Harvey Fierstein Stars in ‘Gently Down the Stream’

Harvey Fierstein is no stranger to the New York theater scene. The Broadway veteran has had a storied career both on and off the stage; he’s picked up Tony Awards for both acting and writing.


For his latest role, he’s starring in Martin Sherman’s ‘Gently Down the Stream.’ The play, which is currently being performed at The Public, tells a love story over the course of 13 years. Fierstein plays Beau, an American pianist living in London. He starts up a flirtation with Rufus, a younger lawyer who is enthralled by Beau’s past. Beau has spent years living a solitary life, and over the course of the play, he has to grapple with what it means to let another person into his life.


According to the reviews, the play is by turns sentimental and biting, and it’s likely to appeal to theatergoers who like a dose of sarcasm in their old-fashioned romances. The Variety review praised Fierstein’s measured performance, specifically citing his “haunting monologues” as reasons to see the play.


The New York Times review also singles Fierstein out for praise, and it calls his performance “impeccably timed.” While the review is a bit dismissive of the play itself, referring to its charms as “modest,” it says that Fierstein gives the show a distinctive allure. For fans of Mr. Fierstein, his charming starring role will likely be enough of a draw.


The Hollywood Reporter review is mixed; it by turns compliments the play’s sincerity and criticizes its ham-fisted historical lessons. Nonetheless, the reviewer admits that “the play is always engaging.” The lead performances also come in for praise: “the tender, big-hearted performance of [Gabriel] Ebert nicely complements Fierstein’s expansive warmth”


‘Gently Down the Stream’ is running at The Public from March 14 to May 21. This intergenerational romance is directed by Tony nominee Sean Mathias.