Members say: Great singing, Entertaining, Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking

About the show

Set in San Francisco in 1986, this musical deals with issues of friendship and loss, the grip of the past, and the hard-won acceptance set in motion by the most unexpected people. 

... Read more

What could Harry, an amiable but lonely retired kosher butcher have in common with Barbara, his young lesbian writing teacher at the senior center? Is it enough to bridge the divide?  When Harry fulfills a writing assignment to compose a letter to someone from his past who’s dead, he writes not to his late wife Frannie, but to Harvey Milk, the first openly gay political leader in California. Barbara is stunned. Harry's letter evokes life-changing revelations that neither could have foreseen. 

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Playbill Club
$35 - $39
through 5/13


$35 (Reg. $79) – February 21-March 5
$39 (Reg. $79) – March 7- May 13


Price includes a $2.25 restoration fee. All sales are final - no refunds or exchanges. Offer subject to availability. Not valid in combination with any other offers. Normal service charges apply to phone and internet orders. Performance schedule subject to change. Offer may be revoked or modified at any time without notice.

through 5/13


Price includes a $2.25 restoration fee. All sales are final — no refunds or exchanges. Offer subject to availability. Not valid in combination with any other offers. Normal service charges apply to phone and internet orders. Performance schedule subject to change. Offer may be revoked or modified at any time without notice.

through 6/30


Orchestra seats are $39 (reg. $75)


Fees are $7 per ticket and $2.25 per order, but that is the standard charge for all purchases. Book by May 27. Fees are determined by the venue and not by Travelzoo. Restrictions may apply.
through 6/30


$49 Orchestra


Price includes a $2.25 restoration fee. All sales are final - no refunds or exchanges. Offer subject to availability. Not valid in combination with any other offers. Normal service charges apply to phone and internet orders. Performance schedule subject to change. Offer may be revoked or modified at any time without notice.

Discount sites

Good discounts, but availability varies
$35 - $39

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews


"Surprisingly fierce little musical...Ginsburg's lush orchestrations for piano, cello, and woodwinds give the music a sentimental air ideal for a story about the dredging of feelings long thought drowned. At the same time, the lyrics are honest and playful...Pappas juggles the overlapping plot lines with grace and precision. We're always aware of where we are...Brimming with warmth and clandestine power, this is one of those musicals that stows away in your heart without you even noticing." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"This is an old-fashioned laughter-and-tears exercise that combines wheezy gags with weepy revelations and the tasteless exploitation of certain world-historical events...The dialogue sounds like something thrown together in the writers' room of a mediocre television sitcom...Under Pappas' direction, the cast performs in a variety of styles...Filled to the brim with good will, but tries much too hard, overreaching in a way that comes across as unpleasantly calculating." Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

"A pleasantly engaging but uneven new show…The vigor of the placid Harry's position, which sharply contradicts everything he appears to have represented until now, seems an artificial device to light a firecracker under a relatively stagnant plot…Even more difficult to accept is how it's connected to something Harry experienced years ago…jarringly altering the lightly sentimental tone to which we've grown accustomed…The leads are all excellently cast." Full Review

Front Mezz Junkies

"A charming sweet musical that does manage to splice a lot of power and punch out of a sometimes silly setup and structure. The music is lovely, while the lyrics...sometimes border on the simplistic or stereotypical, the story in the end is emotionally worthy of its telling...The actors' voices feel like they belong attached to the songs...At times, the big conflict between Barbara and Harry feels dated, artificial, and overly dramatic...This is a letter worth reading and seeing." Full Review

Gotham Playgoer

"Runs the gamut from Borscht Belt shtick to tenderness to tragedy...The lyrics by the late Ellen M. Schwartz supplemented by lyrics by Cheryl Stern are often clunky...Director Evan Pappas keeps the action flowing smoothly. If you are expecting a play about Harvey Milk, you will be disappointed. I couldn’t escape the feeling that the show was crafted to pander to an audience that is Jewish, LGBT, or preferably both. It has its moments, but the uneven tone undermines it." Full Review

