadway show, set for a 15-week limited engagement run at New York City’s Booth Theatre this spring.
Directed by two-time Tony winner Joe Mantello, the play helped sparked a revolution when it premiered in 1968 thanks to its unapologetic portrait of the complicated lives of gay men — originally drawing the likes of Jackie Kennedy, Marlene Dietrich, and Groucho Marx (among others).
But for the cast, who are all out gay actors themselves, it’s how the material still resonates in 2018 that makes this production a must-see.
“What I like so much about Boys in the Band is how the play right now reads so much as, ‘Look at how things have changed and look at how they haven’t,’” Parsons, 44, explains in the above behind-the-scenes video.
“We’ve come so far in the last 5 years, just legislatively. And yet there’s been this explosion of backward thinking and harmful thinking and political ideology that swept our country,” says Quinto, 40. “We are responsible for standing up and being acknowledged and celebrating ourselves and celebrating our community in a way that shows these people that are trying to undo the progress that we’ve made that we are not going anywhere.”
Adds Crowley: “You just have to be reminded of how our freedom didm’t exist. We can’t lose it. We cant go back. There is no good time to tell it except all times. ”
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The action of the show takes place at a NYC apartment, where a group of friends gather to celebrate their pal’s birthday. But as the evening goes on, the fault-lines between their friendships and the self-inflicted heartache many are experiencing slowly exposes itself.
“It’s this group of guys that do have this anger that’s just boiling to the surface. And I think there are a lot of undercurrents of that particular emotion in our society right now,” Bomer, 40, says.
“I think this is a great opportunity to show gay people with all sorts of different problems,” Rannells, 39, continues. “They’re not all the same.”
This article originally appeared on People.com