Local play “Blue Ticket” is back, but this time on the big screen — or even at the touch of your fingertips.
The film version of local playwright Maureen Longworth’s “Blue Ticket” hit online streaming platforms this past Saturday, and is set to have two showings at the Gold Town Theater to round out the end of Pride Month.
The play is a historical fiction based on the once-hushed history of Juneau in the 1960s, a time when suspected gay men were exiled from the community and given a blue, one-way ticket to leave town on the ferry. Longworth said the play is not only depicts a love story, but mirrors Juneau’s history and serves as a symbol to expose the inequality many LGBTQ people faced and still face today.
“It’s a piece of art that shines a light on the underbelly of humanity,” Longworth said. “It’s important to go back in history and see where we come from.”
The debut of the play was in November 2019 — the 50th anniversary year of the Stonewall Uprising— and filmed by KTOO filmmaker Mikko Wilson. Due to the pandemic halting future live productions of the play for the past two years, Wilson edited the footage to be watched as a film. The film also features an entirely new soundtrack written by local musician Michael Mass to substitute the copy-written music in the original live version.
Longworth began roughly 10 years ago to write the script with inspiration drawn from the more than 50 interviews she conducted with people from Juneau who lived through the blue ticket era of the town. Though the actual storyline of the play is fictional, Longworth said it still contains the universal reality for many gay men in the community.
“It’s not true, but it’s based on the truth,” Longworth said.
Now, more than half a century later, Longworth said the play is a reminder of the history that is more important than ever to remember, especially during Pride Month. The producer of the play, Patricia Hull, said she is proud that the film will be able to reach a wider audience than just the live performance. Back in 2o19, the show sold out every single night.
“It’s a very, very important story to be told,” Hull said. “I really fell in love with the story.”
Hull and Longworth started working together on the play after meeting at church and talking about the script. Hull said now years later watching it become a film, she still is moved by the story even after the hours and hours of work she spent to produce the play in 2019.
“I found myself getting choked up, and so proud of all the performance — I am just really, really proud of it,” Hull said.
Longworth, a part of the LGBTQ+ community, said she hopes the film will shed light on more advocacy toward LGBTQ+ rights in Juneau. During decades living in Juneau, Longworth is proud to have watched the acceptance of LGBTQ+ rights grow over the years — but it still has a long way to go.
“We have to look out for each other because there is no one else. There are just the mountains and the trees,” Longworth said.
Know & Go
What: A Film of the 2019 Original Juneau Play “Blue Ticket”
When: Wednesday, June 22 at 6:30 p.m. ( and Q&A ), Thursday, June 30 at 7 p.m.
Where: Gold Town Theater, 171 Shattuck Way No. 109. The film can also be streamed online at KTOO 360TV youtube or on the Roku app.
*Masking and proof of vaccination required at entrance*
• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @clariselarson