Judson Memorial Church, May 23-27, 2011
From the Fire, an original dramatic oratorio, performed in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.
On March 25, 1911, 146 immigrant working girls — mostly from Jewish Eastern European and Italian backgrounds — jumped or burned to their deaths in a fire on the upper floors of a garment factory on Washington Square in New York City’s Greenwich Village. Trapped behind locked doors, many never had a chance to escape. Others jumped out the windows, some hand-in-hand, their hair and clothes aflame. The Triangle Fire became an unparalleled catalyst for social reform. Public outrage over the event galvanized the progressive movement, women’s suffrage, and instigated many of the reforms of The New Deal, seeding more social change legislation than any other single event in American history.
The oratorio includes scenes from the spontaneous uprising of the 20,000, the first major strike by women in U.S. history, which preceded the fire, and New York City’s dramatic responses to the catastrophic events. The performance piece also highlights contemporary events that connect to the Triangle Shirtwaist fire and its significant legacy.
Music from the Ashes – from blog “Life Upon the Sacred Stage” by Retta Blaney, also found in March 2011 issue of American Theatre Magazine
A Somber Centennial for the Triangle Factory Fire – NPR “All Things Considered” article and radio program featuring Elizabeth Swados
Remembering the Dead as They Were – New York Times article
Video Clip of “From the Fire”
Music composed by Elizabeth Swados
Conceived and directed by Cecilia Rubino
Written by Rubino with poet Paula Finn
Sets designed by architect and designer Bonnie Roche-Bronfman
Choreographed by Eric Jackson Bradley