Some Suggested Lyrics for Stonewall, the Musical

Singing their way to liberation.

Production still from Stonewall.

When it was announced last year that openly gay director Roland Emmerich—of Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow fame—would be helming a film covering the Stonewall riots, some observers sounded a note of … concern. Perhaps the flashpoint of the modern LGBTQ civil rights movement was not ideal material for an artist who seems to prize world-ending disasters over small-scale defiance? Nevertheless, the production has continued apace, and today we’ve been granted the first stills from the set.

Stills from Stonewall.

Stonewall Facebook page.


An initial reaction here at Outward HQ: Good god, Emmerich has turned Stonewall into a musical.


What follows is an edited version of our internal conversation regarding the stills, which, as you’ll see, quickly turns into a very productive brainstorm of lyrics for the show. Roland, you know where we can be reached!

Bryan Lowder: But for real, why does this look like a musical? I am concerned. It’s like a cheaper Rent, which is not a good thing.

June Thomas: Just the words “Roland Emmerich” in close proximity to Stonewall are kind of problematic. Also, major American Horror Story vibe. Like, are some of those homeless kids actually zombies?

Lowder: Gay, mafia-supporting zombies … in a musical. Wait, let’s write the songs!

Thomas: That guy’s got an amazing butt/ If only I hadn’t gotten a disease from the filthy glasses in the/ STONE-waaaaaal! (I guess, strictly speaking, Stonewall should rhyme with ball.)


Lowder: Here’s a song title: “Burying Judy, Unearthing Resolve.” Our drinks are watered down/ but I won’t sport a frown/ instead I’ll shake my ass/ except when coppers pass

Thomas: MAFIA BARMAN: I hate these effin’ ‘mos/ Why don’t they wear appropriate clothes/ We have to pay off the fuzz/ Good job the drinks are too weak to give off a buzz (Super-complicated music playing, hence the wordiness and APPARENTLY non-working rhyme scheme.)


Lowder: I want the mafia bar man to have an unexpected emotional arc.

Thomas: But that guy in the Mod Squad dress/ And the Judy Garland tress/ He’s kind of a loner/ But he gives me a boner

Lowder: Uh oh, here comes the Village Voice reporter: Up in my office, having a smoke/ look out the window, think it’s a joke/ the fags are all fighting, who woulda thunk?/ there’s one in heels! that boy-girl’s got spunk!

Thomas: High prices, bad hygiene/ But the men—oh, hey, hi Gene!

Lowder: This is a guaranteed hit. 

Want to hang out with Outward? If you’ll be in or near New York City on Monday, July 13, join June Thomas, J. Bryan Lowder, and Mark Joseph Stern—and special guests Ted Allen, of Queer Eye and Chopped fame, and marriage-equality campaigner extraordinaire Evan Wolfsonfor a queer kiki at an Outward LIVE show, hosted by City Winery. Details and tickets can be found here.