Bonnie Milligan, Brittain Ashford, and More to Join Max Vernon at Joe's Pub

By: Feb. 08, 2019

Bonnie Milligan, Brittain Ashford, and More to Join Max Vernon at Joe's Pub

Max Vernon will continue his first ever residency at Joe's Pub, Existential Life Crisis Lullaby, on Tuesday, February 26 at 7:00 PM. Following three sold out shows last year, he returns with special guests Bonnie Milligan, Larry Owens, Kenita R. Miller, Brittain Ashford, and Jaime Cepero. The spring shows, all directed by Ellie Heyman, will return onTuesday nights, March 19, and April 23. Vernon received the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical, three Drama Desk Award nominations, a Jonathan Larson Grant and the Richard Rodgers Award for his musicals The View UpStairs and KPOP, both of which had critically-acclaimed extended Off-Broadway runs last year. KPOP is planning a major new production later this year. Following a sold-out debut at the Kennedy Center in 2017, Vernon has returned to the New York nightclub stage for an exclusive engagement of high spectacle, high fashion, and high belted F sharps.

"I feel as if I've been mounting the queer downtown version of The Rockettes special on the Joe's Pub stage" says Max. "With 30 homemade couture costumes, iconic performers such as Tonya Pinkins, Alice Ripley, Ethan Slater, Mary Testa, Robin De Jesus, Daphne Rubin-Vega and more. Now, for the next three shows, I want to show the audience the grit hidden underneath the glitter; to tell my personal story as an artist and the experiences that lead me to writing for the theatre."

In addition to his acclaimed musicals, the residency previews his newest work The Tattooed Lady (written with Obie Award-winning playwright Erin Courtney) alongside other previously-unheard material. Each show has a different set list. Featuring a cast of Broadway stars, Downtown divas and the next generation of household names, Existential Life Crisis Lullaby is a celebration of tattooed ladies, Korean pop stars, 70's queer culture, the apocalypse, sentient robots, aging club kids, homicidal hipster cults, and true love.

Max Vernon, who has emerged as a singular and eccentric voice in the world of musical theatre, was called "a provocative and exciting talent in contemporary musical theater" by The Huffington Post. He is a three time Drama Desk nominee, "Out 100" Honoree, and recipient of the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical, Richard Rodgers Award, Jonathan Larson Grant, New York Stage and Film's Founders Award, New York Foundation of the Arts Fellowship, and the JFund Award from the Jerome Foundation. He has been a Dramatist Guild Theatre Fellow, MacDowell Fellow, and an artist in residence at Berkeley Rep, Ars Nova, Kimmel Center (via The Public Theater), Disney Creative Entertainment, and Rhinebeck Writer's Retreat, among others. His musical, The View UpStairs, ran 105 performances Off-Broadway and will have ten new productions around the world in 2018-2019; original cast recording on Broadway Records. His other musical, KPOP, enjoyed a sold-out, extended run at Ars Nova this past October and was the most nominated Off-Broadway show of the 2017-2018 season. Notable concert performances include the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Joe's Pub, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

In a rave review of The View UpStairs, The New York Times stated "Mr. Vernon's score, which draws from the period's disco, soft rock and glam sounds, is solid, channel[ing] a vintage camp that is all too rare nowadays." The New Yorker praised its "sad, beautiful love songs performed by a soulful ensemble cast." According to Entertainment Weekly, "The View UpStairs is ultimately a moving homage to LGBT culture, past and present." Reviewing KPOP, New York Magazine said, "by the time the finale of KPOP comes around, if you're not bopping along to the splashy, buoyant pop tunes by Max Vernon, well ... maybe you don't like puppies or rainbows either." Billboard exclaimed, "KPOP, like the music it's named after, explores a wide range of genres and artistic interpretations. The show weaves dozens of bilingual songs into the plot, including a finale performance that features a stand out or two that could easily compete on Korean music charts."

Max Vernon: Existential Life Crisis Lullaby will return to Joe's Pub on Tuesday nights, February 26, March 19, and April 23, all at 7:00 PM. Tickets are $20 each. The venue is located in The Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street (between East 4th and Astor Place) NYC. For tickets call (212) 967-7555 from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM or visit, or visit in person at The Public Theater Box Office at 425 Lafayette Street from 2:00 PM daily. There is a $12 food / two (2) drink minimum per person per show, unless otherwise noted.

Joe's Pub, named for The Public Theater's founder Joe Papp, opened in 1998 and plays a vital role in The Public's mission of supporting young artists while providing established artists with an intimate space to perform and develop new work. Under the new leadership of Director Alex Knowlton, this fall begins Joe's Pub's 20th Anniversary Season of presenting the best in live music and performance nightly, committed to diversity, production values, community and artistic freedom. The venue also offers opportunities like New York Voices, an artist commissioning program that provides musicians resources and tools to develop original theater works; Joe's Pub Working Group, an artist development initiative; The Vanguard Award & Residency, a yearlong series that celebrates the career of a prolific and influential artist, who leads their own artistic community; and nationwide programming partnerships. Commissioned artists include Mx Justin Vivian Bond, Bridget Everett, Daniel Alexander Jones, Ethan Lipton, Toshi Reagon, Allen Toussaint and more. The venue's food and beverage partner is NoHo Hospitality Group, helmed by acclaimed chef Andrew Carmellini. With its intimate atmosphere and superior acoustics, Joe's Pub presents talent from all over the world as part of The Public's programming downtown at its Astor Place home, hosting approximately 800 shows and serving over 100,000 audience members annually.

Photo by Roberto Araujo