The words and music to “Harvey” were written by Ellen and her collaborator Laura Kramer, another composer whom she came to know through her participation in the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop. The musical was adapted from a short story of the same title by Leslea Newman. Book by Ellen M. Schwartz, Laura I. Kramer, Cheryl Stern and Jerry James.
“Harvey” tells the interlinked stories of a lonely, widowed retired kosher butcher (Harry) and an aspiring young lesbian writer (Barbara) - a modern-day odd couple. Harry enrolls in Barbara’s writing class, and to his – and our – astonishment and delight finds new life and understanding there, as does Barbara from her encounter with Harry. What has all this got to do with Harvey Milk? Harry knew him, befriended him, mourned him when he was killed - and is inspired by Barbara to write him the posthumous letter that gives the show its name. “Harvey” was presented at the New York Musical Theater Festival in 2012 – shortly before Ellen became ill. It was the most-awarded show in that year’s Festival, and also was a finalist for that year’s Richard Rodgers Award for Musical Theater.
The cast album can be purchased on Amazon or iTunes.