Revisiting a 1973 Tragedy Onstage

The creators of Upstairs, a new musical, hope to give voice to the victims of an arson fire at a New Orleans gay bar.



At left: Cast members in rehearsal.


The research has yielded shocking revelations about the probable perpetrator. “Everything I’ve read would most likely indicate that the culprit was a patron of the bar who had rage issues or was acting on some internalized homophobia,” Self says.

McCallum adds that he hopes the play will drive home the message “that homophobia is our enemy whether it comes from within or without.” He also hopes it will show audiences “what the environment was like for queer people in 1973 and how far we’ve come.”

And both hope the show will help audiences know the victims as individuals. “They lived and they loved,” says Self, “and they argued and they sang.” With his play, he intends to give them a voice again.

Click here for information on the Kickstarter campaign and here for tickets for the workshop performances.

Tags: Theater