Theater In The Now

"One of those musicals that just has a little too much happening at once...A haunting story that tries to achieve a bit too much...Quite possibly the biggest triumph of 'A Letter to Harvey Milk' is its representation of a queer woman in a musical...It's safe to say that perhaps the source material may be flawed for adapting it into a stage musical. 'A Letter to Harvey Milk' tells an important narrative. It's just the execution that is a little lacking...It's unfortunate how dated the show fee... Full Review


"There's a lot to like about this show, but it isn't wholly successful for a variety of reasons. First of all, in my opinion, 90-minute musicals rarely work. It's a tall order to develop characters, as well as relationships...While partially due to the short duration of the show, part of that is also due to the writers' decision to include some of the dialogue within the songs like recitative...That said, the actors hold the musical together nicely." Full Review

Broadway & Me

"An unapologetic sweetness...that won me over despite the many flaws...The book has the feel of something hammered out in a sitcom writers' room, complete with some wince-inducing one-liners...The score is pleasant but equally generic and unmemorable...Economically directed...Put together on a stingy budget...The performances are sincere and well sung...What most appeals to me is the fact that this show isn't trying to be anything but what it is." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"The musical really takes off in its second half...Overall 'A Letter to Harvey Milk' is impressive and quite enjoyable, but could use further revision...While some of the numbers have lyrics that are quite poetic and beautiful, others are a bit on the nose. If it weren’t for the unexpectedly poignant turn the production takes in the second half, 'A Letter To Harvey Milk' might be somewhat forgettable." Full Review


"Directed by Pappas from present to past and back again, the characters gradually unveil their secrets and come to appreciate the love, humor, hope and traditions of their lives...Newman's dialogue is overly generous with Yiddish colloquialisms...If not a timeless American musical, 'A Letter to Harvey Milk' offers an honest truth in a time that needs it." Full Review

Theatre Reviews Limited

"Has good intentions but becomes confusing as it address too many issues...The characters seem to be messengers delivering information without an emotional investment. What adds to the disconnect, is the overload of comic relief and lack of focus on any specific topic. The book manages to provide a catharsis for the characters but not for the audience. The cast is more than competent but cannot overcome the tedious and disjointed script." Full Review

Diandra Reviews it All

"Heller's Harry Weinberg and Knitel's Barbara Katsef are at the heart of the show...Heller gives Harry a connective personality...Knitel gives Barbara such a natural charm...This musical feels refreshingly simple and heartwarming...For 100 minutes you watch two people sing and accept that to have love in life, they must also have loss...'A Letter To Harvey Milk' is brisk in its impact. It seeds into your heart, and blossoms with love." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"Mixed-bag of a musical...The plot and characters are potentially quite moving. Unfortunately, the material is undercut by a bland and generic score...The performances are better than the material...Some of the early scenes move along a bit sluggishly, but director Pappas creates some effective stage images...Fall short of its musical ambitions, but the show does conclude with a sense of reconciliation, understanding, and, of course, hope." Full Review

Stage Buddy

"In the current political climate, a musical like 'A Letter to Harvey Milk' can remind each of us of the importance of tolerance and understanding...Successful due to a range of musical numbers that run the gamut of funny to moving...Evan Pappas’ direction is thoughtful and precise with quick scene transitions for a breezy 90-minute show...The musical is shy in conflict and drama, opting for characters who are so likable that it’s hard to discern how each one grows." Full Review

Theater Reviews from my Seat

"We engage in fairly familiar emotional territory with the main conceit centering on homosexuality and acceptance, with a large schmear of Jewish humor...A very strong book and the three lead characters are given a lot to say and think about. The story arc surprised me and was very effective in peeling back the layers within both Harry and Barbara, and the letter that was written. The music and lyrics range from garden variety to schtick...The ballads are very good and memorable." Full Review

