Maplewood, NJ – Progressive Theater last presented a gut wrenching musical about the infamous case of THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS just a month before the killing of George Floyd. Progressive Theater presents work that shines light on truth and shows the parallels of the past and present. That’s why it’s no surprise Progressive Theater is slated to present THE VIEW UPSTAIRS, a musical, by Max Vernon and a documentary entitled, UPSTAIRS INFERNO by Robert L Camina, in lieu of Maplewood, NJ’s celebration of Pride 2021.
UPSTAIRS INFERNO is a full length film documenting the nearly forgotten Up Stairs Lounge arson: an event that remained the “Largest Gay Mass Murder in U.S. History” for 43 years.On June 24, 1973, an arsonist set fire to the UpStairs Lounge, a gay bar located on the edge of the French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana. For over four decades, it was the deadliest single event to affect the gay community in U.S. history.
Despite the staggering historical significance, few people know about the tragedy.Thirty-two people were killed and some bodies were never identified. One-third of the New Orleans chapter of the Metropolitan Community Church were killed in the blaze, including two clergy.
Using theater as vehicle to tell this story in a “more palatable” way, Progressive Theater presents THE VIEW UPSTAIRS written by Max Vernon. This musical takes a fictional approach to this horrific story while highlighting the vibrant UpStairs Lounge community. When Wes, a young fashion designer from 2017, buys an abandoned building in the French Quarter of New Orleans, he finds himself transported to the UpStairs Lounge. As this forgotten community comes to life, Wes embarks on an exhilarating journey of self-exploration that spans two generations of queer history. This smash Off Broadway hit features a gritty, glam rock score and a tight-knit ensemble of unforgettable characters.The View UpStairs asks what has been gained and lost in the fight for equality, and how the past can help guide all of us through an uncertain future.
Progressive Theater aims to tell culturally enriched stories that empower people of color and other marginalized communities, while captivating audiences with the focus being the change we want to see. That change is simply representation on stage, behind the scenes and in the audience. Gregory Omar Osborne, Founder and Artistic Director, says, “Everyone deserves a chance to see a resemblance of themselves or their communities in arts and entertainment.”
A free community screening of UPSTAIRS INFERNO will be held at The Woodland in Maplewood, NJ on June 12th, 2021. Two weeks following the screening, THE VIEW UPSTAIRS, musical, will be presented at the same location June 25th and 26th, 2021.
Registration for all events can be found here: https://www.onthestage.com/progressive-theater-a-nj-nonprofit-corporation/season