Monday, April 13, 2015


The music has a message and the Connecticut Gay Men's Chorus is the perfect group to deliver it.  You may know Harvey Milk and his unique story or you may be totally unfamiliar with this unlikely American hero.  Either way your life will be enriched for bearing witness to his life and works, his pride, his courage and his tragic death.

"I Am Harvey Milk," the concert oratorio composed by Andrew Lippa, celebrates the existence of this gay rights activist who spoke up and stepped out long before it was fashionable or safe to do so.  Milk was one of the pioneers and one of the first to hold public office in this country and announce his position with strength and courage, in the face of great opposition.

For two performances, the CGMC, in words, song and dance, will proclaim Harvey Milk's bravery as a political prophet, on Saturday, April 25 at 8 p.m. and on Sunday, April 26 at 4 p.m. at the Theatre at the Co-op, 117 College Street, New Haven.

Milk's life growing up in San Francisco, up to and including his sudden death at the hands of an assassin on the steps of San Francisco City Hall in 1978, will be captured in all its dramatic and heartfelt humanity.  This musical piece was commissioned by the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus, with the Gay Men's Choruses in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Dayton, Denver, Twin Cities, Vancouver and Heartland.  It enjoyed its world premiere in San Francisco in June 2013 and later its New York premiere at Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center in October 2014.

Incorporating a variety of musical styles, with a dozen stirring songs like "An Operatic Masterpiece," imagined by a young Harvey Milk about his future, "Lavender Pen" which celebrates the passage of San Francisco's gay rights bill and the exuberant "Friday Night at the Castro," complete with a giant mirrored disco ball that turns the stage into a grand night club scene.

The hour long oratorio is packed with musical punches as Milk's impact on the social and political stage is recounted in song and verse.  One of the most emotional moments of the show might be "I Am the Bullet" that traces the trajectory of one of the bullets that takes this folk hero down,  The concluding number "Tired of the Silence" soars to a triumphant arc and includes the words actually spoken by Harvey Milk at a gay rights parade.

"The piece shows how the man was, and continues to be, an inspiration; not only to gay people but all who have experienced oppression of some sort in their lives," according to Ken Sawicki, CGMC board member and singer, "It’s got a wonderful score that incorporates choral music with musical comedy touches and even disco! Ultimately it is a very uplifting experience to be singing it, and I think you’ll find it the same as an audience member. In addition to the Chorus, the CGMC version features some very talented soloists and for the first time since I've been a chorus member, a full orchestra, which make the show even more exciting!"

For tickets ($25-30), call the CGMC at 800-644-2462 (CGMC) or online at

Don't miss the New England premiere of "I Am Harvey Milk" described by Playbill as "a powerful night full of chill-inducing moments in drama and music." Be there to experience the musical tour-de-force!  Come out and be counted!

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