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HARVEY Reviews

LimelightMike Profile Photo
LimelightMike
Broadway Legend
joined:6/21/06
HARVEY Reviews
Posted: 6/14/12 at 03:46am
Today is Thursday, June 14, marking the official opening night performance of Harvey, Mary Chase's 1944 Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy about a man whose best friend is a 6-foot-tall rabbit. The limited engagement (thru August 5) plays Studio 54 in a Roundabout Theatre Company production, starring television favorite, Jim Parsons!

Happy 2012-13 (Broadway) Season, boys and girls!

Best,
- M



LimelightMike's 2010-2011 Theatergoing Schedule: THE PITMEN PAINTERS (10.03.10) A LIFE IN THE THEATRE (10.10.10) BLOODY BLOODY ANDREW JACKSON (10.16.10) THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS (11.06.10) WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN (11.13.10) BRIEF ENCOUNTER (11.22.10) THE PEE-WEE HERMAN SHOW (11.28.10) LA BETE (12.23.10) A SMALL FIRE (01.13.11) THAT CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON (03.09.11) ARCADIA (03.16.11) BLACK TIE (03.19.11) PRISCILLA: QUEEN OF THE DESERT (03.21.11) THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST (03.26.11) BENGAL TIGER AT THE BAGHDAD ZOO (03.30.11) GHETTO KLOWN (03.31.11) HOW TO SUCCEED... (04.07.11) ANYTHING GOES (04.12.11) JERUSALEM (04.20.11) SISTER ACT (04.29.11) iHO: (05.22.11)
bjh2114 Profile Photo
bjh2114
Broadway Legend
joined:4/19/06
HARVEY Reviews
Posted: 6/14/12 at 08:19pm
Entertainment Weekly is mixed (B-) with a rave for Parsons:

"The revelation here, aside from David Rockwell's stunning revolving sets, is Parsons. After a promising but tentative Broadway debut last year in A Normal Heart, the preternaturally boyish actor commands the stage in a surprisingly offhanded way. He rivets your attention without any big gestures or look-at-me grandstanding — and without merely delivering a Jimmy Stewart impression. Instead, he captures the essence of Stewart while making an old-fashioned character seem refreshingly modern. It's as if he's internalized Elwood's forthright embrace of the whimsically absurd."

http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20364394_20604149,00.html
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bjh2114
Broadway Legend
joined:4/19/06
HARVEY Reviews
Posted: 6/14/12 at 08:21pm
amNY is positive (3.5 stars):

"Although Mary Chase's classic comedy "Harvey" is still performed by high schools and community groups, Scott Ellis' highly enjoyable revival for the Roundabout Theatre Company marks the play's first Broadway production in more than 40 years.

...

In an effortless and charming performance, Parsons is wonderful as Elwood P. Dowd, the happy-go-lucky, very caring barfly whose best friend is Harvey - a 6-foot tall rabbit that only he can see."


http://www.amny.com/urbanite-1.812039/theater-review-harvey-3-5-stars-1.3783132
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bjh2114
Broadway Legend
joined:4/19/06
HARVEY Reviews
Posted: 6/14/12 at 08:22pm
Backstage is positive:

"Never underestimate a warhorse. Though I've enjoyed "Harvey" in the past, particularly in the hands of Helen Hayes and James Stewart in a 1972 TV version based on their hit Broadway revival, I really didn't expect Mary Chase's popular 1944 comedy to fly in our much more cynical age. So I'm happy to report that Roundabout Theatre Company's production at Studio 54 is a lighter-than-air lark grounded by a strain of touching melancholy. Chase's gentle fable about the costs of conformity and the human need for connection states universal truths that continue to resonate. It's also a hell of a lot of fun."

http://www.backstage.com/bso/reviews-ny-theatre-broadway/ny-review-harvey-1007321752.story
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bjh2114
Broadway Legend
joined:4/19/06
HARVEY Reviews
Posted: 6/14/12 at 08:25pm
The AP is negative and is as close to a pan as I can remember in the AP:

"Much more than a 6-foot rabbit is invisible at the new revival of "Harvey" on Broadway. So is any real reason to see it.

A recent preview of The Roundabout Theatre Company's dull production starring Jim Parsons triggered plenty of yawning in the audience and revealed cracks in a play that's supposed to celebrate American individualism and lampoon social conformity. It opened Thursday at Studio 54.

