Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-07-18
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

THEATER REVIEW The View UpStairs
by Jonathan Abarbanel, Windy City Times
2018-07-04

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Playwright: Max Vernon ( book, music & lyrics )

At: Circle Theatre at Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway. Tickets: CircleTheatreChicago.org; $30. Runs through: July 22

The smart, dense lyrics are this show's best element. They convey much more information about the characters and tell more of the story than most show lyrics. You'll be rewarded if you pay attention to them.

The music isn't compelling, but it's pleasant pop/rock that gets the job done with several solid ballads, an anthem and numbers that knowingly channel early-1970s disco classics per the 1973 New Orleans setting.

The weakest element is the book, which is too generic. We are in the Upstairs Lounge, a French Quarter gay bar torched in 1973 with a loss of 32 lives ( some never identified ). But this musical isn't about the fire or its aftermath; it's about the regulars in the bar that night.

What you get is akin to a World War II movie platoon: one of everything. There's a leatherman, a hippie twink, a Puerto Rican drag artist and his mother, a hustler, a loner, a married piano player on the DL, a Lesbian bar owner, etc. Some tell their stories ( mostly in song ), others do not, and most bemoan the still-benighted early 1970s when being identified as gay could cost you career, friends, marriage and maybe your life. The cops were hostile, yet also "on the take."

The problem is none of this is unique to New Orleans. These characters and the social context easily could be Chicago ( even though Illinois decriminalized homosexuality in 1962 ) or any American city of that era. Author Max Vernon doesn't make The View Upstairs and its characters specific to New Orleans or the colorful French Quarter with its long, storied history as a gay mecca.

Vernon wisely engineers a love story between a fashionista from today who time travels back to that fatal night at the Upstairs, and a handsome hustler. Improbable as it is, the relationship between Wes ( Kevin Webb ) and Patrick ( Averis L. Anderson ) provides focus and an emotional hook for the audience. Coming from 2018, Wes also assures us that "It Gets Better."

Book, music and lyrics aside, this production sparkles with energy and high-caliber talent. Webb's powerful high baritone and Anderson's sweet tenor lead a fine ensemble under director Derek Van Barham and music director Jeff Bouthiette ( who also acts/sings as piano player Buddy ). Jon Martinez provides strong choreography, working around an on-stage piano nearly dead-center ( not the best design idea ) and providing wonderful, small moves for many of the songs. The fine six-piece band is conducted by Justin Harner, and never overpowers in the intimate theater.

The Upstairs Lounge fire was a horrific LGBTQ event in which New Orleans' first responders and political and religious leadership totally failed their citizenry, perhaps from bigotry ... but that's not this show's story.


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Milly's Orchid Show Summer Musical Spectacular Extravaganza July 21 2018-07-18 - ( Chicago, IL ) Celebrating it's 30th year the variety show Milly's Orchid Show is thrilled to announce it's "Summer Musical Spectacular"—a one-night-only ...


Gay News

THEATER South Side native comes home for 'The Color Purple' 2018-07-18 - South Side native Carla R. Stewart looks to Rihanna when summing up Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning 1982 novel "The Color Purple." "It's ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Pamplona 2018-07-18 - Playwright: Jim McGrath At: Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St. Tickets: GoodmanTheatre.org; 312-443-3800. Runs through: Aug. 19 Stacy Keach tried to ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Topdog/Underdog 2018-07-18 - Playwright: Suzan-Lori Parks At: Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre, 927 Noyes St., Evanston. Tickets: $15; Noyes Cultural Center; 847-866-5915. Runs through: July 29 In the ...


Gay News

Critic's Picks 2018-07-18 - Support Group for Men, Goodman Theatre, through July 29. These are confusing times for everyone, but Ellen Fairey doesn't neglect the other half ...


Gay News

SPOTLIGHT Bus Stop 2018-07-18 - In Bus Stop, director Steve Scott takes on William Inge's classic about a bus stranded by a snow storm and the group of ...


Gay News

Ysaguirre named new Court Theatre ED 2018-07-18 - Angel Ysaguirre has been appointed executive director of the University of Chicago's Court Theatre, effective Sept. 4. Ysaguirre will join Marilyn F. Vitale ...


Gay News

Emanuel announces plan to reopen Uptown Theatre 2018-07-18 - Recently, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined Ald. James Cappleman, Jam Productions and Farpoint Development to announce Chicago's Uptown Theatre will be restored and ...


Gay News

'Carnaval of New Latinx Work' July 19-21 2018-07-18 - The Latinx Theatre Commons ( LTC ) is presenting the 2018 LTC Carnaval of New Latinx Work ( Carnaval 2018: ConeXion! )—featuring readings ...


Gay News

THEATER Medieval morality makeover 'Everybody' at Pride Arts Center 2018-07-18 - A 2018 Pulitzer Prize finalist for drama, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' Everybody is a modern retelling of the 15th-century morality play Everyman, an allegory where ...


 



Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.