Front Row Center

"The play is at its best in its funny moments...The serious scenes are earnest but come off trite or corny. One exception to this is Harry’s telling of a tender moment he experienced in a concentration camp...There are 16 musical numbers in the play and they are the best element of 'A Letter To Harvey Milk'...All of the actors have lovely Broadway voices and can sell a song." Full Review

Melinda's Malarky

"Churning with good intentions, humor and delightful musical numbers...The play is curdling in a loaded plot, partly an homage to Harvey Milk...and a heavy-handed humanitarian message...Still there's plenty to enjoy thanks to earnest performances that tug at your heart and the entertaining musical score...The inspirational communications and backstory in the camps are spread with schmaltz but there is a lot of honey to savor." Full Review

Motherhood Later

"This musical is ambitious, especially for 90 minutes, and does an excellent job of keeping the storyline clear...If you are looking for one central show-stopping musical number, this show doesn’t deliver that as much as it has lyrical high points...What this musical may lack in lasting, highly-memorable songs, it more than makes up for in its storytelling and stellar acting performances—in my opinion, Heller’s performance is the standout." Full Review

Times Square Chronicles

"This new musical does a very nice job of taking a topic and making it fun and entertaining, while not overloading the audience with historical facts and political jargon...The letter itself is a beautifully written declaration...But what follows feels like a 90-minute musical about putting gays back into the closet...Could have such power and influence on those who don't understand the gay agenda and rights movement...Unfortunately, it seems to have been written by those people." Full Review

Plays to See

"The musical is not just the clichés or the humor; instead, it shines a light on Judaism and homosexuality, on loss and on loneliness...The songs, while charming...are not particularly memorable. The jokes are sometimes strained...The show is better served when it separates the music's intentions and instead transitions mood through dialogue...With chutzpah and warmth, 'A Letter to Harvey Milk' is a moving exploration of Judaism and the trauma that comes from publicly being who you are." Full Review

Boy Culture

"Pleasantly surprised that the show offers so many twists and turns...As Harry, Heller is note-perfect...Sings beautifully and sells the songs, which are at times affecting and sweet but can veer into corny...Knitel is believable...Has a clear, lovely voice...The musical was difficult for me at first, but it builds tremendously to a genuinely moving climax that made me forget about having wanted to hear more about Milk himself - it is Harry's story, and he certainly has one." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

Absorbing, Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if You are interested in the life of HarveyMilk and what precipitated the events leading up to his death. Very good acting. Very entertaining.

Don't see it if You are not interested in the life of Harvey Milk and San Francisco in the 1980’s.

Disappointing, Cliched, Uneven, Good singing

See it if You enjoy traditional musicals, cliched characters, mix of humor and sad themes of friendship, acceptance, loss.

Don't see it if You expect a polished show w/strong story & great music. Was moderately entertaining but at times boring. story tried to cover too much.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Great writing, Great staging

See it if Serious drama, shows that deal with gay and lesbian topics in a rational and sophisticated manner. Unique portrayal of historical events

Don't see it if Not interested in gay issues or the holocaust. Only enjoy fluff

Disappointing, Cliched

See it if Like small musicals about a relationship across generations.

Don't see it if Hate cliched unnecessary humor that ruins the nice atory that is actually there

Wonderful lead male, Last second predictable disappointing curveball

See it if You want to see a compelling lead performance. Unevenly sung but with great stage presence. All his songs were lovely. Nice band. Some

Don't see it if You like good harmony. My ears hurt every time more than one person sang.

Also I found this long at 85 minutes. The wife was stereotypically 50's Jew... Read more Read less

Funny, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great singing

See it if You want to see a musical that is very entertaining and thought provoking. You want to laugh and be entertained. You have an open mind.

Don't see it if You want to miss a very good musical that talks about relevant issues. You don't want to laugh. You don't like musicals.

Uneven, Fine acting, Likeable protagonists

See it if you appreciate Jewish humor, are interested in gay culture & history & can learn how people who may be dissimilar can learn from one another

Don't see it if abrupt shifts in tone bother you. The character of the dead wife was almost a caricature. Overall, worth seeing.