At "Harvey," there is overacting and under-acting, poor sound quality and endless windups for lame payoff jokes. And it is led by an actor who seems to be completely shorn of any charisma. Parsons, who plays a hard-core physicist nerd on "The Big Bang Theory," has merely transferred his pursed-mouth, vaguely creepy and unsocialized TV character to the stage. With no laugh track. For two hours.

Parsons steps into the big shoes of Jimmy Stewart to play Elwood P. Dawd, a far-too-pleasant man who has been left some money, spends it on booze and is accompanied by a tall white rabbit, an invisible creature only he sees called Harvey."


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20120614/us-theater-review-harvey/
bjh2114 Profile Photo
bjh2114
Broadway Legend
joined:4/19/06
HARVEY Reviews
Posted: 6/14/12 at 08:27pm
Hollywood Reporter is positive:

"With fatigue from the Tony Awards and the glut of April openings still lingering, it’s a pleasure to report that Harvey, the first entry of the 2012-13 Broadway season is an unassuming charmer. Best known for the 1950 film adaptation that starred James Stewart, Mary Chase’s Pulitzer-winning 1944 comedy is a delectable mid-century chestnut with an idiosyncratic personality that still sparkles. And in Scott Ellis’ superbly cast revival for Roundabout Theatre Company, the gentle farce provides an ideal vehicle for the gifted Jim Parsons."

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/harvey-theater-review-337880
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bjh2114
Broadway Legend
joined:4/19/06
HARVEY Reviews
Posted: 6/14/12 at 08:30pm
Variety is mixed

"Charles Kimbrough is insanely funny as the head of the psychiatric clinic who goes chasing after his runaway ward and is won over by Harvey. As the doctor's downhearted wife, Carol Kane steals the scene in which Elwood charms her with his kindness and beautiful manners. And Angela Paton brightens the first act as a wealthy society matron who does a classic double-take when Elwood introduces her to his imaginary friend.

Wherever they happened to have wandered in terms of performance styles, the company pulls itself together in the final scene, when scribe Chase quits being facetious and makes her serious point that "perfectly normal human beings" are, in fact, nasty people -- and that however eccentric Elwood may seem to the "normal" people in the world, he's a lot happier than they are.

Cue the audience cheers."


http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117947755
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bjh2114
Broadway Legend
joined:4/19/06
HARVEY Reviews
Posted: 6/14/12 at 09:29pm
Philadelphia Inquirer is positive:

"It's good and often silly fun, greatly enriched by Parson's performance. His Dowd walks through life much like TV's late and beloved Mr. Rogers, with that same sort of googly twang, aw-shucks inflection, nonjudgmental manner and gentleness of spirit. (Mr. Rogers had some weird friends too, but not outside the TV studio.)

It's tempting to delve into the serious side of "Harvey," a play that mercilessly ridicules psychiatry, and to try to diagnose Dowd, just as people sometimes try to diagnose Parson's TV character. In addition, Harvey turns to the question of whether a miracle drug could change Dowd's behavior; in an age when overdiagnosing — and overmedicating — children with behavioral disorders is an ongoing issue, "Harvey" may acquire a new relevance.

Still, I'd like to think that it won't. "Harvey," and this production of it, is all for fun, and we might get into trouble by digging too deep. After all, we all have our own rabbits to deal with."


http://www.philly.com/philly/entertainment/arts/20120614_Broadway_review___lsquo_Harvey_.html
bjh2114 Profile Photo
bjh2114
Broadway Legend
joined:4/19/06
HARVEY Reviews
Posted: 6/14/12 at 09:49pm
Newsday is positive:

"If the term summer stock were not so besmirched with straw hats and desperation, the Roundabout's production, starring the sweetly formidable Jim Parsons, could be thought of as Broadway's excellent summer vacation. Parsons, in a small but significant stretch from the haute-geek he plays on TV's "The Big Bang Theory," does not shirk from creating an Elwood P. Dowd who stands tall yet somehow separate from the long, bright shadow cast by Jimmy Stewart in the 1950 movie.

