The drama of the second act is driven by an unlikely suicide attempt and an even unlikelier kidnapping, neither of which would be a problem if the former didn't result in a long, needlessly preachy hospital scene that soaks up much of the play's momentum. Goldie, Max, and Milk would be very close to perfection if only that scene were trimmed, segueing more smoothly into the lovely coda set in Max's apartment (which, thanks to the ingenuity of set designer Timothy R. Mackabee, has been delightfully remodeled in its few minutes offstage). Goldie, Max, and Milk doesn't need preaching. When it relies on the warmth and strength of its characters, they say all that needs saying. Near the middle of the play, the young, Orthodox Shayna, covered head to toe in atavistic black garb, asks Max: "How can you be happy with all that you lack?" — meaning family, community, tradition, certainty, God. Max replies: "How can you be happy without R-rated movies or pants?" "I'm not happy!" cries Shayna, as though it should be obvious.
And it is. The point of Goldie, Max, and Milk isn't that the liberal atheists or the tradition-cleaving conservatives have all the answers. It's that the answers won't mean anything if we can't talk to each other. Creating a new world is hard, and the Maxes will need all the help they can get.