Stories For, From and About
The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt
FOUR PERFORMANCES ONLY!
A community-led benefit for Callen-Lorde Community Health Center
and Frontline AIDS (formerly the International HIV/AIDS Alliance).
ABOUT THE SHOW
Quilt, A Musical Celebration is a unique and affecting work that celebrates and remembers both those who died from AIDS and those who have survived or been left behind. Based on true stories from friends and loved ones who were left behind, the musical is a living history for a new generation.
Pairing professional and amateur artists from around the country, Quilt is a celebration of the people, the tears, the memories, and even the laughter and love, surrounding the deadliest plague in American history. Join our coalition of activists, artists and community advocacy organizations, as we mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, honor our past, and band together to do good for people living with HIV/AIDS throughout NYC and around the world.
"...sensitive, without being sentimental..."
A Musical Celebration
For, From and About
The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt
Originally Produced by The University of Maryland in conjunction
with The Smithsonian Institution's Museum of Natural History
This show was Jim Morgan's baby, he wrote the book and lyrics and drew in Michael Stockler to write the music. Then he asked his friend, Merle Hubbard, to help write the book. I invited myself.
In the early 90's I got a call from an ex-student, Perry Ojeda, suggesting I catch the reading of a work-in-progress at Musical Theatre Works - he knew I was on the lookout for something political to get involved with. I went, I was blown away by what they presented, and I walked down onto the stage afterward and asked if they were working with a director - they weren't, and I offered myself. Our first production, a joint venture by the University of Maryland and the Smithsonian Institution, came with a director, so, to continue my involvement, they made me the third bookwriter. When the show played the Smithsonian, the whole Quilt was on the Mall - seeing it filling the sweep of lawn up to the Capitol was overwhelming, like standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon - except the Quilt was hand-and-heart-made. Later, I got to direct a production at the University of Michigan, Michael's alma mater, where I had been teaching and directing. The ultimate goal, to get a production in New York City, never happened, despite 2 showcases. But we did get into the MTI catalogue, thanks to Freddie Gershon's desire to represent a show about the AIDS crisis, and from there it derived hundreds of productions around the country.
We were very different people, the four of us, but we shared in the growing personal losses from the epidemic, and we wanted to do something to acknowledge it. But we didn't want to bring back the dead to tell their stories - we wanted to give voice to the myriad people in their lives - parents, friends, lovers, co-workers - who were drawn to memorialize them by contributing panels to Cleve Jones' incredible idea, The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. And in telling their stories, in scenes and songs, we found not just the expected loss and sadness, but so much love, and a wealth of humor - audiences laughed more than they cried. They identified. And something we had not anticipated - they stayed, and talked. For hours. Literally. Sharing personal stories, crying, laughing, bonding in an ad hoc community of loss and commemoration. The show turned out to be a catalyst for much-needed dialogue, in a time of fear and shame.
I'm the last of the four writers, and although we were a contentious bunch, I feel I can safely speak for them as well as myself when I say that this show was the most important thing I was lucky enough to be a part of in a lifetime of working in theatre, and I remain grateful.
SUPPORT THE PRODUCTION
Quilt: A Musical Celebration is a charity benefit production, raising funds for the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center and the International HIV/AIDS Alliance.
Most of our artists and technicians have donated their time and their talents for this production, which has cut production costs substantially, but New York City theater is inescapably expensive.
It's our goal to give every dollar of every ticket to the organizations that need it most, but we need your help to do that.
Please consider giving a tax-deductible gift. All donors will receive public recognition.
The following community partners are generously donating of their time, talents, and resources, in order to live their missions of making this world a better place. This production is truly an example of the community coming together to do good for the community.
Candid Theater Company
Greenwich Village Orchestra
West Village Chorale
Heritage of Pride
The NAMES Project Foundation
book & lyrics