Play opens Sept. 6
The cast and crew of the Pulaski Fine Arts Association production of “Harvey” have been hard at work since early July to bring the classic comedy to the Theater on the Square.
Now the production is nearly ready, with opening night set for 7:30 p.m. Sept. 6 in downtown Waynesville, with future performances set for 7:30 p.m. Sept. 7, 13, 14, 20 and 21, along with a 2:30 p.m. matinee Sept. 15.
A classic of both stage and screen, the Pulitzer-Prize-winning “Harvey” was written by Mary Chase in 1944, and adapted into a highly successful movie starring Jimmy Stewart in 1950. Director Geri Dullhammer noted that PFAA’s production stays faithful to the stage version.
“This is the original script,” she said. “It’s a very light comedy, and a little bit of a fantasy. It’s been a joy to direct; the cast is fantastic, and it’s a fun show. We just need people to come out and see it.”
“Harvey” tells the story of the friendly and mild-mannered Elwood P. Dowd, played by Curtis Wood, who repeatedly invites his friend, Harvey, to social gatherings held by his sister, Veta Louise, played by Maria Whittaker. The trouble is, Harvey is an imaginary, 6-foot-tall rabbit.
Wood describes Dowd as “an interesting individual” who has been fun to portray because of his ever-friendly nature.
“Everybody he meets, he tries to make them his best friend. It’s fun to play Elwood, because he’s the calmest, coolest person in the play,” Wood said. “He takes everything really easy. In fact, another character comments that this idea of an imaginary rabbit — Elwood is the perfect person for him to have approached, because he’s probably the only person in the world who might be OK with having this imaginary 6-foot white rabbit with him.”
Veta, who hopes to climb her way up in the town’s society circles, is embarrassed by Elwood, and decides to have him committed to a sanitarium. However, doing so proves harder than it seems, and begins a mayhem-filled journey filled with mix-ups, mistaken identities and even a couple of unexplainable coincidences.
“Veta is not a calm person,” Whittaker said when asked to describe her character. “She loves her brother, but she’s also tired of this Harvey. She wants to have a social life, and she can’t have one with Harvey around.”
Caught up in the chaos are Veta’s daughter, Myrtle Mae, played by Michal Burton; Mrs. Ethel Chauvenet, an old friend of the family and an elite member of the town’s social circle, played by Sarah Mallman; Ruth Kelley, a nurse at the sanitarium, played by Kaitlin Roberts; Duane Wilson, an orderly responsible for handling patients, played by Alex Pellham; Dr. Sanderson, a young psychiatrist at the sanitarium, played by Jason Wardell; Dr. Chumley, the sanitarium director, played by Thomas Fink; Dr. Chumley’s wife, Betty Chumley, played by Tracy Moran; Judge Omar Gaffney, the family lawyer, played by James Blount, and cab driver E.J. Lofgren, played by Peter Elio James. Dylan Balestraci is also scheduled to appear in the role of Dr. Sanderson Sept. 20 and 21.
Tickets to “Harvey” are $10 for adults and $5 for children and are available by calling Toni Rowland at 573.528.4164 or by visiting https://pfaa-tots.webs.com. For more information, visit the PFAA page at www.facebook.com/ PulaskiFineArts.