Hulu’s ‘Up Here’ is a musical romantic comedy series that follows the story of Lindsay and Miguel. She moves to New York City with the dream of becoming a writer. He is an investment banker working hard to rise the ladder, but his heart isn’t quite in it. They instantly bond with each other in their first meeting. Both have feelings for one another, but the voices inside their heads make things more complicated than they should be.
Created by Steven Levenson, the show focuses on the character’s characters’ internal conflicts, showing how self-doubt and overthinking can stop people from exploring their full potential. This is something that most people can relate to, which makes the story and the characters seem very realistic. If you are wondering whether ‘Up Here’ is based on real events, here’s what you should know.
Is Up Here a True Story?
No, ‘Up Here’ is not a true story. It is based on the 2015 stage musical of the same name by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, who have also written the original music for the Hulu series. The Oscar-winning duo, who first met in 1999 at a workshop for musical theatre, had the concept of the story in their mind for a long time. Anderson-Lopez said that the story is about finding one’s soulmate. For Lopez, it was about what goes on inside people’s heads. “There are a lot of songs and emotion and yearning going on in everyone’s head that you never get to see…what about a show like that?” he said.
The plan to make the series was put in motion during the pandemic when Thomas Kail started looking for something that could be made for television. Lopez and Anderson-Lopez put forward the idea of ‘Up Here.’ Before they knew it, Levenson and Sanchez-Witzel were on board to write the script, and Sonya Tayeh joined as choreographer. They all planned the whole thing over Zoom, which Levenson called a “strange experience.”
In its original version, which was performed on stage, the story focused on one character. In the TV version, we follow Lindsay and Miguel and find out what’s going on inside their heads to lead them to certain decisions. The story was originally told from the perspective of the male character. This is one of the significant changes made in the Hulu adaptation.
Danielle Sanchez-Witzel, who serves as co-writer with Levenson, said that while the Broadway music inspired them, they wanted to make the TV show its own thing. “We took themes from the stage show, but we gave it its own characters and its own story. The theme of… can you ever really know someone or can you really be known, came from that. It was a big overarching theme we wanted to use in the series,” she said.
Because the story is set in 1999, the writers could get into the complications in Lindsay and Miguel’s romance because social media didn’t exist back then. “Things were just different then. You really had to make an effort to meet people, to get to know people. We weren’t just texting each other,” Sanchez-Witzel says. The show uses the scenario to delve into questions about past and identity and how much of ourselves we are willing to show to others.
“We want the show to tell a love story that really asks: ‘Are people capable of moving on from their pasts? Are we capable of moving on from our own insecurities, our own blind spots, and really seeing another person, and letting ourselves be seen by somebody?’” Levenson said. In the end, however, the creators of ‘Up Here’ want “people to know that they’re not alone.” While it is a fictional story, everyone can relate to the different voices inside their head, which create a tug-of-war every time a decision needs to be made. This gives a relatable touch to the story, grounding it in reality despite it being a musical rom-com.
Read More: Where is Hulu’s Up Here Filmed?