THE VIEW UPSTAIRS
Celebration Theatre @ The Lex
Los Angeles, CA
Opens: September 29, 2017
Closes: October 29, 2017
The West Coast Premiere of A New Musical by Max Vernon
Directed by Michael A. Shepperd
Music Direction by Jake Anthony
Choreography by Cate Caplin
Produced by Andrew Carlberg and Jay Marcus
A hit off-broadway where it closed in May, THE VIEW UPSTAIRS by Max Vernon is a gripping, heartfelt and provocative new musical that pulls you inside the world of historic 70s New Orleans bar The UpStairs Lounge. This forgotten community comes to life when a young fashion designer from 2017 buys the abandoned space, setting off an exhilarating journey of seduction and self-exploration that Entertainment Weekly calls “a moving homage to LGBT culture, past and present.” Filled with “beautiful love songs” (The New Yorker), it’s “an eye-popping roller coaster for the visual senses” with “all of the ingredients for an iconic cult phenomenon!” (Edge Media Network). Directed by multi-Ovation Award-winning director Michael A. Shepperd (Celebration’s THE BOY FROM OZ).
"It’s Celebration Theatre, which, ipso facto, means the actors are good. And the director is Michael A. Shepperd, which means those good actors work hard and give it their all. With the assistance of period-appropriate choreography by Cate Caplin, vibrant music direction by Mr. Anthony, a terrific set by Alex Calle and lighting by Martha Carter, and first-rate costumes by Michael Mullen – a special shout-out for the ghostly-elegant final outfits – Mr. Shepperd has created an energetic and heartfelt production which crackles along and almost manages to overcome the weaknesses of the script and score."
GLITTER AND BE GAY IN 1973
REVIEW: THE VIEW UPSTAIRS
BY RYAN M. LUÉVANOEarlier this month I interviewed Max Vernon, the creator of the new musical The View Upstairs, that’s currently having its West Coast premiere at Celebration Theatre. About his show, Vernon said, “The musical [. . .] contrasts two different eras of gay life, and questions if we’re better or worse off today than we were 40 years ago.” Upon watching his musical, both as consequence of Vernon’s writing, and Michael Shepperd’s meticulous direction that instills contemporary savoir-faire, there is no doubt that Vernon’s query soundly resonates with audiences. "
"Under Michael A. Shepperd’s direction the action has a nice flow and he always manages to keep the audience interested in what is transpiring. Anthony doubles as music director, leading his four piece onstage band. Vernon has written some lively melodies but his lyrics though are pedestrian and most songs sound more like underscored dialogue rather than true songs."
"The west coast premiere of THE VIEW UPSTAIRS bursts with a high-energied hodge-podge of some great vocals, charming performances and wonderfully executed choreography. The charismatic Darren Bluestone owns his role as the confident Patrick. Bluestone's stage presence, vocal chops and easy dance moves become quite evident in his first solo, "What I Did Today." Bluestone's Patrick and Hancock's Wes' initial flirtation scene very convincingly HOT!"
"It's right to look back on the way being gay used to be. We may learn a lesson or two about community and love from past events as in The View UpStairs, evenly directed by Michael A. Shepperd and beautifully acted by a terrific ensemble."
"The thirty-four gay bar patrons who lost their lives in the 1973 arson attack on New Orleans’ UpStairs Lounge deserve far better than Max Vernon’s corny, clichéd The View UpStairs,"
"Director Michael A. Shepperd delivers a lively, colorful and fast-paced production. And he has assembled a terrific ensemble. Particularly noteworthy are Bluestone as Patrick, Boyd as Henri, Lilly as Willie, Rivera as the athletic Freddy, and Savino as the tolerant and resourceful Inez. Alex Calle designed the evocative set; Jake Anthony lent expert musical direction while performing as well as leading the able and enthusiastic band. - RECOMMENDED"