Sarasota Players stages 'Harvey'

March 28, 2013 

Generally speaking, Mary Chase had a rather unexceptional career as a writer. She was a society-page writer for a Denver newspaper and, after a decade or so of doing that, she decided to write plays.

You've probably know only one of them, but you probably know it well. "Harvey" has become one of the most universally beloved plays in the history of American theater. It also won Chase the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1944.

It's the next production from Sarasota Players.

It is, of course, the affectionate and very funny story about a benignly crazy Elwood P. Dowd and his constant companion, a 6- 1/2-foot tall rabbit that only he can see and hear. Elwood's sister Veta becomes so obsessed with Harvey that she herself is thought to be insane and is committed to an institution.

James Stewart's wryly innocent performance as Elwood P. Dowd in the movie role has become iconic, almost to the point where that performance has become more famous than the play.

But Chase's script is pretty much sure-fire. It doesn't depend on one actor for all its charm and all its laughs, so the Sarasota Players' staging ought to be worthwhile.

It will probably be the best play about a huge invisible rabbit you've ever seen, and it will almost certainly be the best Mary Chase play you've ever seen.

Details: March 28-April 7, Sarasota Players Theater, 838 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Show times: 7:30 March 28 and April 2-4, 2 p.m. March 31and April 7, 2 and 7:30 p.m. April 6. Tickets: $25. Information: theplayers.org, 941-365-2494.

-- Marty Clear

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