By Glen Vaughn-Petersen
Main Street Theatre’s upcoming production, Mary Chase’s 1944 play Harvey, is a theatrical comedy classic.
Harvey is, at its core, a comedy of errors. The show is about Elwood P. Dowd, who begins introducing his so-called imaginary friend, the six foot three and one-half inch tall humanoid rabbit, to people at parties. When his sister, Veta, tries to have him committed, she is committed instead.
Many may have first become familiar with the notable 1950 film adaptation starring Jimmy Stewart and Josephine Hull. While this adaptation is the most well known version, its popularity is also part of the reason why Pam Powell, artistic director at Belton’s Main Street Theatre, wasn’t keen on putting it on at first.
“That raises the bar for us,” says Powell. “However, the longer I’ve worked with these actors, the more I’ve come to know they’ve got it.”
Since the worst of COVID has been over and people began going out in public, Main Street Theatre has needed to draw people in, and Harvey, according to Powell, is a show that is well-known and beloved enough that it can do that.
Additionally, for Powell, one of the best parts of this play is getting to teach her younger actors about the play’s time period. “I am a teacher, so, to me, the teaching part of theatre is incredible,” says Powell who shares with them the cultural knowledge of the 40s, such as the social mores, the high-society parties. “We’re going to take a step back in time for this show, and that’s a good thing to say.” Working in this time period is also a chance for mainstays and new actors of the Main Street Theatre alike to flex their acting muscles, expand their acting range, and learn new techniques and history to draw upon.
Powell reminds audiences that, though they may have seen the adaptation before, “don’t look for Jimmy” in this new production of Harvey.
Harvey is running from March 3rd through the 19th . Visit Belton’s Main Street Theatre’s website at mainstreettheaterbelton.com for ticketing details, times, and more information.