Jun 7

Harvey

Harvey playing at Studio 54 (254 W. 54th St) through August 5th 2012

Many actors I know in the industry are very angry at how all of Broadway has turned into a project for celebrities who are on hiatus from their TV or movie gigs.  They come here to prove that they have the real acting chops to be on stage.  And unfortunately most of them do not.  But who would know because their shows sell out anyway.  Broadway used to be a place where an unknown could flex their acting muscles and propel their career to greater heights.  Now due to outrageous ticket prices it seems like the chances for an unknown to headline a Broadway comedy or drama are slim to none.  I bring this up because it’s a valid argument and one that I’m sure you’ll see me talk about from time to time here.  However, Harvey  is not one of those kind of productions.

Jim Parsons has shot to fame in a relatively quick period of time.  But theatre was his first true love.  He is currently 37 years old and had been fighting and struggling out here with the rest of us for quite some time.  I heard him say in an interview, I think it was on Conan, that Big Bang was his first audition in L.A. Now I’m sure he had big time representation by that point who were selling him, but the point is we can all look at Jim as a benchmark of success.  If you are talented and the right role comes along, the doors will open for you and the sky is the limit.  His performance as Sheldon is something to behold.  The eccentricities, ticks, the way he laughs, the specifics that make that character are Parsons creating a masterpiece of a performance.  Just the amount of specific scientific dialogue he has to learn every week for The Big Bang Theory is something to marvel at.

Jim Parsons in Harvey

Parsons stars as one of modern theatre’s most lovable characters, Elwood P. Dowd. Charming and kind, Elwood has only one character flaw:  an unwavering friendship with a six-foot-tall, invisible white rabbit named Harvey. In order to save the family’s social reputation, Elwood’s sister Veta (Jessica Hecht) takes Elwood to the local sanatarium. But when Dr. William Chumley (Charles Kimbrough) mistakenly commits the anxiety-ridden Veta, Elwood—and Harvey—slip out of the hospital unbothered, setting off a hilarious whirlwind of confusion and chaos as everyone in town tries to catch a man and his invisible rabbit.

Harvey is a wonderful production.  The acting is consistently great throughout the cast.  Parsons steals the show, as he should and you know he would.  Whoever thought to put him into this role is a genius because it fits him like a glove. It was also great to see Charles Kimbrough who I know from Murphy Brown and Carol Kane from Taxi. The set designs are beautiful and really made me feel like I was watching this play in the 40′s. The play really does successfully manage to pull you back into that time period.  It makes me think about what it was like to be a working actor back then. Before TV and film completely took over and everyone went to the theatre.  There are so many great plays from that time period I hope to see them done more often!

The one comment I have to say though is damn, people must’ve all been lushes back then!  There is so much discussion about going to different bars I thought I was watching the comedic version of The Iceman Cometh.

So is a play that won the Pulitzer in 1945 still relevant today? Absolutely!  The central message of the play still holds true today and Harvey is definitely something to see.

Thank you Jim Parsons for a really great night of theatre!  And anytime you can bring a fresh crowd to the theatre is a great thing! I saw a lot of younger faces at the show than I’m used to.  Something tells me the heavy set gentlemen I saw in shorts and a t shirt that read: ‘Bazinga!’ might be seeing his first show.  Hopefully you’ve opened a world to him he didn’t know existed.

For more about the production and tickets visit: Roundabout Theatre Online

-Kirk

Jim Parsons and Carol Kane in Harvey


leave a reply