Selections from Raft of the Medusa
Words by Joe Pintauro
Music by Roger Tréfousse
Sung by Deborah Tranelli, Patrick Ryan Sullivan and John Ruess
Roger Tréfousse, piano
In 1995, Joe Pintauro approached me about writing a musical based on his play Raft of the Medusa, a play about an AIDS therapy group, and one of the first dramatic works dealing with the AIDS crisis. One day, by chance, Joe saw a notice on a church bulletin board somewhere in the West Village–an AIDS therapy group was asking for dramatic material to use in its sessions. He wrote Raft for them to perform, but by the time he’d finished the play, the group no longer existed–all its members had died. His play went on to a successful off-Broadway run, and has received many productions since then.
Raft has a deep humanity, embracing men and women, gay and straight. I felt that a musical version could reach out to some many people, like Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City or Rent. We wrote a number of songs which received concert performances to glowing reviews, but the full musical has yet to be produced. With the new version of Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart premiering on HBO, it might be time to think about the musical again, and with that in mind, I’m posting excerpts on the website this month. Full versions of the songs will be available on Youtube shortly.