Category Archive for: ‘Richard Connema’

AN Engrossing Production of “Dear Harvey”

An Engrossing Production of “Dear Harvey”

The New Conservatory Theatre Center is currently presenting an absorbing production about the first openly gay public official in California.  Patricia Loughrey’s “Dear Harvey” was developed at San Diego’s gay-focused Diversionary Theatre as an earnest tribute to San Francisco city supervisor Harvey Milk whp was murdered by resentful city supervisor Dan White in 1978.  Harvey was a passionate activist, diligently crusading for equal right for all minorities.

The 85 minute production is a collage of excerpts from Milk’s Bay Area Reporter column and other materials he wrote; interviews Patricia Loughrey conducted with people who knew Milk or were affected by his life and work such as activist Cleve Jones, campaign manager Anne Kronenberg and Milk’s nephew Stuart Milk. Six versatile actors Tierra Allen, David Bicha, Brian Patterson, Anna Smith, Courtney Walsh and Aaron Wimmer take on various roles. They offer gifted, touching and humorous interpretations of the material. All of the six actors have a chance to shine in this tapestry of Harvey Milk’s life. The production is more serious and meticulously historical than the Oscar winning 2008 “Milk”.

Brian Patterson makes a drag queen named Nichol Murray-Rameriz come to life without needing a costume to do it. He is also excellent as Assemblyman John Laird. Aaron Wimmer is constantly warm and likeable playing many roles especially giving a poignant portrait of young San Diego student Thomas Hodges who composed the background score of this production.  David Bicha transfers a affecting, appealing portrait of the supervisor of Harvey’s uncle.    Courtney Walsh gives a splendid performance as Anne Kronenberg Milk’s campaign worker giving the audience another side of Harvey Milk’s multifarious and volatile side.  Anne Smith portraying a aggressive Tony Atkins, elected mayors of Santa Cruz and San Diego after the death of Milk was radiant and Tierra Allen shines as lesbian activist Jackie Grover.

“Dear Harvey” is mostly monologues and vignettes but director F. Allen Sawyer keeps this from happening. The photos of real people and events projected behind the actors add to the power of this presentation. There is one inspirational scene that projects persons who now are elected into public office who have declared being gay.

“Dear Harvey” plays through February 24th at the Walker Theatre in the New Conservatory Theatre Center,  25 Van Ness Ave. San Francisco. For tickets call 415-861-8972 or on line at   Coming up next is Terrence McNally’s “The Lisbon Traviata” opening on February 22 and running thru March 24.


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