Invisible Wall Productions presents a provocative new musical about a vibrant '70s gay bar in New Orleans' French Quarter. More…
This forgotten community comes to life in all its gritty, glam-rock glory when a young fashion designer from 2017 buys the abandoned space, setting off an exhilarating journey of seduction and self-exploration that spans two generations of queer history. Inspired by one of the most significant yet all-but-ignored attacks against the LGBTQ community, 'The View UpStairs' examines what has been gained and lost in the fight for equality, and how the past can help guide us through an uncertain future.
"Vernon’s music is infectious and I dare you to see this show without dancing in your seats...The script, though a fairy tale of sorts, hits home...Director Scott Ebersold keeps this show sparkling and though we cry, we are not called on to be maudlin, but are brought to the point where we cannot forget...The cast is energetic and each individual has moments of shinning bright and making their mark...'The View UpStairs' is an uplifting reminder of our past." Full Review
"Max Vernon has scripted an exceptional story…The libretto has some holes. But some of these dramaturgical things can easily be patched up…The characters that Vernon has crafted are vibrant, leaping off the page…It’s the personal relationships that are formed that keep this musical afloat…‘The View UpStairs’ is a great work but what sets this musical apart is the magnificent production design…This incarnation of 'The View UpStairs' is not perfect. But it’s absolutely a must see.” Full Review
"A phenomenal cast carries a powerful and moving experience...There are a few occasions where the out-of-time elements clash with the smoothness of the play as a whole...A tightening of these details would help drive the authenticity of the play even further. Minor specificity issues aside, 'The View UpStairs' is a poignant, exuberant, touching musical that explores a dark day in LGBTQIA history. This play is a special experience, and shows promise for a bright and successful future." Full Review
“An imaginative, powerful, beautifully performed theater piece…The diverse cast is uniformly strong, in their acting, singing and dancing. The brunt of the performing, however, is borne by dynamic Jeremy Pope as Wes…The show has had an interesting journey so far. Developed in part at Rhinebeck Writers Retreat and at New York Stage and Film & Vassar at the Powerhouse Theater, it deserves further travel—to an uptown house." Full Review
"In the midst of its heavy subject matter, the tear-jerking and thought-provoking moments, 'The View UpStairs' is filled with humor...Vernon has succeeded in creating a musical that is authentic, funny, and deeply resonant. No one can leave the theatre untouched. Along with its vibrant and emotional tones, it is a show that sparks discussion about unsung heroes, queer history, and LGBTQ movements...A genius musical that gives us an opportunity to utilize the past in creating our future." Full Review
“It is fascinating to witness the clash of different eras and attitudes not only through the always witty and often ingenious lyrics by the show’s creator Max Vernon, but also to have the divide made visible in the choreography by Al Blackstone, who juxtaposes '70s groove and 2017 posing in hilarious ways…While moving the show along at a swift pace, director Scott Ebersold manages to make us truly care about its characters…A most original piece of musical theater that is not to be missed." Full Review
"Thoroughly thoughtful and entertaining...Graham is a stunning performer. His work in this piece is a master class in the art of acting...Vernon is mostly wise to utilize the vocal talents of his cast...The score is terrific, but I wish that Vernon had showcased Davis a bit more...'The View UpStairs,' smartly directed by Scott Ebersold, is an important retrospective of the gay community: where we’ve been, where we are, and who we could—and should—be." Full Review
"As memorable as the cast is, they’re backed up by Max Vernon’s catchy and moving songs. Everyone gets a turn, which is admirable, but certain songs land better than others...Jason Sherwood’s set design, aided by Andrew Diaz's props and set dressing, is outstanding...Just as Wes gets woke by the end, the production’s intent is clearly to have audiences not just walk out humming, but to fight back." Full Review
"'The View UpStairs' is a quintessential star-spangled civil rights kiss-off; it may also be the first great post-Trump musical of the 21st century...The show is revelatory...This production is not perfect...Some jokes also do not land...There are moments where the audience has to wait too long for the build up...Make no mistake however, as a show, 'The View UpStairs' has all of the ingredients for an iconic cult phenomenon." Full Review
