Wednesday
Mar082017

The Holy Gay Quad: RuPaul, Charles Busch, Stephen Trask, Justin Vivian Bond

My favorite queer human

My favorite queer playwright

My favorite queer musical composer

and my favorite queer cabaret artist

These 4 have impacted and influenced my life in ways they'll likely never know or beyond what I could articulate to them, so all I can say is that this seal of approval from my queer elders is everything to me. Haters & homophobes, sashay away.

Wednesday
Mar082017

The View UpStairs gets <3 from New York Times & New Yorker

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/07/theater/the-view-upstairs-review.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Ftheater&action=click&contentCollection=theater&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=sectionfront

Elizabeth Vincentelli wrote an awesome review of The View UpStairs for the New York Times. Considering it is my first time ever being reviewed by the Gray Lady, I couldn't be more elated & relieved. I'm so proud of the ensemble cast for killing it night after night; it feels great to see them rewarded for their hard work and talent. Nathan Lee Graham, in particular gets an entire PARAGRAPH! It's not news to those who know me, but Nathan's been something of a muse of mine for the last 6 years- I wrote the role of Willie for him knowing he'd chew through every single cunty quip, but a PARAGRAPH? That's how good he is in this show. Attention must be paid, so take heed future legendary children!

While the review is very complimentary & positive, it's not "let's part the skies and have Jesus come down and hand Max the holy f*cking grail" bc it reflects the show I wanted to write, and then wrote. None of the characters who inhabit this world are perfect, and I didn't set out to write a pristine traditional book musical with all the loose threads tied up. Growing up as a misfit and an outcast, I gravitated towards the imperfect, flawed, fascinating, vibrant, queer, cult musicals - shows like Hedwig, Rocky Horror, Follies, Hair. I hope some future artfag 12 years from now discovers the cast recording and sees our production photos & it opens up a whole world to them.

But hey that's not all! Erik Piepenburg of The New York Times also wrote an incredible feature story on The View UpStairs and the nature of pre-AIDS queer spaces being represented in theatre. I got quoted calling Trump a "would be dictator" and then theatre-legend and queer hero Harvey Fierstein, referred to me & set designer Jason Sherwood as "young kids doing archeological work." digging up the past to learn our roots.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/03/theater/gay-histories-close-enough-to-touch-but-dont.html

Then to cap it off, The New Yorker wrote this fab review for Goings On About Town!!

"colorful, fun, camp, thoughtful, with beautiful sad love songs performed by a soulful ensemble cast."

I could have daaaaaaaanced all night! I could have daaaaaaaanced all night!<3

Monday
Mar062017

The View UpStairs hits New York!! Opening Night Madness & Magic

The last month has been absolutely INSANE. Somehow after 5 weeks of rehearsal flew by, not withstanding the crazy health emergency of Kidney Stones which landed me in the ER (more on that here: https://www.yesbroadway.com/newsandfeatures/maxvernon) we somehow MADE IT through a wild collaborative generative process and created (I think!) a beautiful ensemble piece that honors some forgotten heroes in queer history.

Out Magazine, Logo, Huffington Post, & Daily Beast wrote these awesome feature articles on The View UpStairs:

http://www.out.com/theater-dance/2017/2/24/composer-max-vernon-reclaiming-theaters-subversive-power-view-upstairs-soundtrack

http://www.newnownext.com/the-view-upstairs-musical-off-broadway/02/2017/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-view-upstairs-off-broadway_us_58a4d87fe4b07602ad51757a

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/02/28/how-the-view-upstairs-recalls-the-forgotten-gay-disco-inferno-that-killed-32.html

also did a few podcast/radio interviews along the way with Derek & Romaine, This Show is So Gay (http://thisshowissogay.com/node/905), and Gay Today podcast:

*AND THEN* The View UpStairs opened on feb 28th (Mardi Gras) @ the Lynn Redgrave Theatre. So far we've had 22 performances & 22 standing ovations, with nearly 3000 guests visiting our UpStairs Lounge! We had some badass bitches come during previews- Michael Korie, Polly Pen, Kirsten Childs, Marti Gould Cummings, Pixie Aventura, Milk of Drag Race, Atlanta's Zazie Beetz, 2 name just a few...

But opening night was magical- Randy Jones of the Village People, Justin Bond, Nellie McKay, Stephen Flaherty, Emily Skeggs, Charles Busch, Randy Harrison, Mary Testa, Annie Golden, Robin de Jesus, Murray Bartlett, and Thorgy Thor were there!

I served some Mardi Gras meets Rauscheberg realness in this couture custom blazer made by textile genius Daniel Chimowitz (thank you Daniel!) Here with my main squeeze, Chris Peak! <3

and the muse, Nathan Lee Graham.

with mentor Charles Busch (via the Dramatist Guild Theatre Fellowship) and director Carl Andress.

I like to call this one "When Fagtime met Ragtime"

And the crowd was **LIVING**

And then we kept the party going after with Randy Jones, my favorite cowboy.

The party was absolutely LIT. I decided my gift to the cast/crew was going to be to buy 50 brooches and then lay them out on a table and have people take the ones they felt called to. At the after party seeing everyone in their crazy bedazzled & bejeweled brooches I felt like we were some kind of alien gay mafia. I think for every future production I have I'll have to continue this tradition. Bitches need sparkly accessories, and I intend to provide.

In all seriousness, I can't believe we finally have a real Playbill, with a "Have You Seen It?" Page in the back. I can't believe any of this is happening!! It took 5 years to get to this moment from page to stage, and I'm just doing the best I can to be present, enjoy a few cocktails with friends, and take it all in. Wow. WTF.

 

Friday
Feb032017

The View Upstairs Footage, Concert @ The Center, & Rehearsal Photos

It's been a crazy busy & exciting week for The View UpStairs. We had our press preview event a few days ago  and Theatermania filmed this wonderful video of the cast sangin' the house down.

Playbill was also on hand to take a few lovely photos: 

http://www.playbill.com/gallery/photos-in-rehearsal-with-frenchie-davis-nathan-lee-graham-and-the-cast-of-the-view-upstairs?slide=0

At the presentation I felt like I was serving throwback Prince glam, but upon peeping the photo evidence I'm now thinking it was more like Sante Fe middle-aged woman from the knitting circle treks to Lilith Fair to see the Indigo Girls :P

Then we gave a sold out preview concert at the LGBT Center, which also included a talkback with panelists such as GLAAD's Ross Murray, Nightlife/Downtown Journalist Legend Michael Musto, and yours truly looking like a gay keebler elf meets hell's angel meets 20's flapper on a coke bender.

 

 

 

 

How do I unwind from this madness? Well, in the true spirit of The View UpStairs, I go to gay bars and watch lesbians conquer fascism by fingering each other in public. Take that Trump!
Thursday
Jan262017

The View UpStairs on Towleroad & Queerty

Two of my favorite Queer blogs have shared exclusives on The View UpStairs

Queerty has some behind the scenes photos of our two leading men, Taylor Frey and Jeremy Pope- blessed with brains, beauty, and belting.

and Towleroad has a video interview with me and dir. Scott Ebersold talking about the show and a bit of the history surrounding the UpStairs Lounge.

Check it out!