See it if Interesting historical imagining on real LGBT tragedy. Great staging, costumes. Ensemble songs are great & fun. Touching for the most part.
Don't see it if The mains actor is excruciatingly unlikable. An overdone cliched performance. Acoustics are not the best. Some lyrics get lost. Read more
See it if You like LGBT themed shows. The staging &set design are great and immerse you into the setting & there are some great musical numbers
Don't see it if The lead character is unfortunately not likable and some of the actors are not on the same level. It could also use 15min of trimming.
See it if You lived through the plague years or have an interest in musicals with a big heart that take on politics and civil rights. Great staging.
Don't see it if You don't like an "informal" setting. This is not interactive or immersive but very cleverly staged so you are right there in it.
See it if you like to learn about an historical event and be entertained by a hard working cast.
Don't see it if you cannot relate to a story being told with present day intervention.
See it if you're interested in forgotten events in LGBTQ history, curious how a real tragedy is musicalized, like stories about close communities
Don't see it if you don't like unremarkable music and passable lyrics in a rock vein, LGBTQ characters as retro-cliches and victims, predictable plots Read more
See it if Vibrant musical slice of gay history well told (despite tragic ending) Book a little shakey but ultimately holds up Lead couple endearing
Don't see it if One or two songs less would tighten dramatic flow & supporting characters could be more finely drawn Set is a knockout but hinders dancing
See it if you're into LGBTQ themes, gay history (stories inspired by real events), and immersive theatre.
Don't see it if you can't stand it when a theme bludgeons you over the head. The writing is super heavy-handed. No subtlety. Loud and proud, I guess.
See it if you enjoy musical theatre that is on the amateurish level. The actors work hard, but they are let down by an awful book.
Don't see it if you like a strong book and strong songs to carry the evening. This show does not have either.
“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."
"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."
"'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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
“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.”