"Vernon’s musical uses the tragedies of the past to highlight the mistakes of the future...Scott Ebersold has directed this production to feel intimate, ensuring each of the characters have their time to shine and connect with the audience...Drama, music and lyrics are combined to create a thrilling experience...'The View UpStairs' is a magical, moving production that provokes important debates and a feeling of camaraderie." Full Review
"This fast-moving and highly engaging one-act musical turns history into fantasy and then brings it all back to reality in a meaningful way...The score is exceptional...but the cast is equally good and the storytelling is vivid and not at all preachy or didactic. As far as star turns go, you’d have to travel a long way before you find a performance to equal that of Nathan Lee Graham." Full Review
"Max Vernon’s musical is an engaging amalgam of magical realism and surrealism that allows the audience to see two histories counterpoint one another and inform each other 'from a distance'...Each of Mr. Vernon’s characters is well developed and represents both a unique character and a 'stock' character from the 1970s gay scene – a remarkable accomplishment for the musical’s creator and director Scott Ebersold...This is a musical with a matrix of authentic and engaging themes." Full Review
"Ultimately, Vernon’s musical adds up to a series of character portraits. Some are more lovingly detailed than others, just as some numbers are more memorable, but each character has their own distinct place in this time capsule of queer experience, and a story worth telling...Though the production ambles then pivots perhaps a bit too sharply under Scott Ebersold’s direction, one would be hard-pressed not to feel the force of the tragedy." Full Review
"'The View UpStairs' sags at times. A few minor characters’ forgettable songs could easily have been cut, ideally to make room for more of the absolutely scene-stealing, uproarious bits from 'old queen' Willie...Still, the show swells with heart, and its characters and the history they represent should rightly be celebrated and remembered. 'The View UpStairs' is ultimately a moving homage to LGBT culture, past and present." Full Review
"Vernon expresses social insight well beyond his years...Vernon’s forte is his score which illuminates both the vibrancy and nuance of the spectrum in his character’s lives and emotions. A similar finesse would serve his book well also, raising its sometimes heavy-handed catch phrases and preachy dialogue up to the same level...What could easily veer into stereotypes and 'been there, seen that' is thoughtfully guided under the sensitive direction of Scott Ebersold." Full Review
"Vernon is egalitarian in his songwriting, giving everyone a number (although not all are of equal quality)...As fun and informative as these songs are, we can never quite escape the sense the playwright-composer is desperately trying to get us to learn something from this experience, making the whole enterprise feel like a gay after-school special...Despite its flaws, 'The View UpStairs' is mostly enjoyable and carries with it a timely and important message." Full Review
“The show consists of Wes learning valuable lessons about gay and lesbian history, as well as the importance of connecting in real life…The show, directed by Scott Ebersold, becomes bogged down in heavy-handed lecturing toward the end, and favors quips over plot. But Mr. Vernon’s score, which draws from the period’s disco, soft rock and glam sounds, is solid — which is important, since the evening essentially consists of ‘all about me’ songs by the staff and patrons." Full Review
“On the fourth anniversary of the Stonewall uprising in 1973, an arsonist set fire to a gay bar in New Orleans, killing 32 people. This tragic yet forgotten episode in gay history is not only part of a Harvey Fierstein monologue in ‘Gently Down the Stream’ - currently playing at the Public Theater--but also the subject of ‘The View UpStairs,’ a new Off Broadway musical that has a lot of spark, but ultimately not enough fire.” Full Review
"Never unpleasant, and often quite amusing, 'The View UpStairs' suffers from confusion about its intentions...Mostly, the hey there, good times atmosphere holds until the end...By this point, the characters have begun indulging in so much inspirational speechmaking that what has been a moderately entertaining evening turns just a wee bit tedious...Nevertheless, Vernon's songs are usually easy to take...The cast, under Scott Ebersold's lively direction, is ready to rock." Full Review
"Vernon relies heavily on clichés in the show, creating a queer 'Cheers'...Despite the stock characters and situations, Vernon’s work with Scott Ebersold’s direction and the cast’s performances do stir emotions...Simply put, 'The View UpStairs' is not a perfect show. Yet, with this piece, Vernon shows potential and promise...In these successful moments, the musical proves itself to be timely and relevant. In the moments when the show falls flat, the audience is at least entertained." Full Review
