On Wednesday, “Inferno: Fire at the Cocoanut Grove 1942” will begin performances at the Plaza Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts. “Inferno” is written and directed by James Hansen Prince, a Texas playwright-actor-director, who had never even been to Boston before last year. It is also apparently the first theatrical production about the devastating nightclub blaze — “a massive, humongous story about the ’40s and our society and about greed and selfishness,” said Prince. “The heroism was amazing. . . . There’s so many incredible stories, the way the whole city came together to help people out.’’
Structured as a mosaic of voices, “Inferno’’ draws heavily on transcripts of accounts by survivors and witnesses that were assembled by investigators from Boston’s Fire and Police departments, along with newspaper and TV interviews. The playwright also talked with descendants of survivors and experts like Schorow and former Boston fire commissioner Paul Christian.
On opening weekend, the Friday, February 26th show will also feature Schorow, Christian and NFPA Research Foundation's Casey Grant, who will participate on a speaker panel to answer audience questions and share their knowledge of the event, alongside the production.
The play will have a six-week run, from February 24 - April 3, so if you are in Boston, grab tickets to a show.
You can also review some of the history of the Cocoanut Grove fire beforehand, through NFPA's website.