Saturday, February 29, 2020

From Here

From Here is a new musical by local playwright, Donald Rupe. Donald handled the book, music and lyrics with additional music by Jason Bailey. This musical is personal and heart felt while also being incredibly funny. The simple stage set, painted by Ashleigh-Anne Gardner, had a map of Orlando with a heart at it's center. Small hearts scattered around the map showed where each of the cast members were from. The story centers around Daniel (Blake Aburn), who in the very first scene is calling his mom (Sarah Lee Dobbs) on his cell phone but it becomes clear that she never picks up. He related to the audience first hand how his father left when he was very young, and he became inseparable from his mom. However when he came out to her, she said some things that can never be taken back. They had not spoken since that day. This yearning for acceptance while remaining defiantly independent is the life blood of the story.

The story is about friends, from here, meaning Orlando Florida, just before the Pulse Nightclub shooting, but the shooting doesn't happen until deep into the second act. A joyous game night shows just how these friends gain joyous strength from being together. Michelle (Dorothy Christopher) is an amazing singer and after Daniel looses a boyfriend, she insists that he come to her show. She sets him up on the sly with someone new and sings a glorious song celebrating her gay friends that had me laughing out loud.

I will not go into the plot of this fabulous musical. You should experience it first hand with few preconceptions. All of the performers had exceptional voices and the music and lyrics were amazing. I have not felt this warmly embraced by a theater performance since seeing Stephen Sondheim's Sunday in the Park with George with the original cast on Broadway. This show has Broadway legs. Perhaps I am biased since the show deals with the wave of emotions that followed the horror of June 12, 2016. This play brought all those emotions flooding back, it was both painful and cathartic.

After the shooting, all the friends gathered together to watch the news on TV. They were all safe. The loss of the 49 lives seemed all the more devastating since they all frequented the club, and had such amazing and memorable times there. This was the moment I wish I had sketched but I knew it would be over too soon. They held each other through the days that followed, and then found that the world responded to the horrific event that same way they did, with the hope that love is more powerful that hate. In a time when politics seem to want to divide people, the message of this show is more important than ever. Daniel's final words summed up what is important in life... "All that matters here are the people you choose to love, and, of course, the people who choose to love you back."

This is quite honestly the best play I have seen this year.  I highly encourage you to go. It was an emotional roller coaster, but in the end very up-lifting. It is a uniquely Orlando story, one we have all lived, and are still living.

From Here is running through March 15, 2020 Do NOT miss it! Tickets.
Remaining show dates...
Sat Feb 29, 2020 at 7:30pm $18-25
Sun Mar 1, 2020 at 7:30pm $18-25
Thur Mar 5, 2020 at 7:30pm $15
Fri Mar 6, 2020 at 7:30pm $18-25
Sat Mar 7, 2020 at 7:30pm $18-25
Sun Mar 8, 2020 at 3:00pm $18-25
Thu Mar 12, 2020 at 7:30pm $18-25
Fri Mar 13, 2020 at 7:30pm $18-25
Sat Mar 14, 2020 at 7:30pm $18-25
Sun Mar 15, 2020 at 7:30pm $18-25

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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