Little Egg Theatre Company Performing ‘Harvey’ This Weekend

The Easter Bunny Has Competition
Mar 26, 2019
Photo by: Rick Mellerup Elwood P. Dowd (Mike Bochicchio) looking up to his very tall friend Harvey in the Little Egg Theatre Company’s production of “Harvey” set for this weekend.

The Little Egg Theatre Company will perform the classic comedic drama “Harvey” on Friday and Saturday, March 29 and 30 at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday, March 31 at 2 p.m. at Little Egg Harbor Township’s Edward Thornton Community Center.

Tickets are $12 and may be purchased online at littleeggtheatreco.com/current-production or at the door up to 30 minutes before each show. Feel free to bring a cushion for the community center’s metal folding chairs. Concessions will be available; coffee is free for all.

“Harvey,” written by Mary Chase, opened on Broadway on Nov. 1, 1944 and ran for 1,775 performances through Jan. 15, 1949. The play doesn’t boast any Tony Awards since they didn’t come into being until 1947, the year after their namesake, Mary Antoinette “Tony” Perry, died. “Harvey,” though, has a definite Tony connection considering Perry directed the show on Broadway.

More importantly, “Harvey” won the 1945 Pulitzer Prize for drama!

You’ll never see the play’s title character, Harvey. That’s because he’s a 6-foot-plus-tall pooka who resembles an anthropomorphic rabbit and who can be seen only by his constant companion Elwood P. Dowd (Mike Bochicchio).

Elwood is a kindly and gentle man, much like the actor who played him in the 1950 movie, James Stewart. But his habit of introducing Harvey to everybody he meets distresses his social-climbing sister Veta Louise Simmons (Mary Henry) to no end. Things come to a head when Dowd arrives home unexpectedly during a society tea that Veta organized so that her unmarried daughter Myrtle Mae (Amy Joan Culleny) could meet the mothers and grandmothers of the town’s eligible bachelors. Needless to say, her guests are more than a little upset by Elwood’s strange behavior.

So Veta decides to have Elwood committed to a sanitarium run by Dr. William R. Chumley (Jim Henry). When they arrive Elwood is almost immediately taken away by the sanitarium’s orderly, Duane Wilson (Chuck Deeney). But as Veta tries to explain her dilemma to the sanitarium’s young Dr. Lyman Sanderson (Cormac Morressey) he decides it is she and not her brother who needs care. So it is off to the hydrotherapy tub for Veta, and Elwood is released.

When Doctors Chumley and Sanderson confer it becomes clear that the wrong person has been committed. But Elwood has departed. A frantic search develops.

The cast also includes Ellen Voorhees as Miss Johnson, a caterer/maid, Aline Bernstein as Mrs. Ethel Chauvenet, a leading socialite, Trish O’Neill as Ruth Kelly, RN, Julie Shutz as Dr. Chumley’s wife Betty, A. Grey LeCuyer as Judge Omar Gaffney, the Simmons family lawyer, and Ken Shivak as E.J. Lofgren (Ken Shivak), a cab driver who proves pivotal in straightening things out after Elwood returns to the sanitarium looking for Harvey.

Bochicchio has the understated comic chops to fill the role of Elwood. Once, when reviewing a previous LETCO production, this writer wrote that when Bochicchio is in character it is almost impossible not to laugh just looking at him.  —R.M.

 

 

 

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