“There’s a lovely sweet and sour story enmeshed in ‘The View UpStairs’…Sadly, it is lost somewhere behind the heavy-handed book by Vernon and the over-the-top direction by Scott Ebersold…In general, the new group of actors haven’t found their groove yet as a unit. The larger, full-cast numbers were not harmonious or united but cumbersome, and everyone was far too over-the-top…I hope over time they come together and raise this show up again.” Full Review
"There's Vernon's well-greased knack with writing this sort of pastiche material from the era's musical forms...The performing company is a trip, too...It just doesn't add up to much other than a sort of vampy, revamped 'A Chorus Line'...For all its flash and filigree, the writing never transcends its basic subject matter to become about something bigger...'The View UpStairs' would have a greater impact if Vernon were more interested in learning from history than in merely repeating it." Full Review
"A lot of disparate characters to pack into a one-act musical, which may be why they're painted and (mostly) played in such broad strokes under Ebersold's unsubtle direction...Clearly a passion project for book writer, composer and lyricist Vernon. He's definitely got talent: His eclectic '70s-style tunes are catchy...It's commendable that Vernon wants to celebrate the gays who came (out) before but...the result feels as derivative as a drag queen doing Cher." Full Review
"Initially, the conceit...is cute. But the gimmick soon wears thin...The play is not without value. Just don't expect nuance. And at one hour forty-five minutes and no intermission, it's a tough slog. Out of sixteen musical numbers, only a handful are musically compelling...Still, though uneven and often heavy-handed, 'The View UpStairs' has some nice moments. Given the important subject matter, one just wishes it worked better as a piece of art." Full Review
See it if You need to be in the space of this play, need to feel the emotion. A poignant reflection of tragedy but also a stunning hope of our future.
Don't see it if You aren't willing to shed a few tears and are not willing to invest in the never ending fight for community, love, acceptance & dignity.
See it if you are interested in the LGBT history, are empathetic, want to have your mind opened and awakened
Don't see it if you absolutely do not want your views to change, are not in the mood for politics
See it if you want something different & unexpected. It's both thoroughly entertaining & thought provoking. Witty, clever lyrics and memorable music.
Don't see it if you don't enjoy intimate venues or one-of-a-kind up-close-&-personal theatrical experiences. Honestly can't think of 1 reason not to see it.
See it if You are interested in learning a piece of LGBTQ history, or you lived through the 70's as a queer person, especially in the south.
Don't see it if Honestly, I don't know why you wouldn't see it.
See it if You want to see a back in time 70's musical about the gay community in New Orleans. Stellar performances.
Don't see it if You're not going to buy the premise of going back in time.
See it if you are interested in a community of LGBT people who are funny, brave, and full of life, despite the horrors they experience with a tragedy.
Don't see it if are uncomfortable with LGBT issues. Yet, as a human being, you can certainly relate to the joys/csorrows the LGBT characters experience.GO!
See it if Immersive theater piece. Well done. Especially good for older LGBT audience, but well done all around. Good songs. Great acting. History.
Don't see it if You have no interest in LGBT work.
See it if You liked "Rent" and a good "pop-rock" soundtrack, you'll love this. Gr8 story-within-a-story. Very emotive. Entertaining' stop small a word
Don't see it if You dislike "historical" pieces, LGBT/drag queens, singing, small stage, SLIGHT immersive theatre. It's a must see. Sad endings. Must see!
See it if You want to see a well crafted musical about a forgotten piece of gay history that is sadly all to relevant even 30+ years later
Don't see it if No reason not to see it unless you can't before it closes soon
See it if You enjoy creative staging, and incredible singing/acting. Also if you like shows examining the LGBT community, and different time periods.
Don't see it if You don't like shows with intense subject material based on true events.
See it if you'd like an intimate show based on a true tragic event in LGBT history, a bit fantastical but endearing with pleasant catchy music
Don't see it if you're unforgiving towards cliches or silly jokes, or not a romantic at heart
Get alerts about your favorite artists and theater companies