by Craig Houk
On the evening of Sunday, June 24th, 1973, thirty-two men perished in a fire at The Upstairs Lounge, a sanctuary bar for working-class homosexual men in New Orleans. On that same evening, several blocks north, nearly a dozen women, including a gifted young nursing student, Sydney (Syd) Trahan, were taken into custody and charged with lewd and lascivious conduct for dancing together at Brady’s, a notorious lesbian bar in the French Quarter. Hopeful that the deadly fire and the controversy surrounding its multiple victims might overshadow Syd’s arrest, Bud, a reputable blacksmith, and Helen, a God-fearing woman, do everything in their power to curtail the impact of their daughter’s transgression on their seemingly near perfect lives.
- Cast Size: 2M 3W
- Running Time: 90+ minutes
- Royalty Rate: $75 per performance
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About the Playwright
Craig Houk is a D.C. based Playwright, Producer, Actor & Director. His original full-length play, COLD RAIN, was awarded Best Drama and named one of Best of Festival at Capital Fringe 2018. Craig’s other plays include SYD, BRUTE FARCE, RADIATOR, THE RELUCTANT HEN, ONE OF THEM, and three play anthologies: TETHERED, LOST IN PLACE, and SOLITAIRE SIX PACK. As a general rule, Craig writes to entertain. And in the process, he does his best to write strong characters with compelling stories to tell; characters that actors might yearn to play and stories that audiences might yearn to see and hear. Craig is a member of the Dramatists Guild.
ALSO BY CRAIG HOUK
Too many people interpret “made in God’s image” as “God hates the same people we do.” Almost half a century later there are still parents who reject their children, believing that is what God would have them do, and children who are forced to separate themselves from those who should love them. Craig Houk explores these family dynamics in a dramatic and relatable way that will prompt audiences to reconsider their own relationships. The play reads well and would be impactful on stage. Highly recommended.
One of the many powerful elements of this atmospheric and haunting play is the tenuous bonds parents have with their children becoming their own person, away from the life that the parents envisioned them. In Craig Houk’s skillful hands we see two families deal with their gay children in very different ways, made even more intense by tragedy and recrimination. The moments between a father struggling to understand his daughter, and a mother trying to understand what God has placed before her are achingly crafted, lyrical, and genuine. I would love to see this play produced again and again.
I know every single person here, including those who do not appear on stage. I knew them in 1973, I knew them in 1997, and I even know some of them now. And that is one of the greatest strengths of Houk’s cautionary work: although the play takes place in the early 1970s, the Beverlys, the Helens, the Beaus… they all still exist and the fight for acceptance is still raging on, whether the battleground is the family kitchen or the public arena. Thank you, Craig Houk for shining your light where it needs to be shone.