Book by Jerry James
Music by Laura l. Kramer
Lyrics by Ellen M. Schwartz
Based on the short story "A Letter To Harvey Milk" by Lesléa Newman
About a year ago, I was asked to do a recording of a musical called A Letter To Harvey Milk. I wasn't familiar with the writing team but from the moment I set foot in Ellen Schwartz's apartment and began to read the scenes and sing a bit of one of my songs, I knew I had come home!!!
I instantly connected to this beautiful, heartbreakingly funny, poignant and very human story. A Kosher butcher, his dead wife, his lesbian writing teacher and Harvey Milk. What's not to like???
It's quite a team!! The music by Laura I. Kramer absolutely soars, the lyrics by Ellen M. Schwartz are so truly fresh and real and the book by Jerry James is smart and warm and full of surprises.
I was thrilled to be asked to do the show for NYMF!!! And what a first week!! Music rehearsal on Tuesday reminded me of all the talent in the room. The brilliant Leslie Kritzer sang her tush off and broke my heart several times as Barbara Katsef, the lesbian writing teacher. The dreamy Jeff Keller is so totally winning as Harry Weinberg, the butcher and me ? I'm in heaven!! Literally. I get to play opposite Jeff as his dead wife Frannie who comes back from the grave to help him release some immobilizing ghosts from the past. And then there's Michael Bartoli as Harvey Milk himself. An uncanny likeness and so perfect in the role!! And the supporting cast, Sarah Corey, Michael Padgett and Ravi Roth- all gems!!! We did a read through of the piece on Wednesday and there was not a dry eye in the house when we were through.
I can honestly say I am more excited about this piece than anything I have done in quite a while. It is uniquely universal, powerfully important and funny as hell!!!
David Schechter is a true actor's director and is so committed to finding the truth and humanity in this show. Ned Ginsberg is musical director, arranger, orchestrator extraordinaire and Michael Raine, the choreographer is so adorable and on his game as well. We just staged the big dance break today for Harry and Frannie ! We had so much fun singing and dancing like geriatric Fred and Ginger!!! (I do think I came out of the womb an Old Jew and I am finally in my glory!!) Can't wait til we hit the stage at the Signature Theatre on July 23rd. That's very soon. Better go learn my lines… OY!!
To buy tickets or to learn more about A Letter To Harvy Milk go to www.nymf.org/alettertoharveymilk or call 212-352-3101