Already closed | 1h 45m | East Village

The View UpStairs

From 235 member  reviews
Members say: Entertaining, Relevant, Great singing, Ambitious, Absorbing

About the show

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.


Member Reviews (235)

MEMBERS SAY:

Entertaining, Relevant, Great singing, Ambitious, Absorbing

64
Relevant, Ambitious, Cliched, Edgy, Indulgent

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.

54
Great staging

See it if You love fantastic set design since the set is awesome

Don't see it if You want good acting or to care about the characters, since they are one-dimensional and poorly portrayed.

55
Slow, Great set design, Ambitious, So much potential

See it if you want to see a new off-Broadway musical. This show is worth seeing for the fabulous set design and talented actors.

Don't see it if you don't like shows that try too hard or take the easy way out. This show uses "funny" quips to avoid facing the uncomfortable.

Also Sadly, this show doesn't dig deep enough. It merely skims the surface ... Read more Read less

66
Absorbing, Relevant, Resonant, Thought-provoking, Disappointing

See it if You want to learn about an episode in LGBT history that deserves attention done in an engaging immersive manner

Don't see it if You expect perfection , cast is uneven and not particularly strong vocally . Saw two understudies which may have been the issue

Also They want people to care about the topic and have a great piece in the... Read more Read less

68
Dated, Ambitious, Cliched, Relevant, Slow

See it if you like polyester pants. Or want to support new original work

Don't see it if you expect modern references to actually be modern. Or characters burried in cliche bother you.

62
Disappointing, Great set design, Great lighting, Overrated, Cliched

See it if you like imaginative set design & lighting effects. Compared to the Public Theater's 'Gently Down the Stream' this is a real disappointment.

Don't see it if you don't have comp tickets.

Also To be fair, the night we saw this there were three understudies substi... Read more Read less

60
Great staging, Great singing, Messy, Confusing

See it if you want to see incredible singing, lighting and use of the space.

Don't see it if you're not interested in a lackluster book or an unfocused, messy story.

65
Earnest, Sad, Well meaning, Pleasant

See it if you care to spend 90 minutes at a "fabulous, tacky" gay bar in 1973 New Orleans.

Don't see it if you have no interest in gay history in the post-Stonewall period.

57
Cliched, Resonant, Slow, Trite, Ambitious

See it if you're like me & you enjoy exploring new Off-Broadway musicals, since that's where a lot of risks are taken. This show had a nice message.

Don't see it if you're going to be disappointed by two-dimensional characters, trite thematics & eye-rolling dialogue. This risk doesn't pay off.

Also I enjoyed the staging & the immersive experience. The cast is spirited... Read more Read less

50
Ambitious, Confusing, Banal, Great singing, Slow

See it if You are interested in hearing some truly wonderful songs of love, loss and acceptance. You are a Frenchie Davis fan.

Don't see it if You can't appreciate individual songs and storylines held together by a ridiculous premise that needs some judicious editing

50
Confusing, Cliched, Relevant, Indulgent

See it if You like campy LGBTQ themes, a fun set, decent singing and some decent acting.

Don't see it if You aren't a fan of contrived caricatures and one dimensional characters and "all about me" songs. You are a stickler for accurate accents.

60
Ambitious, Disappointing, Great singing, Thought-provoking

See it if You are a die hard theatre geek. There are some talented folks amongst the cast including Frenchie Davis and T.Frey

Don't see it if Expect a fully rounded product. This falls shy of its target and the lead is weak.

65
Cliched, Dated, Fluffy, Humorous, Great set

See it if you know nothing about the UpStairs Lounge fire and you like poppy musicals.

Don't see it if you want some real history of the event or a memorable or original score.

69
Entertaining, Great singing, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Great acting

See it if you want to know more about gay history and like the idea of spending time in New Orleans.

Don't see it if you hate immersive theatre.

55
Quirky, Cliched, Campy, Indulgent, Great design

See it if Campy humor, gay history, energetic. Fun-house set and a few polished performers.

Don't see it if A revue of second-rate songs about the gay community with an unconvincing story and cliche characters to hold it together.

55
Cliched, Funny, Pedantic, Indulgent

See it if you don't mind some seriously boring lectures with your fun drag show.

Don't see it if you're looking for a coherent or moving gay fantasia. The cast is wildly uneven, songs are forgettable, story is muddled. Swing and a miss.

69
Funny, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if you enjoy shows that are based on an actual event, want to learn a bit of gay history, see actors who perform their hearts out.

Don't see it if you are uncomfortable with seeing gay characters lead their lives, want to see lots of dancing, need a lot of character and plot development

Also Overall I thought the show was enjoyable but it was a little uneven. I... Read more Read less

69
Entertaining, Hilarious, Relevant, Cliched, Ambitious

See it if you are into the LGBT culture and you like glam-rock. There are some great numbers in this show.

Don't see it if you don't like over-the-top acting. The transition from scene to scene felt unbalanced and forceful sometimes.

Also The protagonist of the show is unlikable. As well as some of the other... Read more Read less

60
Cliched, Disappointing, Funny, Great staging, Fluffy

See it if This is essentially a cabaret act using a major historical event in gay culture as an excuse to show off some vocal talent.

Don't see it if If you're looking for the story of the fire at the Upstairs Lounge in New Orleans, it is barely mentioned. Hard to get why the show exists.

59
Loved the set and lights...and that was about all

See it if You love a set that emcompases the theatre making you part of 'the action.' Nathan Lee Graham gives a great monologue... Lighting is great.

Don't see it if You don't like prose set to music, songs are unmemorable, lyrics even worse. Lead actors who can't sing, but look good, Avoid this.

Also The story should be told, it's good...how they tell it is not handled ... Read more Read less

69
Entertaining, Cliched, Funny, Disappointing, Relevant

See it if You want some gay and lesbian history and meet a cast of likeable characters

Don't see it if If you expect singers to be on key and you dont want to be preached at

60
Cliched, repetitive storyline and pat songs obscure the intention to create a rivetting perspective on gay american history

See it if A crisis in the history of gay oppression in America merits your attention, or you want to examine an ambitious new musical.

Don't see it if You need a strong throughline in your musical dramas.

60
Ambitious, Cliched, Disappointing, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if You want to know more about a time in gay history that seems just as relevant today.

Don't see it if You don't want to see & hear just about every gay cliche in the book & if you don't mind good music performed by less than good singers.

60
Confusing, Fluffy, Quirky, Entertaining, Funny

See it if you want to see a bit of gay history imagined in musical form.

Don't see it if you can't get discounted tickets

Also I really liked the subject matter and the actors all did a fine job bu... Read more Read less

50
Cliched, Disappointing, Indulgent

See it if Half the show is well acted and sung with some exciting new songs...

Don't see it if The other half is not strong. The lead is unlikeable as a character and he could not sing the songs written for him the night I saw it.

Also By choosing to focus on modern protagonist, the show cheapens the memo... Read more Read less


March 7th, 2017
“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 dra...
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March 3rd, 2017
"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-st...
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March 3rd, 2017
"'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 ...
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February 28th, 2017
"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 ...
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