Sunday, May 20, 2012

We All Need a Friend Like Harvey

"Harvey" was first on Broadway back in 1944 and won the pulitzer prize for author Mary Chase. I usually am not a lover of seeing the 'old-time classic comedies' that I remember doing in high school. But as my theater friend and I discussed after seeing the new Broadway revival in previews, not many people do this one.

I'm so glad she talked me into going.

What a charming piece that still holds up today. Seeing a show in previews means there are still changes going on so I know things will tighten up prior to opening...which only means this wonderful ensemble cast will get better and better.

So many people know the movie and instantly think of Jimmy Stewart (who was actually the replacement in the original Broadway show and got the role in the movie).  I honestly had forgotten much of the story so it felt completely new to me watching the play. (Though the people next to us found it silly and talked throughout. Why they would go to a show not knowing it's about an invisible white rabbit is beyond me.)

Jim Parsons is inevitably going to be compared to Jimmy Stewart by many reviewers when the show opens, but for this blogger - I found him wonderfully charming. A different take from Stewart. A little like his 'all-knowing' character on "The Big Bang Theory", but still a child-like silliness that is kind and welcoming to all he comes in contact with.

The stand-out of the night is Jessica Hecht (who has done numerous Broadway shows, but many remember from "Friends" as the lesbian girlfriend of Ross's wife). She plays the sister who is concerned for her brother and his rabbit friend and every time she is on the stage it is comic magic. Her physicality is amazing with every nervous tick of the hand and her 'rubbery legs' in Act II. I just loved her!

Also great seeing Charles Kimbrough back on Broadway and the delightful Carol Kane in this ensemble show. The audience seemed to give in to the light-hearted story line and be taken away by it. The revolving set is pretty darn spectacular too and the original three act play has now been put into two. (So be prepared for the second act to feel a little longer to you.) 

If looking for something light and fun this summer (as it is only a limited run) - get to Studio 54 and check out the big bunny!

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