BIG NEWS ABOUT LESLEA NEWMAN—- Jewish Lesbian Author Lesléa Newman Gives Her Regards to (off) Broadway!
Lesléa Newman has marked many milestones in her literary career including serving as the poet laureate of Northampton, receiving a poetry fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and having her children’s book, Heather Has Two Mommies read into the Congressional Record by an irate Senator. StilBIG NEWS ABOUT LESLEA NEWMAN—- Jewish Lesbian Author Lesléa Newman Gives Her Regards to (off) Broadway!l, she never dreamed that a short story of hers would be adapted for the stage as a musical.“I grew up in New York and was raised on musicals,” says Newman, thrilled about the upcoming production. “My father used to sing ‘Oh What a Beautiful Morning’ from Oklahoma! on Sunday mornings while scrambling eggs. This is a dream come true.”Newman’s short story “A Letter to Harvey Milk” is the title story of a collection originally published by Firebrand Books in 1988. Thirty years later, it is opening at the Acorn Theatre at Theatre Row in NYC and the author couldn’t be happier.“I have seen a previous production of the show, when it was part of the New York Musical Festival in 2012,” she said. “I was very moved by it. The show’s eighteen original songs add a new layer of emotional depth to the story.”“A Letter to Harvey Milk” centers on Harry Weinberg, a 77-year-old widower and Holocaust survivor, who takes a creative writing class at a local senior center. When he writes a letter to Harvey Milk, California’s first openly gay politician, to fulfill an assign- ment, his life and the life of his teacher, a Jewish lesbian, change in unexpected ways.The short story, “A Letter to Harvey Milk” was the second place finalist in the 1987 Raymond Carver Short Story Competition. It was previously adapted for the stage as a one-person show which was performed all over the country as well as in Germany and Israel. A version of the story was performed on Canadian Public Television and won a Gemini (the Canadian equivalent of an Emmy). The musical, A Letter to Harvey Milk received five awards at the New York Musical Festival in 2012 including Most PromisingMusical, and was also a 2012 Richard Rodgers Award Finalist. The creative team for the musical, A Letter to Harvey Milk include Ellen M. Schwartz (Book and Lyrics); Cheryl Stern (Book and Additional Lyrics); Laura I. Kramer (Book andMusic) and Jerry James (Book). It is being directed by Evan Pappas and produced by Lisa Dozier King. The cast includes Adam Heller, Julia Knitel, Cheryl Stern, Michael Bartoli, Jeremy Greenbaum, Aury Krebs, and CJ Pawlikowski. Previews begin February21 and the show opens on March 6.