Funny, Clever, Intense

See it if You appreciate new works about tough themes.

Don't see it if You expect an escape, as the show can get very heavy at times.

Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Indulgent, Cheesy

See it if You haven't had your fill of stories about gay life in the 80s. You don't mind seeing a show that's a little rough around the edges.

Don't see it if You can't stand cheese.

Delightful, Enchanting, Great acting, Resonant, Great singing

See it if Small thoughtful play w/ songs & humor. Creative piece touching on past & present, sad & funny & unlikely relationships

Don't see it if You prefer big showy musicals—are anti-Semitic or homophobic.

Funny, Clever, Great acting, Profound

See it if you like lovely shows with a surprising depth you didn't expect. Some very funny lines.

Don't see it if shows about Jewish or gay people are not your cup of tea. You want a great score - the music was pretty straight-forward and forgettable.

Ambitious, Confusing, Problematic

See it if you'll go in with an open mind and you find the concept interesting. Julia Knitel stands out vocally. Be willing to go along for the ride.

Don't see it if you want to see something polished. The premise has potential, but the execution is uneven. That applies to the book, lyrics, and the cast.

Ambitious, Great acting, Intense, Banal, Great singing

See it if you understand Jewish humor and can pick up on meaning without explanation

Don't see it if you get confused easily in nondescript shows

Banal, Disappointing, Cliched, Fluffy, Meh

See it if You are a resident of a Jewish retirement home on eastern Long Island and want an afternoon entertainment.

Don't see it if You expect more than stereotypical characters and “feel good” shows about gay rights, the Holocaust and the death of Harvey Milk.

Edgy, Enchanting, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Entertaining

See it if You want to see excellent character development with passable lyrics.

Don't see it if You want to see a very well written musical

Clever, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Profound, Refreshing

See it if You enjoy a story loosely based on an historical event with a clever twist and some nifty lyrics

Don't see it if If you're homophobic you won't appreciate this show

Ambitious, Unfocused, Strong cast, Powerful scenes

See it if you want to see a compelling show, performed by a strong cast, in the early stages of development

Don't see it if you're looking for something polished. This show really struggles with pacing and focus.

Great cast, Entertaining enough, Sentimental then tragic surprise, Great shifts in tone, Pays tribute to fiddleronroof

See it if sentimental, old style musical trappings, including LGBTQ / HarveyMilk / Holocaust themes + excellent cast + pit = theatre night well spent

Don't see it if sentimental, old style musical trappings, including LGBTQ / HarveyMilk / Holocaust / Jewish themes = painful theatre experience for you

Relevant, Timely, Good acting, Good singing

See it if you like shows that are timely and relevant and not completely predictable.

Don't see it if like shows that mix historic events and fiction.

Clever, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if You’re interested in the intersection of Judaism and sexuality. You enjoy musicals about the exploration of both

Don't see it if You have no interest in a musical about the friendship between an older Jewish man and a younger lesbian.

Absorbing, Intelligent, Quirky, Resonant

See it if If you are interested in a musical that is about important figures in time. If you like to see how everyday people relate to historical

Don't see it if If you are expecting a serious examination all the way through. The beginning and end of the show felt like two different shows to me


See it if You like schmaltzy shows in an intimate setting

Don't see it if You are bored with schmaltzy shows

Great acting, Great writing, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you like tuneful music that isn't amplified too horribly, you can appreciate interesting characters and their interactions

Don't see it if you want a big splashy Broadway type musical with elaborate costumes and sets

Also This is a simple story of an unusual friendship, beautifully rendered ... Read more Read less

Slow, Entertaining

See it if You want a simple show about an interesting topic

Don't see it if You want production numbers and a big finale

Funny, Thought-provoking, Quirky, Entertaining

See it if You want to see a show that will surprise you. Some of the funniest and most heartfelt moments just weren't what I expected.

Don't see it if You want the same old thing tonight.

Also I was enchanted by these characters and loved the actors who played th... Read more Read less

Cast & Creatives (18)