Harvey, the popular 1944 Pulitzer Prize-winning play about an affable man and his unseen (and presumably imaginary) friend Harvey—a six-foot, three-and-one-half-inch tall—is coming to The Boutique Community Theatre this month. The production, supervised by Karrie Sebryk, opens Friday, April 5, for a nine-performance run.
Written by American playwright Mary Chase, Harvey tells the story of Elwood P. Dowd, who insists on including his friend Harvey in all of his sister Veta’s social gatherings. Trouble is, Harvey is an imaginary six-and-a-half-foot-tall rabbit. To avoid future embarrassment for her family—and especially for her daughter, Myrtle Mae—Veta decides to have Elwood committed to a sanitarium. At the sanitarium, a frantic Veta explains to the staff that her years of living with Elwood’s hallucination have caused her to see Harvey also, and so the doctors mistakenly commit her instead of her mild-mannered brother. The truth comes out, however, but it seems that Elwood and his invisible companion have had a strange influence on more than a few people! Only at the end does Veta realize that maybe Harvey isn’t so bad after all. Harvey premiered on Broadway on November 1, 1944, at the 48th Street Theatre and closed on January 15, 1949, after 1,775 performances. Since then, it has become one of the most successful and popular plays, with several adaptations for film and television, most notably the 1950 film version starring James Stewart.
Karrie has a life-long history with rabbits. “Our family grew up in Edson, a small town in west-central Alberta,” she explains. “When I was a child, my father built a pen and filled it with rabbits for my sister and me to enjoy as playmates. It was a joyous time in my life.”
Karrie’s first encounter with Harvey was through a college production during her freshman year. “I was involved as costume manager,” she recalls. “I knew then I would be involved in theatre for the rest of my life.” Since then, she’s had the opportunity to direct the play on several occasions and is now excited to bring it to The Boutique stage. “I haven’t had the experience to collaborate with most of the cast, so this has been a wonderful journey of bringing out the best from each and every one of them. They have to know who they are and why they are choosing to do what they are doing.”
Harvey opens Friday, April 5 at 6 pm, with additional performances on April 6, 12, 13, 19 & 20 at 6 pm, and on April 7, 14 & 21 at 2 pm. Evening performances include a dinner option at 5 pm. Cast members include Stan Allen, Alice Averett, Thomas Carroll, Lydia Damato, Carlo Gagliano, Cat Meders, Miana Melendez, Brandon Miller, Jon Scott and Frank Harrison as Elwood P. Dowd.
Paco Ojeda is The Boutique Community Theatre’s Publicity Manager. A Puerto Vallarta-based freelance communicator, he writes news and stories for Puerto Vallarta’s English-speaking community at his blog, paco-ojeda.com.