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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
Avg Score

Clever, Great writing, Great staging, Slow, Intelligent

See it if you like well crafted historical based stories with great music that need to be told even they are probably fiction.

Don't see it if you don't like "80" minute shows that are really 95 minutes. What the end of the story would be was obvious before the extra 15 minutes.

Dated, Disappointing, Aimless

See it if you're comfortable with a mix of disparate ideas and elements (Jewish ethnicity, gay bias, and other unrelated stuff), set to music.

Don't see it if you want to learn something about Harvey Milk or the political and social issues of the day.

Absorbing, Funny, Great acting, Great singing, Great writing

See it if You like funny, sensitive stories that are extremely well done with great singing and acting. Very poignant. Strongly recommended.

Don't see it if You are not into musicals. However, this is highly recommended.

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

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

Great singing, Relevant, Good acting

See it if You like borscht belt humor, are a fan of Ghost, want to hear lovely voices, don’t mind a predictable plot, & thin song lyrics

Don't see it if Want tight, twisting plot and memorable music/lyrics more than meaningful subject matter and talented cast.

Absorbing, Funny, Great acting, Great singing

See it if You want to see a great play about one man's relationship with Harvey Milk mixed with some Jewish perspectives.

Don't see it if You are uncomfortable with gay issues or have no interest in the history of the Gay Rights movement.

Also A really enjoyable experience. Great performances and music. I recomme... Read more Read less

Great singing, Resonant, Entertaining, Funny, Delightful

See it if you enjoy a quality show with great singing, solid acting and songs. An utterly entertaining evening of theater. Enjoyable and relevant!

Don't see it if you don't enjoy smaller theater productions.

Quirky, Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Resonant

See it if Milk’s life/death & inspiration to young LBTQs has a connection to why most Holocaust survivors hide their history from their grandkids.

Don't see it if You are bothered by ‘playful’ lyrics, Jewish stereotypes, Nazis, gay themes, guns, etc. It’s quirky, but moving, but...quirky.

Also I struggled with this review; quirky is usually my forte but to sum th... Read more Read less

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.

Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Great singing, Must see

See it if You will enjoy great singing and acting and appreciate a well written relatable story, live music and great performance!

Don't see it if Everyone should see it.

Also I have seen this show more than five times, I believe action speaks lo... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Cliched

See it if you want to see a talented cast in a decent show that tries a little to hard to make an impact.

Don't see it if you have a hard time ignoring amateurish staging despite some very good moments, and a sometimes annoying score despite great performances.

Clever, Ambitious, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if You want somethimg very unexpected with delightful performances and A very good singer. Pleasant production.

Don't see it if You don't enjoy a production that deals with the Jewish/Gay diaspora. Expect a full cast of good singers.

Great acting, Intelligent, Refreshing

See it if you like a good story.

Don't see it if you want a big, splashy musical - this one is quiet and thoughtful.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great writing, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if If a touching look at a May-December relationship developing, not romance against a background of prejudice & a haunting wife intrigues you

Don't see it if If you expect a story more about the title character instead of revolving around him but not about him per se

Clever, Funny, 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.

Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging, Ambitious

See it if you are looking for a sweet little musical about homophobia. Take your gay teen.

Don't see it if you are looking for fireworks, edge or freshness. A perfectly enjoyable 85 minutes that has a lot of charm and talent on display.

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.

Absorbing, Funny, Great acting, Great singing, Great staging

See it if If you like historical intertwined stories. This one is told by a man with a big heart with lots of funny moments. Go see it!

Don't see it if You don’t like great singing, staging or are homophobic..

Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Masterful

See it if You want to laugh, think and maybe even cry. Singing and acting were very good!

Don't see it if You don't like funny musicals.

Entertaining, Great singing by julia knitel,, Has potential, Enjoyable,, Underdeveloped

See it if you want an enjoyable night of theater but don't expect to necessarily be reached emotionally. book could be better but worth it for knitel

Don't see it if A rushed conflict/resolution that didn't go beyond surface to truly explore character feelings will ruin it for you.

Also I found the portrayal of the jewish wife (very stereotyped) to be kind... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Funny, Great singing, Thought-provoking, Intelligent

See it if Fantastic, fascinating funny and heart-wrenching musical. Very well done.

Don't see it if You need to have an open mind to enjoy this musical.

Enchanting, Entertaining, Relevant, Edgy, Thought-provoking

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

Masterful, Intelligent, Great writing, Entertaining, Funny

See it if You enjoy light dramas

Don't see it if You prefer musicals

Ambitious, Strong cast, Powerful scenes, Unfocused

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.

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.

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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