Stonewall. It’s a place, a concept, a piece of history. It says something important about the LGBTQ community, but what, exactly? The excellent New York Times video smartly debunks some of the mythology of Stonewall. It wasn’t the start of the “gay movement” and it wasn’t a funeral cortege for Judy Garland (though she always had good timing). But it was an eruption on history’s timeline – one of the first times LGBTQ voices were heard shouting “we’re here, we’re angry, and we matter.” They were quiet no more.
An entertaining new musical theater piece that we helped create, Quiet No More, is featured in the first half of Summer of '69, the concert we're presenting later this month. With segments written by gay, lesbian, trans, and African-American composers, it captures some of the diverse stories of the Stonewall event along with its historic reverberations.
In addition to many Top 40 hits of the day, our summer concert also takes us back in time to that hot summer of 1969. A lot was happening – not just Stonewall but also Woodstock, the moon landing, and a controversial new “law and order” administration. Imagine the scene: a disenfranchised minority, police harassment, street protests, glaring gender and racial disparities. The roiling culture wars of 1969 have a lot to tell us about today if we choose to listen. Along with some damn good music.
We’re singing this concert not just to commemorate a moment in history, but also to illuminate a bigger struggle that has evolved over 50 years, but not gone away. This struggle is real (just ask our trans singers and singers of color, among others) and we are still singing as if our lives depend on it. If you identify in the LGBTQ+ community, you are part of this story. And if you are one of our many valued allies, please accept this as my personal invitation to share this historic story with us. I’m not being a Dramatic Queen when I remind you that showing up for our community matters. Today, more than ever, history and representation matter.