Review: The View UpStairs Off-Broadway at Cultural Project2 min read

The View UpStairs: A Cast Change Stumbles Down Those Very Stairs.

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Michael Longoria, Frenchie Davis, Ben Mayne, Randy Redd. Photo by Kurt Sneddon.

The View UpStairs: A Cast Change Stumbles Down Those Very Stairs.

By Ross

There’s a lovely sweet and sour story enmeshed in Max Vernon’s The View UpStairs. About our creation of family and love to battle the forces of hate and intolerance. Sadly it is lost somewhere behind the heavy handed book by Vernon and the over the top direction by Scott Ebersold. What happened that night in New Orleans is a tragedy, but it was one that I had never heard before this year. The tale was entered into my consciousness, surprisingly, by a different play currently being performed at the Public Theatre a few blocks north from the Lynn Redgrave Theater at Culture Project where The View UpStairs is currently. Gently Down the Stream, the new play by Martin Sherman starring a warm Harvey Fierstein telling us about some moments in gay history as seen through the eyes of his character, a mid-60’s gay man from Louisiana. And one of the stories being told is that night at the UpStairs gay bar in the French Quarter of New Orleans. His telling is heart-breaking and completely captivating, so I had high hopes for this show.

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Jeremy Pope, Ben Mayne, Nathan Lee Graham, Benjamin Howes, Taylor Frey. Photo by Kurt Sneddon.
This new musical attempts to give us a peek into that bar, and the gay community that frequent gathered there. It’s a very different time being presented.  A time engagingly represented by the energetic number, ‘The World Outside These Walls‘ that tells of about the dangers being gay in 1973 New Orleans. It’s not a pretty picture, as anyone on the older side of twenty can tell you. Gay rights were just a dream, with most of these people trying desperately to survive the homophobic streets of the quarter. But the UpStairs Bar is a safe place, mostly, where one can gather and relax and express themselves freely. It’s a wild assortment that have gathered on that fateful night, but I never would have guessed the twist that this musical has coming up next. (for the full review: click here)
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Taylor Frey. Photo by Kurt Sneddon.
Posted on May 1, 2017
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