Mart Crowley is an American playwright, best known for his groundbreaking play, The Boys in the Band, depicting the lives of a group of gay male friends in New York City in the 1960s.
Crowley was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and attended The Catholic University of America, where he studied acting and show business. He moved to Hollywood soon after graduating, where he met film star Natalie Wood and became her personal assistant.
During this time, Crowley penned his first play, The Boys in the Band. Although the piece initially had trouble securing producers and a cast, The Boys in the Band premiered off-Broadway on April 14, 1968. The show was a surprise hit, running 1,000 performances, transferring to London, and soon after being adapted to a feature film of the same name, released in 1970. The play and film were the first in their industries to portray the realities and struggles of being a gay man in America in the 1960s. Some historians credit the play for inspiring the Stonewall Riots and subsequent gay rights movement.
Crowley's sequel to The Boys in the Band, titled The Men from the Boys, premiered in 2002. The play reunites the original cast of characters 35 years later, after the death of one of their friends. His third play, Remote Asylum, premiered in 2010. Crowley occasionally wrote for television through the 1970s-1990s. He has been featured in three documentaries: The Celluloid Closet, exploring homosexuality in film; Dominick Dunne: After the Party, about the renowned producer/writer/journalist and Crowley's friend, Dominick Dunne; and Making the Boys, recounting the making of the play.
Crowley is openly gay. He has written an autobiography, A Breeze from the Gulf.