Matthew’s Place
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Matthew’s Place

Musical Review: From Here

by Alyssa Sileo

June 12th, 2020 marked four years since the tragic massacre that occurred at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Forty-nine individuals were taken by gun violence. Pulse was a gay nightclub, and the event the crowd attended was Latin Night. A majority of the people that were murdered were Black and Latinx.

This anniversary was commemorated in multiple ways this year, and one of those was the livestream premiere of a musical created by Donald Rupe (and orchestrations by Jason Bailey) called From Here, which was first performed at the 2019 Orlando Fringe Festival. The video that was presented was recorded at a Central Florida Community Arts Black Box Festival performance.

The musical is not necessary about the Pulse shooting, but rather offers a glimpse of an Orlandoan who watched this event occur in his community. I’m a theatre artist, so I was looking forward to experiencing how this writer would bring a tribute to the people the world lost four years ago.

This musical was endearing, honest and humorous. It followed Daniel’s story as a young gay man living in Orlando, Florida. His mother isn’t fully affirming, and he struggles to reconcile with her. He goes through heartbreak, demonstrates bravery, and falls in love. The musical is about friendship, chosen family, transforming relationships, and community.

In the musical, Daniel speaks about the ways in which Orlando responded to the tragedy and mourned, which I can only imagine was a cathartic moment for the Orlando audiences to witness. The characters also talked about their joyful memories at Pulse.

Between now and June 28th, you can watch the musical at this link for free. I am encouraging you to double your witness of this artistic action with an additional action.

Defend and stand up for queer and trans people, especially queer and trans people of color, as they are the individuals that our national institutions and government antagonize, disenfranchise, and enact violence upon. Learn about LGBTQ+ history, and take note that it is the work of queer and trans people of color that have shaped the movement for liberation. Whenever possible, use your financial capital to fund organizations led by and dedicated to queer and trans people of color.

Remain reflective, active, and committed.

About the Author:

Alyssa Sileo’s Thespian identity comes first and foremost in anything she carries out. As a member of the Drew University Class of 2022, she studies theatre arts, women’s and gender studies, and Spanish. She’s a proud NJ Thespian Alumni and member of their state chapter board. She is the leader of the international performances network The Laramie Project Project, which unites worldwide productions and readings of the acclaimed Tectonic Theater Project play and encourages community-based LGBTQ+ advocacy. Alyssa is humbled to serve as the 2017 Spirit of Matthew Award winner and as a Youth Ambassador for Matthew Shepard Foundation. She believes there is an advocacy platform tucked into every piece of the theatre catalogue and intends to write outreach into the canon.

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Matthew’s Place is by and for LGBTQ+ youth and a program of the Matthew Shepard Foundation l #EraseHate

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Matthew's Place

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MatthewsPlace.com is a program of the Matthew Shepard Foundation| Words by & for LGBTQ+ youth | #EraseHate | Want to submit? Email patrick@matthewshepard.org

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