Lippa (Big Fish, The Wild Party, The Addams Family, jon & jen) penned original music and lyrics for the oratorio that premiered June 26, 2013, with San Francisco's Gay Men's Chorus. The oratorio uses some of Milk's actual words for the text.
Kristin Chenoweth and Andrew Lippa Celebrate the New York Premiere of I Am Harvey Milk
Lippa portrayed Milk, the first openly-gay man to hold public office in California, along with Tony Award winner Chenoweth (Wicked; You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown) as the soprano soloist and young actor Noah Marlowe as young Harvey Milk.
Noah Himmelstein directed the evening that featured the Orchestra of St. Luke's and introduces the 120-member All Star Broadway Men's Chorus. Showtime was 7:30 PM.
Part choral work, part theatre piece, I Am Harvey Milk, according to press notes, "is an emotional celebration of an American hero. It weaves the story of Harvey Milk's life – from boyhood to his rise as the first openly gay man to hold public office in California to his assassination." Check out the Playbill.com Audio Exclusive: "Tired of Silence": Andrew Lippa's Track-By-Track Journey Through His Oratorio I Am Harvey Milk
The creative team also included Joel Fram (musical director, conductor), Michele Lynch (choreography), Andrew Lazarow (projection design), Scott Lehrer (sound design), Wilson Chin (scenic consultation), August Eriksmoen (orchestrations) and David Lander (lighting design).
Proceeds from the one-night-only event will be used to create the Harvey Milk Arts Fund at the Hetrick-Martin Institute (HMI). The Fund will "provide much-needed arts education and resources to students at Harvey Milk High School and other at-risk youth that benefit from HMI's services."
Founded in 1979, HMI has grown to become the oldest and largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and other at-risk youth services organization in the country.
I Am Harvey Milk had its world premiere in summer 2013 as part of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus' 35th Anniversary Celebration concert, "Harvey Milk 2013." A live recording of the premiere, featuring Lippa and Laura Benanti, was released last year and rose to No. 2 on the iTunes classical charts. The concert was commissioned by the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus, along with Atlanta Gay Men's Chorus, Dayton Gay Men’s Chorus, Denver Gay Men’s Chorus, Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles, Twin Cities Gay Men's Chorus and Heartland Men's Chorus. Since its premiere, the piece has been made available to choruses to perform from coast to coast.
The evening was produced by Bruce Cohen, Robb Nanus, Jessica Leventhal, Bruce Robert Harris and Jack W. Batman.