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Roundabout Theatre Company Presents: Jim Parsons in "Harvey" at Studio 54
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Roundabout Theatre Company Presents: Jim Parsons in "Harvey" at Studio 54

- Backstage with the Playwrights

75 9th Avenue
New York, NY 10011
Mon-Sat 8-8, Sun.10-7
Fax: 212-633-9717

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Roundabout Theatre Company

Todd Haimes, Artistic Director
Harold Wolpert, Managing Director
Julia C. Levy, Executive Director

in association with
Don Gregory

Jim Parsons
Jessica Hecht, Charles Kimbrough


By Mary Chase

with Larry Bryggman
Peter Benson, Tracee Chimo, Holley Fain,
Angela Paton, Rich Sommer, Morgan Spector
Carol Kane

Directed by Scott Ellis

Studio 54
254 West 54th Street

Set Design: David Rockwell
Costume Design: Jane Greenwood
Lighting Design: Kenneth Posner
Original Music & Sound Design: Obadiah Eaves
Projection Design: Elaine J. McCarthy
Hair & Wig Design: Tom Watson
Production Stage Manager: Arthur Gaffin
Casting: Jim Carnahan CSA & Stephen Kopel
Press Representative: Boneau/Bryan-Brown
Technical Supervisor: Steve Beers
General Managers: Sydney Beers, Maggie Cantrick
Director of Marketing & Sales: Thomas Mygatt
Founding Director: Gene Feist
Adams Associate Artistic Director: Scott Ellis

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
June 19, 2012

I was so surprised to enjoy this production so thoroughly that I did not want it to end. Jim Parsons was so retro innocent, and his invisible rabbit companion so ingénue in concept, I was caught by surprise. It was reminiscent of the old “Topper” shows on television, with an adorable character that only the star can see, and occasionally items fly through the air, and doors open and close. The audience was hushed, then laughing with delight. The entire production is refreshingly ingénue.

Mr. Parsons as Elwood P. Dowd is well dressed, well mannered, well inebriated, and well educated. He tips his hat, makes pleasantries with strangers, invites them to meet for a drink, then confirms the date. He’s genuine and filled with grace. He lives on inheritance and keeps his sister and the bartenders company. Elwood’s sister, a slightly unraveling Veta (Jessica Hecht), decides to have Elwood committed to Chumley’s Rest, an elegant home for those of wandering minds, but Teflon-coated Elwood manages to be treated with respect and discharge, while Veta is carried upstairs. Charles Kimbrough is Dr. Chumley, also a fan of fine spirits, and his tipsiness sets off a hilarious farce. In fact, Mary Chase’s 1944 play has elements of French farce galore, thanks to David Rockwell’s multiple doors and staircases. Ms. Hecht is perfectly cast as the seemingly victimized sister, whose brother’s pretend friend causes such social unease. Yet, I doubt that anyone was bothered at her Act II accidental lockup, as one naturally roots for Elwood. Rich Sommer, as Chumley’s assistant, was comical and robust in the role of lockup.

Carol Kane brought the house down as Betty Chumley, the doctor’s wife, with the help of Jane Greenwood’s fanciful costumes. And, Tracee Chimo, as Myrtle Mae, Veta’s youthful, hormonal daughter, added some zest and energy. Larry Bryggman, as Judge Gaffney, had the role of a quite unlikable character, a lawyer joke, all around, while Angela Paton, as Aunt Ethel Chauvenet, doted on Elwood and Harvey with flair. Holly Fain was Nurse Kelly, who had some frolicking open-close-door farcical encounters with Morgan Spector, as Dr. Sanderson. Their escapades were ornamental, revealing the shallowness of Chumley’s Rest. Scott Ellis has directed for maximum enjoyment of this remarkable revival. Kenneth Posner’s lighting shifted from Veta’s dark wood library to Chumley’s stark sanitarium. Kudos to all.

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at