Upstairs - Workshop Selections

by Wayne Self, Various Artists

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This is a recording of five selections from the Upstairs Workshop.

Upstairs is a musical tragedy about the 1973 arson fire at the Up Stairs Lounge in New Orleans, Louisiana that killed 32 people, nearly all of them gay men. This most deadly crime against LGBT people in U.S. history remains unknown to many, its victims lost in obscurity. But the stories of the victims and survivors are provocative, heroic, and profound, and they deserve to be known. This musical tells just a few of those stories.

This is a studio recording, not a live recording. Pieces from this workshop performance were performed with piano and vocals only, and some of these songs may or may not appear in the final version.

Proceeds from the sale of this collection will go toward funding the New Orleans premiere in time for the the 40th Anniversary of the fire, June 20-24.

The cast from this workshop have all been tentatively signed for the New Orleans production! Give them a listen.


released March 6, 2013

Recorded at The Village in Los Angeles, California

Shinnosuke Miyazawa, Sound Engineer
Sean Alexander Bart, Pianist




Upstairs, the Musical Los Angeles, California

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Track Name: Alxander Jon, Garrett Marshall - If I Could Only Breathe
The heart beats
Slow after fast
With an undying passion that
I can't explain,
Without regard
For it's safety, unmarred,
A stranger to pain.
The heart beats
Unseen in me.
Now, if I could only breathe.


The mind sees
Each season turn
Each person yearn
As his dreams age and die,
For childhood's old solace,
Feigned safety from all of it's
Wherefore's and why's.
The mind sees
Unbeaten in me.
Now, if I could only breathe.


I'd inhale the smell
Of Carolina jasmine,
I'd exhale the haze of regret.
I'd take in the mem'ry
Of Gulf brine and chicory.
I'd take in my lover's last breath.
Then, living, decide
To get on with life,
Or with death.

The soul faints,
A hearth without bellows,
A torch in a windowless room,
A hot ember buried
In mountains of ashes,
Expired, not exhumed.

The soul faints,
The mind sees,
The heart beats.
Now, if I could only breathe.

Track Name: Nicholas Losorelli - You're Gonna Ache for Me
You say you'll never leave me,
Expect me to believe,
Even when I know you're loving other men.
But a man breaks his vows,
Like a baby breaks his boughs,
And falls just as far, by the end.

Briefly, I'll cry when you leave, dear.
But you'll see, eventually,
That you're the one in need, here.
My heart my break, but baby,
You're gonna ache for me.

Like medicine, my love makes it better.
But, give up the drug,
And you'll hurt forever.
Whatever you take, Buddy,
You're gonna ache for me.

You'll never recover
From leaving a lover,
If you know his love never strayed.
Don't think for a second it
Won't come to a reckoning,
Time won't be kind to a mind come unmade.

You'll wake in a sweat, by the hour,
Your mouth sickly sweet, and your stomach sour.
You'll shiver and shake,
You're gonna ache for me.
Fate hates a fake, Buddy,
You're gonna ache for me!
Track Name: Brian Brown, Alxander Jon, Nicholas Losorelli, Garrett Marshall, Charles Romaine - Sanctuary
Sanctuary, Sanctuary
Sanctuary, Sanctuary,
In a city sinking from its weight,
From history and sweat and heavy air.
Sanctuary, Sanctuary,
Everyone needs a hiding place,
And that is what my little corner's for,
Sanctuary, Sanctuary,
In a place where ghosts yet walk,
Crypt cities, yellow-fevered graves,
Wealth raised on backs of silent slaves,
Gotta have a Sanctuary!

Sanctuary, Sanctuary,
Sanctuary, Sanctuary,
In a place where sin has flowed downstream,
Corrupt silt as pleasure-dome foundation,
Muffled masks will hide your deviation,
'Til you get to Sanctuary!
Sanctuary, Sanctuary,
In make-up, in silence, in men.
Sanctuary, Sanctuary,
In Jesus, in Mammon, in gin.
You can get it all right here,
Come with me, the man Upstairs!
Sanctuary, Sanctuary.

Where they allow, if tacitly,
Unusual morality.
Even if the victor--or the victim--
Is me.
In a place like this, indulgences come dangerously,
That's why we need.
Sanctuary, Sanctuary,
Sanctuary, Sanctuary,
Sanctuary, Sanctuary,
Sanctuary, Sanctuary!
Track Name: Brian Brown - I'll Always Return
Things go long,
Clocks go wrong.
Compromises come along.
I can't promise I'll never leave,
But I'll always return.
Modern age,
Life to wage.
To get ahead, must turn the page.
I can't promise I'll never leave,
But I'll always,
I'll always return.
Security's uncertain,
Uncertainty's a fact,
Take your strength, when we're apart,
from knowing I'll be back.
Never vowed,
Until now,
Have to let you know somehow.
I don't make promises I can't keep.
And I can't promise I'll never leave.
But I'll always,
I'll always return.
Track Name: Charles Romaine - Carry On
When I was a little boy
Nursing my childhood dreams
In a little house
In a little town, full of
Big family,

Grandma would say to me
That I had a destiny,
And that, if I were a good boy, I could
Be anything.

Well, Grandma doesn't speak to me anymore.
Guess I couldn't be that good by she was hoping for.

But I could think.
I could hear.
I could learn enough to overcome my fear.
I could be
Truly me,
Even if it meant I lost my family.
I could carry on,
Carry on,
Carry on,
Carry on.

Still not the person Grandma prayed I'd be,
But I'm still holding to these childhood dreams.
Maybe I won't amount to much, or every learn to please.
But I can share the word that lives inside of me!

I can speak.
I can teach.
I can give of the compassion I've received.
I can build.
I can sing!
I can honor all the loves,
That have passed away from me,
By sharing all the good that they have ever shown to me.
I can live my life.
I can carry on.
Carry on.
Carry on!