The four-year anniversary of the mass shooting in Orlando at the Pulse Nightclub is June 12.
It is the site where a shooter killed 49 people and wounded 53 others. Orlando law enforcement shot and killed the man after a three-hour standoff.
To mark the date and commemorate the victims, a taped version of a live performance of the new musical “From Here” will be presented online on June 12.
The event benefits Equality Florida and is part of the national campaign — #HonorThemWithAction. Organizers are also using the event as a way to promote the 2020 voting efforts.
The musical will be shown at 9 p.m. EST at FromHere.com and EQFL.org/fromhere. After the June 12 showing, organizers said it will remain available to view through June 28.
The musical was filmed during its world premiere performances at Central Florida Community Arts in Orlando in February and March, before performances stopped due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is a high-quality live recording of the full-length musical, fully staged in front of an audience.
While the presentation is free, viewers are encouraged to donate to the #HonorThemWithAction campaign.
From Here writer, Donald Rupe, said the musical is inspired by his own lived experiences.
He describes it as emotionally charged with regard to family and relationships, and as a tribute to the Pulse Nightclub, a place that was a centerpiece of his formative years.
“When I decided to write something about my friends and I, it became clear that I couldn’t authentically do so without acknowledging the role that Pulse Nightclub played in our lives, both before and after the tragedy,” Rupe said in a statement. “It changed the way we viewed our lives and each other. It changed everything.”
The opening act begins with Daniel, a 30-something gay man living in Orlando, who is navigating a difficult relationship with his mother and his perpetual search for love — (mostly in the wrong places).
Daniel is funny, nerdy, and has a tight-knit group of friends who are his chosen family.
The musical takes an emotional turn as its characters learn of the Pulse Nightclub shooting. It changes the way Daniel and those around him see the world.
The second act recounts how Rupe and his friends heard about the shooting and the days that followed. They share memories of their times at the nightclub.
Rupe notes that the musical does not depict any violence or the names or details of any of the victims, survivors, or their families.
“The only story I can tell is my own,” Rupe said. “It’s important, sometimes, for artists to pay tribute to tragedy; to memorialize so that we never forget; to document grief through art.”
Rupe said the second act is his attempt to honor the victims, to show that what happened to innocent people will never be forgotten, and how it changed the lives of so many.
The musical ends with a wiser, more mature, more hopeful Daniel.
“We’re all from here,” he says, realizing how tied together his community is.
“'From Here’ is a powerful work of art that effortlessly lays out the complexity of moving through the world as a queer person and the fragility of life,” Brandon Wolf said in a statement. “It is an honor to partner with the team and continue helping to create a legacy of advocacy in the wake of the Pulse tragedy. Each of us is tasked with honoring the 49 victims not simply with words, but with action.”
Wolf, Equality Florida’s media relations manager and an early supporter of the musical, is an LGTB rights advocate and an activist for common-sense gun legislation and gun safety. He is also a survivor of the Pulse shooting.
“Daniel’s story is in many ways Orlando’s story, and it’s an important reminder of one of our city’s most difficult moments,” Rupe said. “I’ll never forget how the world came together to show their support of our community here, and it felt like we belonged to a larger family. For many of us in June 2016 it felt like the whole world was ‘from here.’ This show, I hope, is a message of resilience, and I think the world needs that message now more than ever.”
Note: The Pulse Memorial and Museum, commemorating the victims, is set to open in 2022.
For more information:
- “From Here”
- June 12 at 9 p.m. EST (then available through June 28)
- fromhere.com and eqfl.org/fromhere