The View UpStairs

The View UpStairs

by  Max Vernon

Full Length Musical, Drama  /  8m, 2f

"Vibrant! The View UpStairs is a moving homage to LGBT culture, past and present. The show swells with heart." - Entertainment Weekly
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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    8m, 2f
  • Duration


    105 Minutes
  • SubGenre


  • Accolades


    2 Lortel Award Nominations, 3 Drama Desk Award Nominations, Off-Broadway Alliance Award Nominee for Best Musical
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult

Additional Info

When Wes, a young fashion designer from 2017, buys an abandoned building in the French Quarter of New Orleans, he finds himself transported to the UpStairs Lounge, a vibrant seventies gay bar. As this forgotten community comes to life, Wes embarks on an exhilarating journey of self-exploration that spans two generations of queer history. This smash Off Broadway hit features a gritty, glam rock score and a tight-knit ensemble of unforgettable characters. The View UpStairs asks what has been gained and lost in the fight for equality, and how the past can help guide all of us through an uncertain future.

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  • NOMINEE! 2017 Off-Broadway Alliance Award, Best Musical
    NOMINEE! 2017 Audelco Award, Musical Production


"Frequently moving and unavoidably uplifting!" - AudreyJournal, Sydney

"Vernon’s score, which draws from the period’s disco, soft rock and glam sounds, is solid. Highly theatrical, unexpected and marvelous [...] channels a vintage camp that is all too rare nowadays" - The New York Times, Read More

"A jambalaya of sexed-up tunes [...The View UpStairs has all the ingredients for an iconic cult phonomenon." - EDGE Media, Read More 

"Vibrant! The View UpStairs is a moving homage to LGBT culture, past and present. The show swells with heart.” - Entertainment Weekly, Read More 

"Absorbing, disarming, filled with biting laughs yet deeply moving in the most unexpected ways. The View UpStairs is an ambitious and deliciously dissonant score with excellent and unrelenting material" - Richmond Times-DispatchRead More

"Fantastic...Bursting with DIY camp joy! The View UpStairs is a work with heart and humor." - Time Out Sydney, Read More

"Current, engaging and thought provoking. The View Upstairs is a stunning work that is uplifting and enlightening as it encourages the current generation to keep striving for equality, acceptance and inclusion" - BroadwayWorld, Read More

"[Vernon’s score is] solid, rock-influenced and always delivers generous energy and emotion [...] The View UpStairs is not just about 1973; it’s about today as well." - TheaterJones, Read More


Our Picks For The 2019/20 Season
Lawrence Haynes
January 7, 2019


  • First look at The View UpStairs
  • In rehearsal with The View UpStairs
  • The American Theatre Wing's Theatre Lounge Live with the cast from The View UpStairs
More videos +


Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Professional Theatre
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups


  • Caution Alcohol Alcohol
  • Caution Drugs Drugs
  • Caution Strong Language Strong Language
  • Caution Mild Adult Mild Adult Themes
  • Caution Smoking Smoking

License details

  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.



  • Time Period: Present Day, 1970s
  • Duration: 105 Minutes
  • Setting:

    The UpStairs Lounge, a gay bar in New Orleans, LA.
    The show starts and ends in the present day, the rest takes place back in 1973.

  • Additional Features: No intermission, Stage Combat
  • Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes, Elaborate / High Volume Costumes, Period Costumes


  • Musical Style: Pop/Rock, Contemporary Broadway
  • Vocal Demands: Moderate
  • Orchestra Size: Small/Combo
  • Chorus Size: Small

Song Samples

Some Kind of Paradise
Lost or Found?
What I Did Today
Are You Listening, God?
World Outside These Walls
Completely Overdone
The Future is Great!!!
Waltz (Endless Night)
Sex on Legs
Better Than Silence
Most Important Thing
Crazy Notion
Theme Song
And I Wish
The View UpStairs


8m, 2f

WES - (mid-late 20's) 20-something fashion designer from the current day. Self-consciously hip, prematurely jaded, and perpetually anxious. Wes wears a fabulous facade, but deep down harbors real insecurities and dissatisfaction with his life. Has never experienced real tragedy or love.
PATRICK - (early 20's) Young, runaway hustler who projects innocence and fragility, but is a lot tougher than he appears. Patrick creates fantastic, imaginative stories to distract from the harsher realities of his life. Has the ability to see a vulnerability and sweetness in Wes.
BUDDY - (50's) The resident piano player of the UpStairs Lounge. Charismatic, but also very temperamental and somewhat bitter. Loves the attention he commands within the community, but also resents being stuck in it. Dreams of one day being a big star, but knows it will never happen. Closeted, with a wife. 
WILLIE - (40's-60's, black) Holdover from another era of gay life with a more camp sensibility. Might know all the secrets of the universe, might be in the early stages of dementia. 
HENRI - (30's-40's) Tough as nails, no-nonsense, old school butch. Henri is the bartender of the UpStairs Lounge and runs a tight ship. Although she comes across as a bit severe, she cares very deeply for the community within the bar. 
FREDDY - (20's-30's, latino) A construction worker by day, Freddy also doubles as the drag queen Aurora Whorealis by night. Big personality, energetic, and bright. A close friend to Willie and on good terms with everyone else in the bar.  
INEZ/REALTOR - (late 40's-60's, latino) Freddy's mother and also occasionally a mother to the other men in the UpStairs Lounge. Born in Puerto Rico, she moved her family to America when Freddy was still young. Lovable, warm, and supportive, Inez assists with her son's drag performances. As realtor, she is smarmy, fake, smiles too much, etc. 
RICHARD - (40's) Priest of the Metropolitan Community Church. Perhaps more conservative than other patrons in the bar, but level-headed and warm. 
DALE - (30's-40's) Arsonist. Sensitive and more radical in his sexual politics. A raw nerve and someone who's experienced a good deal of hardship at society's hand. 
COP - (30's-40's) In the past the cop is a corrupt, homophobic, and violent. In the present, the cop is still stern, but has a sense of humor, and seems to be in service of justice. 
*OPTIONAL* ENSEMBLE/CHORUS - Other patrons in the bar who round out the community. It is also possible to have the character of Richard played by a woman, in which case please use the name Rita Mae.

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Cast Attributes

  • Role(s) for Asian Actor(s)
  • Role(s) for Black Actor(s)
  • Role(s) for Latino Actor(s)
  • Ensemble cast
  • Non-Traditional casting
  • Cross gender casting
  • Drag performance
  • Local Celebrity Cameo
  • Multicultural casting
  • Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)

Casting Notes

It is possible to have the character of Richard played by a woman, in which case please use the name Rita Mae.

While there is no specific race/ethnicity indicated for Wes or Patrick, the author encourage theaters where possible to employ diverse casting and not end up with two white leads. 


Rehearsal Resources

Music Material Rental Packages Glyphs / UI / Tooltip

Full Package

11 Piano Conductor Scores

1 Drums
1 Guitar 1
1 Guitar 2
1 Bass

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Keyboard Patches

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Max Vernon

Max Vernon is a composer/lyricist, playwright, and performer. Described by the New Yorker as "equal parts bohemia and Broadway," Max's work has been performed and developed at Ars Nova, Actors Theatre of Louisville (Wondrous Strange, Humana Festival 2016), Berkeley Rep, Dixon Place, Disney Creative Entertainment, Goods ...

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The View UpStairs premiered in production by Invisible Wall Production at the Lynn Redgrave Theatre in New York City in February 2017 under the direction of Scott Ebersold.

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