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Dear Harvey Celebrates Life of Gay Rights Activist and UAlbany Alum

Harvey Milk is sworn in to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors

More than 30 years after he was gunned down, Harvey Milk, a gay rights activist and 1951 graduate of the University at Albany, continues to inspire millions globally. (Photo Efren Ramirez, Courtesy Harvey Milk Foundation)

News Release icon Contact: Media Relations Office (518) 956-8150

ALBANY, N.Y. (October 28, 2010) --

From November 5th through November 20th, UAlbany's Department of Theatre presents Dear Harvey, an intimate retelling of the life and times of one the University's most accomplished graduates, civil rights icon Harvey Milk, '51.

More than 30 years after he was gunned down, Milk continues to inspire millions globally. He became the first openly gay elected official in the United States when he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. He encouraged lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) citizens to live their lives openly and to achieve social equality. Milk and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone were shot and killed in 1978 by Dan White, a former city supervisor. His life became the basis for both documentary and biopic Oscar-winning films, and in 2009 he was honored posthumously with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.

Dear Harvey -- a play about UAlbany graduate and civil rights icon Harvey Milk

Dear Harvey details the life of civil rights icon and UAlbany graduate Harvey Milk, '51, through interviews, newspaper articles, and other transcripts.

As a documentary, multi-disciplinary performance piece, Dear Harvey is composed of interviews, newspaper articles, and other transcripts. The play is written by Patricia Loughrey.

"I've long admired Harvey Milk, so it's an honor to have this chance to look at his life more closelyā€¯ said director Jeffrey Mousseau, who recently helmed the acclaimed premiere of Aunt Leaf at HERE Arts Center in New York City. "Some years after his death, I made my own pilgrimage to the Castro in San Francisco to find Milk's camera shop and the street where the gay rights movement really gained ground."

Mousseau currently teaches at UAlbany, where he has also directed 10 for 2010, Jesus Hopped the "A" Train, Shakespeare Power Plays and The Birthday Party. Dear Harvey was commissioned and premiered at San Diego's Diversionary Theatre on April 19, 2009 and is endorsed by Milk's nephew, Stuart Milk, who established The Harvey B. Milk Foundation.

Stuart Milk lauded his uncle's vision and courage at UAlbany's "Reaching Higher, Achieving More" luncheon in 2009. He recalled a conversation he shared with his uncle after Harvey was booed by a religious group. "My uncle confided in me later, saying 'I got three people to come up to me privately and say we are with you.'

"I learned from my uncle that if we are not authentic, we put on a mask. And then the world is less," said Stuart. "To be able to take off that mask is one of the greatest gifts we can give each other on earth."

Dear Harvey is scheduled for the following performances:

  • Friday and Saturday, November 5 and 6 at 8 p.m.;
  • Sunday, November 7 at 2 p.m.;
  • Thursday through Saturday, November 11-13 at 8 p.m.;
  • Thursday and Friday, November 18 and 19 at 8 p.m.;
  • and Saturday, November 20 at 2 p.m.

Tickets for the general public are $12 for all performances. Tickets for students, seniors and UAlbany faculty/staff are $8 from Nov. 5-7 and $10 from November 11-20. Tickets may be purchased through the Performing Arts Center Box Office.  For further information, contact the Box Office at (518) 442-3997.

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