The ACLU reported on Monday “The Supreme Court of the United States today denied review in all of the marriage equality cases pending before it. As a result of the Court’s action, same-sex couples in Virginia, Wisconsin, Indiana, Oklahoma and Utah will now be able to marry the partners they love.” It was a momentous day and one that would have made politician Harvey Milk proud.
It seemed fitting that I Am Harvey Milk, a benefit concert of Andrew Lippa’s sweeping oratorio was the same evening at Lincoln Center. Directed by Noah Himmelstein and conducted/musical directed by Joel Fram, the evening featured Mr. Lippa as Harvey Milk, soprano soloist Kristin Chenoweth and Noah Marlowe as Young Harvey Milk. And shaking Avery Fisher Hall’s rafters was a specially assembled All-Star Broadway Men’s Chorus (120 singers strong).
Mr. Lippa’s score beautifully integrates a musical theater sensibility to the oratorio, with contemporary influences and musical nods to Harvey Milk’s time in San Francisco during the 1970s. But it was the palpable energy of both audience as well as performers that resonated throughout the evening, including opening remarks from Whoopi Goldberg and human rights activist Cleve Jones.
Harvey Milk’s mantra was to “come out” as a means of empowering the LGBT community. That energy was in full force and with good cause. The evening’s beneficiary was the newly established Arts Fund at Hetrick-Martin Institute. Founded in 1979 by Dr. Emery Hetrick and Dr. Damien Martin, it is the oldest and largest organization helping gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth to reach their full potential. Learn more at www.hmi.org.