The Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus is proud to be among a partnership of several LGBT organizations across the country to commemorate the legacy of Harvey Milk by singing the show opener “I Am Harvey Milk” from the production “Singing Out Proud: From ABBA to Gaga.’’
“Harvey brought a spirit of openness and ‘rightness’ to being gay that was infectious, and strongly influenced millions of gay men and women since his short but active life,” says Kevin Robison, AGMC artistic director. “He always affirmed that hatred or distrust of gays was because of a lack of knowledge, and that by coming out — to our friends, family and co-workers, often in groups of like-minded gay men and women such as choruses and bands — society would come to recognize that they did have people they loved and valued in their lives, and the gay-rights movement would blossom…one person at a time.”
Unfortunately, Milk’s message of gay rights was threatening to the status quo, including former city supervisor Dan White, who was given a light sentence for the assassinations of Milk and Moscone. The fledgling San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus made its unplanned first performance at a memorial vigil and launched a movement that soon included the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus and thousands of other fellowship- and community service-oriented LGBTQ organizations.
“There’s a reason Harvey has been called ‘the most famous and most significantly open LGBT official ever elected in the U.S.’ — a ‘visionary’ who was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009,” Robison notes. “We are incredibly proud to celebrate his life, his service and his message with this very special event.”
The concert will feature some new work by musical theatre and Broadway composer Andrew Lippa (“The Wild Party,” “The Addams Family,” and Broadway-bound “Big Fish”).
“The AGMC is set to rock your world,” says Robison. “No one could capture the essence of Harvey’s life and career without writing a full-fledged opera, but Lippa gives us a stunning glimpse into the politician’s life and career in a new work comprising our first act that’s part oratorio, part musical theatre, highlighting pivotal moments in Harvey’s life and career.”
The AGMC will present the eastern U.S. premiere of “I Am Harvey Milk” two days after the world premiere in San Fran. In Atlanta, Craig Waldrip will play the role of Harvey and will be joined by Melissa Arasi (soprano) and Sam Greene as Young Harvey.
The second act celebrates pop music of the past 35 years, some of which Harvey would have known.
“These songs have held us steadfast during the tough times, featuring exhilarating performances of Cher, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Diana Ross, and others,” says Robison. “There’s a big ‘wow’ factor in this convergence of history and gay iconic pop music, and the men of the AGMC are stoked to present this entertaining event as part of Stonewall Month.”
(And who wouldn’t be?!)
After the concert, the guys will take a short break and invite audience members back for a panel discussion featuring Erik Milk (great-nephew of Harvey), Jeffrey D. McIntyre, AGMC’s founding artistic director, a representative from The Hope Clinic of Emory University, and others. The discussion will focus on how the LGBT community continues to live the legacy of Harvey Milk and what Harvey might say if he were with us today.
Is this extra?
Nope! It’s included in your ticket price.
Plans for Erik Milk to give a lecture with a Q&A are also in the works.
(The AGMC asks that concertgoers make note that members of the panel will not necessarily be the same for all three performances. Check the AGMC’s blog for updates on those scheduled to appear at each concert and tons more on the show.)
The summer concert will be sponsored by Emory University’s Hope Clinic and presented in three performances at the Glenn Memorial Auditorium on the Emory campus in Decatur.
The performance takes place Friday and Saturday, June 28-29 closing out Atlanta Pride’s Stonewall Month.