Harvey: An Enduring Classic By Joan Baker

HarveyThe ZachTheatre’s production of Mary Chase’s Pulitzer Prize winning play Harvey confirms that a story with heart transcends time and place.

Harvey is the story of Elwood P. Dowd, an amicable soul who never meets a stranger, and his best friend Harvey, a six-foot tall white rabbit that no one else can see. Or can they?


 Elwood, played by the multi-talented Martin Burke, shares his home with his sister Veta Louise, played by the amazing Lauren Lane. Completing the family picture is Veta’s unmarried daughter, Myrtle Mae, played by the delightful and at times hysterical Erin Barlow. Veta Louise and Myrtle Mae are reaching a breaking point. They can’t lead a normal life because of

They can’t lead a normal life because of Elwood’s “craziness,” and Myrtle Mae is rapidly approaching spinsterhood. Veta Louise decides the time has come to commit Elwood at the local sanitarium, but when she tries to do so, the comedy kicks into high gear as the sanitarium staff deals with a case of mistaken insanity.

 This is an amazing cast! Martin Burke, known to Zach audiences for his performance in Santaland Diaries and Fully Committed, delights with his portrayal of Elwood as an ebullient, kindly soul who never meets a stranger. Lauren Lane, known to audiences for her six years as C.C. Babcock on the television show The Nanny and her award-winning roles in previous Zach productions, delivers a powerhouse performance as Veta Louise.


Marijane Vandivier as Mrs. Ethel Chauvenet steals the show when she is onstage. Liz Beckham sparkles with her multifaceted performance as Nurse Kelley. Jacob Trussell, who was recently in the Zach’s production of Mad, Beat, Hip and Gone, shows his versatility as Dr. Sanderson, the under-siege, junior psychiatrist, and Erin Barlow, also in Mad, Beat, Hip, and Gone, shows her range as the at-times hysterical (and hysterically funny) Myrtle Mae. Michael Stuart, Fritz Ketchum, David R. Jarrott, Victor Steele, and Scotty Roberts round out the cast of this funny, entertaining, memorable show.

Ultimately, it is Veta Louise who must decide whether her brother is administered a medication that will utterly and irrevocably change him into “a normal human being,” and therein lies the heart of the matter.


Directed by David Steakley, the play maintains a brisk tempo without seeming to rush or drag. The set designed by Michelle Ney is elegantly appropriate for a vintage mansion. Enjoy the whimsical touches of rabbits scattered throughout the room in portraits and photos. Equally impressive is the rotating set that smoothly transports the audience to the sleek, sterile world of the sanitarium. The technical team’s effects work so smoothly and effortlessly that doors seem to open and close magically and clocks start and stop with no seeming intervention. It must be magic!

Harvey plays at the Zach’s Topfer theatre through June 16, 2013. For ticket information and showtimes go to http://www.zachtheatre.org.


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