Theatre has a way of providing comfort and culture, this especially present in the Off-Broadway musical, The View Upstairs, by Invisible Walls Productions. The show explores comfort and refuge within a gay bar. And although the role and placement of gay bars have changed–some used solely as a safe haven and spaces of solidarity–The View Upstairs takes a journey in time to evaluate the losses and gains in the fight for equality.
Based on a true, haunting story of an arsonist killing 32 people within the LGBT community in 1973 New Orleans (the biggest massacre to happen to the community until the recent Orlando night club shooting), a recent college grad decides to buy the old bar. When he is alone, the cast comes to life with an array of colorful characters. From a pianist to a bar stool sermon preacher. The show made its debut, February 15, 2017, at the Lynn Redgrave Theater, directed by Scott Ebersold.
The cast includes Jeremy Pope (Invisible Thread), Taylor Frey (How to Succeed…), Nathan Lee Graham (Priscilla Queen of the Desert), Frenchie Davis (Rent), Benjamin Howes (Scandalous), Michael Longoria (Jersey Boys), Ben Mayne, Randy Redd (Million Dollar Quartet), Nancy Ticotin, Richard E. Waits, Anthony Alfaro, and April Ortiz.
With book, music, and lyric by Max Vernon, “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.”
The show runs until May 21, 2017, and despite its limited run, the story remains a time capsule for a thriving culture.
Purchase ticket at The View Upstairs.