Thirty-five years ago, the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus made their public debut at Harvey Milk’s candlelight vigil on the steps of City Hall. Tonight, on the eve of the Supreme Court's rulings on same-sex marriage, the group will premiere I Am Harvey Milk at the newly-renovated Nourse Theater.
San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus Artistic Director and Conductor, Dr. Tim Seelig says, “I can’t find the words to describe how I feel today. Tonight, 300 chorus members will raise their voices in song, just as they did 35 years ago. No matter what, we will always keep singing.”
The show, produced by Academy Award-nominee (for Milk amongst others) Bruce Cohen, written by Tony and Grammy Award-nominee Andrew Lippa (and starring Lippa himself), Tony Award-winner Laura Benanti, and young Broadway talent Noah Marlowe, “is going to be an extravaganza,” said the Chorus’ Artistic Director and Conductor Dr. Timothy Seelig.
What’s more is that The Nourse, originally built in 1927 and closed for over 30 years, has been transformed into a world-class, Broadway theater, accommodating this show’s 290 singers and a 27-piece orchestra.
“I Am Harvey Milk by Andrew Lippa will never happen this way again,” Seelig added. “It’s rare that there’s a world premiere around here, pulled off by a community group.”
The show’s two acts will weave an intimate story of Milk’s life by celebrating his character and his passions for opera, disco, and theatrics. Photographer and Milk’s long-time friend Daniel Nicoletta has provided never-seen-before vintage footage and photography for the performance’s multi-media component. Founder of the NAMES project and old friend, Cleave Jones, will make an introduction before the curtain rises.
According to Seelig, Lippa chose to compose the music and words for I Am Harvey Milk because “it’s his hope that there’s a part of Harvey Milk that will resonate with every patron. [The performance] is not a biography, but more about the person that Harvey Milk was that allowed him to look around, want to make a difference in the world and step forward with courage.”
After SF's limited engagement—tonight, Thursday, June 27 and Friday, June 28—I am Harvey Milk is scheduled to travel to six cities throughout the country in the next year.