The Week Ahead: Harvey Fierstein in ‘Gently Down the Stream’ at the Public Theater




Gabriel Ebert, left, and Harvey Fierstein in “Gently Down the Stream”

Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

The four-time Tony winner Harvey Fierstein has always had a way with intrepid romantics. Beau, his character in Martin Sherman’s new play, “Gently Down the Stream,” is more on the cautious side. Having come of age as a gay man in a world where that was taboo, he has spent a lifetime trying to find love with men taught not to express it. But for Rufus, a young lawyer played by the Tony winner Gabriel Ebert (“Matilda the Musical”), the same inhibitions do not apply. Intergenerational romance ensues.

The tantalizing sweetness of the play, directed by Sean Mathias (“No Man’s Land”) and opening Wednesday, April 5, at the Public Theater, is in the biographies of the artists. Mr. Sherman’s Broadway debut, in 1979, was the pink-triangle Holocaust drama “Bent.” Mr. Fierstein’s, a couple of years later, was “Torch Song Trilogy.” Both became classics of the gay canon — and a whole lot has changed since then. (

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