Excruciating Pain With An Off-Broadway Debut Next Week? Max Vernon Powers Through.

By Gianluca Russo

The phrase “The show must go on!” has never meant more to Max Vernon, who wrote the new musical The View UpStairs. With only eight days left until the first performance Off-Broadway, Max found himself rushing to the emergency room with the worst pain he had ever experienced. “I saw stars, my eyes popped out of my head Looney Tunes style and I fell to my knees...I was pretty much convinced I was having a Jonathan Larson moment” he says. At the hospital, he heard something that no one with a show opening in a week wants to hear: he has kidney stones.

Tech rehearsals (which are notoriously exhausting for everyone involved) were starting and Max seemed to be completely out of commission. "It's really crucial for me to see how lighting and costumes and sets are affecting my storytelling before the audience gets here and I had all these live radio interviews scheduled, and our first invited dress [rehearsal] is this weekend, so there's no time to be bedridden." 

With a bottle of Percocet and a whole lot of Enya on repeat (to help encourage his flow), Max is taking advice from his own script to keep powering through. “One character in The View UpStairs has a line ‘I gave my debut performance in the Metropolitan Opera only a few hours after being stabbed in the neck. Did I complain?’ Another performs a drag show shortly after being assaulted. So, I'm taking inspiration from my own characters.”

In what we imagine as a "Corky, We Love You!" Waiting For Guffman moment, Max’s cast and team have been extremely kind and caring during this time...though he jokes that other friends "just want me to share my Oxys!”

The View UpStairs is a new musical about a young fashion designer who buys the abandoned UpStairs Lounge, a gay bar located in New Orleans that flourished in the 1970s. The show explores themes such as seduction, self-exploration, uncertainty of the future and the fight for equality. Performances begin February 14 Off-Broadway.

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  Photo: Frederic Lagrange Photography

Photo: Frederic Lagrange Photography