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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

Ambitious, Great singing, Thought-provoking, Sweet

See it if You enjoy shows with Jewish humor and LGBTQ topics. It was a sweet and cute story. Made me laugh and made me cry.

Don't see it if You are expecting a story about Harvey Milk, it feels like he is very much a background character.

Also Loved the finale, but I feel like it took way to long to get there. Wh... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Great singing, Resonant, Relevant

See it if You love a beautiful story, with great acting & singing. It's a smart script that's touching. Uneven at times, but still very absorbing!!!

Don't see it if You prefer a Big Production. This is an incredibly sweet show that has tons of heart & a really beautiful message. It's worth seeing!!!

Also I was really surprised & moved by this show! It's a little uneven at t... Read more Read less

Great acting, Funny, Relevant, Resonant, Moving

See it if you want to be moved by a very modestly staged musical. The performances were magnificent. at times funny... music ok.

Don't see it if You are expecting something grandiose. a very small musical on a small off broadway venue. it has a big heart though. Give it a chance.

Also I would have given this a lower score but since it is an off Broadway ... Read more Read less

Clever, Intelligent, Relevant, Thought-provoking

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.

Resonant, Lovely, Surprising, Heartfelt, Uplifting

See it if you'd enjoy a moving story that deals with LGBT and Jewish history connected by Harvey Milk's legacy.

Don't see it if you're expecting a bio-musical of Harvey Milk (that's not what this is).

Also Give it the benefit of the doubt in the first few scenes -- it's a lit... Read more Read less

Poignant, informative, with tone problems

See it if you're interested in LGBT rights (sometimes known as human rights), gay history, coming-out stories, and generational differences.

Don't see it if clunky lyrics and an inconsistent tone would ruin the night for you.

Also Slight, tender 90-minute musical lacks conflict and focus for the firs... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Funny, Refreshing, Earnest, Familiar but subversive

See it if interested in ordinary pple's xp w/ extraordinary pple. Wide ranging exploration of gay and Jewish identity & the pain of the closet

Don't see it if expecting a biopic of Harvey Milk. This is not that. Hate puns, esp Jewish puns. Uncomfortable with gay/jewish/holocaust themes

Also Totally surprised how much I enjoyed this. I was expecting a cheesy, o... Read more Read less

Great acting, Relevant, Quirky, Thought-provoking, Moving

See it if you're interested in Jewish culture or gay history. There are funny moments, and parts that are deeply serious. A nontraditional musical.

Don't see it if you're disturbed by violence. Themes include prejudice, trauma, death, and family conflict. This is not for people who dislike musicals.

Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Entertaining, Must see

See it if You want to see a new.perspective.

Don't see it if You are homophobic .

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if You want an intimate theatre experience and a sweet story with believable characters and enjoyable music. I even shed a tear.

Don't see it if You want a glitzy big musical production with big dance numbers and a big plot.

Masterful, Human, Great singing, Great writing, Insightful

See it if You want a wonderful musical w/ a real human storyline. Jewish humor. Total entertainment.

Don't see it if Your not looking for a LGBT story. Don't like culture story's.

Also The cast blend together sooooo well. ... Read more Read less

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

Entertaining, Funny, Thought-provoking, Quirky

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

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

Delightful, Indulgent, Resonant, Profound

See it if you know who Harvey Milk was and want to see a show about an unlikely friendship between two people touched by him in different ways

Don't see it if There really is no reason not to see it

Moving, sentimental, good singing, funny, entertaining

See it if you want to see a story with good lyrics, about an older Jewish widower, his memories of Harvey Milk and how they tied into his history.

Don't see it if you don't like musicals, are just interested in an historical play about Harvey Milk.

Delightful, Intelligent, Relevant, Great singing

See it if This surprising musical has humor and heart. The complexity of the story grows and intensifies.

Don't see it if If you’re closed off to relevant current issues and don’t believe musicals can me complex and illuminating.

Charm to spare...and touching, too.

See it if you like your musicals short, meaningful, and spectacle-free.

Don't see it if you would prefer a little more pizzazz for your money--and Jewish humor, laden with Yiddishisms, isn't quite your style.

Also "A Letter to Harvey Milk" follows the emotional journey of Harry Weinb... Read more Read less

Cliched, Great singing, Delightful

See it if you want to see a good off-broadway musical with a touching ending and great singing. Set was simple but effective.

Don't see it if you expect a lavish production or only used to traditional broadway musicals.

Ambitious, Entertaining, Cliched

See it if It’s a pretty bad show overall but somehow it works. You are moved by it at the end. Terrible writing and lyrics and very cliched.

Don't see it if You want to see a well written musical. This is rather tacky but some nice performances overall.

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

Absorbing, Funny, Quirky, Resonant

See it if you are interested in history and civil rights.Overall it was great but dragged at a few points.

Don't see it if you are easily offended or don't like LGBTQ stories.

Great singing, Moving

See it if You enjoy shows with touching moments that take an expansive view of love with some very decent singers.

Don't see it if You can't accept the many forms of love even if there are merely mild representations.

Also I found several touching moments in this show although I am not always... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Great acting, Slow

See it if you want to see a show about a connection between two human beings. Want to see a solid production with good acting and songs that fit.

Don't see it if you want to see a splashy musical with memorable songs or choreography You expect to learn or hear a lot about Harvey Milk and his life.

Also Overall I liked the show quite a bit. I enjoyed the two lead actors a ... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting

See it if you enjoy all musicals

Don't see it if you cannot empathize with holocaust survivors

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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