Already closed | 1h 35m | Midtown W

A Letter to Harvey Milk

From 337 member  reviews
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.  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. 

Member Reviews (337)


Great singing, Entertaining, Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking

Banal, Disappointing, Funny, Fluffy, Indulgent

See it if The direction and cast is good. If you like the jewish humor. It is a fast paced musical but lacks dialogue of any meaning.

Don't see it if Boring at times, bad dialogue as well as predictable. If you don't like Jewish humor, plays about LGBT or the holocaust.

Disappointing, Slow, Bland, Uneven, Indulgent

See it if You like 90 minute musicals. You enjoy musicals based on historical events.

Don't see it if You are wanting to see a re enactment of the shooting of Harvey Milk. This show strays far from the actual events.

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

Cliched, Disappointing

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

Entertaining, Great acting, Jewish, Lgbt, Dated

See it if You enjoy shows that deal with Jewish and or LGBT history. You enjoy more "traditional" new musicals. This one feels like a throwback.

Don't see it if You like your contemporary theatre more on the contemporary side.

Also This show was a wonderful labour of love. At the final curtain Adam He... Read more Read less

Where's harvey?, Clunky lyrics, Nicely orchestrated, Cliched, Dated

See it if you're willing to meander through some pleasant, well directed scenes and songs along the way to an unsurprising conclusion

Don't see it if you expect polished lyrics or expert integration of book & songs; are looking for a nuanced treatment of themes of acceptance & persistence

Also Despite the show's title, Harvey Milk has only tangential relevance to... Read more Read less

Cliched, Forgettable, Boring score, Disappointing, Average

See it if the main storyline of a teacher/student - young girl/older man friendship is nicely done. All jewish/gay developments are cliched.

Don't see it if you don’t want to settle for average. Non-memorable music, just ok singing and acting, disappointing overall.

Uneven, Overly sentimental, Great music

See it if you're looking for a simple, well-intentioned, small scale musical with a lovely score, that wears its heart proudly on its sleeve.

Don't see it if you're looking for anything above community-theater grade, resent a contrived plot, stereotypical characters and obvious emotional appeals

Ambitious, Quirky, Slow

See it if you enjoy a more traditional musical comedy style.

Don't see it if you aren't willing to take an unexpected journey. Not really what you expect it to be about. Odd piece w BIG ideas that don't always land.

So politically correct you may throw up

See it if You want to see a musical by a committee that combines the Holocaust, Borscht belt, Harvey milk, gay acceptance but is tedious and cloying

Don't see it if You expect an intelligent musical about Harvey milk.A musical that is so well-intentioned, that it’s eye rolling.

Cliched, Disappointing, Good singing, Uneven

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.

Cliched, Disappointing, Great singing, Slow, Ambitious

See it if you like new musicals. The singing is good. The songs, not so much.

Don't see it if you hate seeing everything sung or you hate overwrought dramatic stories. It's a little nothing of a story until it's simply too much.

Cliched, Resonant, Slow, Absorbing, Great singing

See it if you would like to see a good musical with nice singing with some sort of twist at the end.

Don't see it if you expect a great score... some of the songs are neither here nor there. Story telling could be better..

Good singing, Ambitious, Slow, 10 shows in 90 minutes, Thought-provoking

See it if Extremely Jewish humor and language. A man's interesting story, told in an interesting but overly ambitious way. Good singing voices.

Don't see it if Takes on too much for 90 minutes. The "dead wife" is so sterotyped and Ham. A few boring bits, and one awful. Too many musical styles.

Confusing, Disappointing

See it if you enjoy interesting lyrics and a story that has a twist towards the end, the leads are good

Don't see it if if you expect a linear story line

Disappointing, Indulgent, Cliched, Too sentimental, Good voices and arrangements

See it if Jewish and Gay themes; outstanding acting and singing; nicely staged and orchestrated.

Don't see it if Cliches/stereotypes. Misguided untalented book & music camouflaged by a talented cast, band & polished production values.


See it if You like schmaltzy shows in an intimate setting

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

Cliched, Fluffy, Banal, Disappointing, 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.

Cliched, Dizzying, Relevant

See it if You are interested in Harvey Milk’s legacy, LBGT issues, Jewish culture.

Don't see it if You are expecting this to be a memorable musical. It’s not—it doesn’t need to be a musical and the songs feel out of place and uninspiring.

Also The plot is very unique and interesting, and it also serves to educate... Read more Read less

Banal, Cliched, Disappointing, Fluffy, Slow

See it if you are interested in Jewish life in SF in the 80's

Don't see it if you're looking for thought provoking, relevant, daring play about LGBTQ rights

Sweet and confused: harvey milk deserves better

See it if If you love everything Jewish, even when it is in somewhat questionable taste and you have to see every musical in NYC.

Don't see it if You do not mind a hodge podge of plot points that can be very irritating.

Also Great set, lovely orchestra playing on the second level of the set. Ad... Read more Read less

Relevant, Quirky, Fluffy, Cliched, Ambitious

See it if You like the history of this era and Harvey Milk and gay themes; you like a riveting ending.

Don't see it if You don’t want to see a slow piece that’s saved by the ending; you like a traditional musical, not one where the songs are just stuck in.

Amateurish and cliched lyrics with some good singing but some overacting

See it if you like to see serious themes presented musically

Don't see it if you're looking for great singing, acting or staging or compelling music and lyrics

Ambitious, Disappointing, Funny, Entertaining, Clever

See it if You want to see a show that is topical and enjoyable but not particularly good

Don't see it if You want to see a Broadway quality show

Cliched, Disappointing, Fluffy, Slow, Banal

See it if You enjoy under-developed 90 minute musicals that follow the tropes of conventional musical theatre.

Don't see it if You want to see a well developed musical with fully fledged characters and a story worth telling.

March 6th, 2018
"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 li...
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March 8th, 2018
"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 ...
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March 7th, 2018
"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' direct...
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March 6th, 2018
"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 s...
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