I grew up in a town that was a little weird. Outside the courthouse we didn’t have a statue of the Liberty Bell or George Washington. There wasn’t even a cannon. What we did have was a larger than life bronze statue of Jimmy Stewart. He was born in Indiana, PA and aside from being the self proclaimed Christmas tree capital of the world, that was pretty much our only claim to fame.
While I’ve never seen It’s a Wonderful Life (don’t judge, I just never saw it. I’m not against it or anything. It’s kind of a weird anomaly that I’ve made it this far in my life without seeing it) I have seen many of Jimmy Stewart’s other movies. Yes, that includes American Tail: Fivel Goes West and The Last Gangster. But by far, my favorite movie of Mr. Stewart’s, and possibly one of my top five favorite movies of all time, was Harvey.
I always had an affinity for the show and when I did it in college as a stage play I fell even more in love. I could listen to to Jimmy Stewart read the phone book but when he says: “Years ago, my mother used to say to me, she’d say ‘In this world, Elwood, you can be oh so so smart, or oh so pleasant.’ Well, for years I was smart… I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.” it was like an aural orgasm.
When I heard rumors of a Broadway launch of the show a few years ago I only cringed for a moment. I had no idea who was going to play my beloved Elwood but they had better pick the right person…and boy did they.
I’m a huge Jim Parsons fan. I had the biggest fangirl moment of my life when he appeared in the latest Muppet movie. A scene with Jim Parsons, Jason Segel, puppets, and singing? I swooned. He’s a brilliant actor, anyone who has ever seen him on stage or screen can attest to that. And his voice even has a little affectation that makes it slightly Stewart esque…that small back of the palate gurgle that made Stewart iconic.
Harvey opened yesterday at Studio 54 in New York City to a rave review in The Times. A Broadway run is perfection for this time tested and beloved tale of a man and his gigantic 6-foot tall invisible white rabbit best friend.
Sorry, Six feet three and a half inches. Now let’s stick to the facts.
You can find more about the show and buy tickets (and purchase one for your favorite Theatre blogger…that would be me) at http://www.roundabouttheatre.org/. In a time where big musicals like Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess and Jesus Christ Superstar seem to be reigning supreme it is a great joy to see a straight play like Harvey getting such fantastic attention.