Taylor Frey and Jeremy Pope
Accompanied Damian to a preview performance of "The View UpStairs," a new production inspired by the 1973 UpStairs Lounge arson attack in New Orleans that left 32 dead and 15 injured. Although the crime was the deadliest attack on a gay bar in U.S. history until the 2016 massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., it has only recently been widely covered as the homophobic climate in the South at the time led news organizations and law enforcement to minimize or ignore the gruesome event. Although regular readers know I am allergic to musicals, Max Vernon has penned and scored an inventive and layered show that uses the setting of the tragedy -- and its colorful cast of regulars -- to examine where the LGBT community was and where we are now, a distinction that seemed monumental until Nov. 8, 2016. I abhor spoilers and reviews that give scene-by-scenes plot details, but I can say that this negative nelly came away from the show a fan, impressed by the cast (Frenchie Davis and Nathan Lee Graham shine at the bar's butch owner and resident diva, respectively) and direction (Scott Ebersold), which may well leave you taking stock of the LGBT movement as a whole. Tickets for the Lynn Redgrave Theater are available HERE. Damian's thoughtful piece for The Daily Beast is HERE.