A Letter to Harvey Milk The Musical is playing at a Theatre Row located at 410 West 42nd Street. The musical runs one hour thirty-five minutes with no intermission. It closes on May 13, 2018.
The play is based on the short story “A Letter to Harvey Milk” by Leslea Newman.
Harvey Milk was the first openly gay elected official in San Francisco. He was born May 22, 1930 in Woodmere, N. Y. Harvey moved to San Francisco in 1972 and was assassinated on November 12, 1978.
The place is San Francisco, Spring 1986.
Harry Weinstein (Adam Hellner) is alone in bed clutching a notebook. There is a sad look on his face. He is dozing off when sees his wife Frannie (Cheryl Stein). Harry is surprised since she has been dead for six years. He tells her he was at the Jewish Community center and signed up to take a writing class. Harry was a kosher butcher and doesn’t know if he can write. Frannie is on stage as his conscious. She keeps questioning him about the jar of jelly beans in the house.
The instructor is Barbara Katsef (Julia Knitel). She encourages Harry to write every day and gives him assignments on what to write. The one he did “A Letter to Harvey Milk” impress her that she asks it if it’s ok to publish it. As she comes to know more about Harry she opens up to him about herself. She tells him she is from Connecticut and is Jewish. When she came out to her parents she was gay they were very upset. That's when she decided to come to San Francisco. Harvey Milk was her inspiration.
Harry met Harvey Milk (Michael Bartoh) when he came into his butcher store. The bottle of jelly beans was for Harvey. Harry went to Harvey camera store. They became friends.
Barbara tell’s Harry she had an intimate relationship with someone “Lover” (Aury Krebs) but it did not work out.
We learn more about the characters. In 1986 no one was open about being gay for fear of retaliation.
Barbara again asks him permission to publish his “Letter to Harvey Milk”. It would be publish in a gay/lesbian magazine. She shows him their symbol, an upside down pink triangle. That triggers of a memory of something that happen to him a long time ago that he wanted to forget. He lets her publish the letter.
It’s a little slow in the beginning. But as the pieces fall together it gets better. This is a touching story of people who just want to be who they are honestly without hassle from anyone including family.
The cast does a remarkable job. Michael Bartoli , Jeremy Greenbaum, Aury Krebs and CJ Pawlikowski do several roles. Julia Knitel has a beautiful voice.
As you leave the theatre they give you a surprise gift.
Review by Rozanna Radakovich.
Photos by Annazor.
To read an interview with the cast, scroll down to the left for photos. Click on photos for this and other shows.