Director Scott Ellis has surrounded Parsons with an appropriately fine assortment of character actors to play dithering dowagers, dotty psychiatrists and incredulous family members inconvenienced by having a relative talking to a 6-foot-31 / 2-inch invisible white rabbit named Harvey. Especially impressive is Jessica Hecht, much admired in drama, turning into a multileveled, delightfully goofy comic as Elwood's impatient, financially dependent cousin. Watch how her smiles suggest she might cry, while her weeping seems in conflict with her happy face."


http://www.newsday.com/entertainment/theater/harvey-don-t-mind-the-invisible-rabbit-1.3780158
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bjh2114
Broadway Legend
joined:4/19/06
HARVEY Reviews
Posted: 6/14/12 at 10:05pm
Theatermania is a rave:

"No one appreciates this better that director Scott Ellis, who takes impressive command of a crackerjack ensemble, circulating in Jane Greenwood's impeccable period outfits. Indeed, every cast member embodies the spirit of the daffy goings-on, with special laurels due to Hecht for creating a break-out comedy characterization.

Oblivious to the danger into which Elwood has been placed, Parsons creates a magic spotlight for he and his unorthodox friend. Regularly exchanging knowing looks and comments with his tall chum, he reaches a performance peak when Elwood says, "I've wrestled with reality for 35 years, Doctor, and I'm happy to state I finally won out over it." Amen to that."


http://www.theatermania.com/broadway/reviews/06-2012/harvey_57978.html
chanel
Leading Actor
joined:1/28/04
HARVEY Reviews
Posted: 6/14/12 at 10:08pm
Villagevoice.com is mixed. Says Parsons exhibits the right qualities, but Hecht is miscast and maybe she and Carol Kane should have switched roles.

http://blogs.villagevoice.com/dailymusto/2012/06/jim_parsons_in.php
bjh2114 Profile Photo
bjh2114
Broadway Legend
joined:4/19/06
HARVEY Reviews
Posted: 6/14/12 at 10:10pm
The Wall Street Journal is mixed:

"It seems a safe bet that Scott Ellis, the director of this revival, has nudged the other members of the cast in the direction of comic caricature (though I doubt that Carol Kane needed much nudging). Jessica Hecht's fey, fluttery performance as Elwood's sister would be more distinctive if most of her colleagues weren't trying so aggressively—and successfully—to get laughs. I wish the production as a whole were sweeter and quieter, but it comes off anyway. Holley Fain plays it satisfyingly straight as a pretty young nurse who is charmed by Elwood's courtly, old-fashioned ways, and David Rockwell's triple-turntable quick-change set is a pleasingly slick piece of work."

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303768104577462322005586292.html
bjh2114 Profile Photo
bjh2114
Broadway Legend
joined:4/19/06
HARVEY Reviews
Posted: 6/14/12 at 10:13pm
NY Times (Isherwood) is positive:

"Such is the charm of the director Scott Ellis’s production of this 1944 chestnut, led by a supremely winning Jim Parsons as the gentle protagonist, Elwood P. Dowd, that you may find yourself wistfully scanning the departing crowds for a glimpse of Elwood’s boon companion, that big, furry critter who spreads both exasperation and enchantment among all who encounter him.

Mary Chase’s play is by no means a work of great profundity. The Pulitzer Prize committee may have never erred more egregiously than it did in favoring “Harvey” over Tennessee Williams’s first masterwork, “The Glass Menagerie.” But handled with care, as it has been in this Roundabout Theater Company production, this winsome comedy about a lovable eccentric can cast a satisfying spell."


http://theater.nytimes.com/2012/06/15/theater/reviews/harvey-with-jim-parsons-at-studio-54.html?ref=theater
whatever2
Broadway Legend
joined:8/25/06
HARVEY Reviews
Posted: 6/14/12 at 10:22pm
mildly surprised -- and entirely happy -- over the positive notices.

it was fluff, but it was good fluff.

(and we all could use a good fluffing every now and then.)

"You, sir, are a moron." (PlayItAgain)
Updated On: 6/14/12 at 10:22 PM
Owen22
Broadway Legend
joined:2/24/11
HARVEY Reviews
Posted: 6/14/12 at 10:38pm
I'm really surprised Isherwood didn't mention the set though, one of Rockwell's simplest and best.

Also odd he keeps referring to the title character as "imaginary" when the irony is that (SPOILERS) Harvey is actually real; an invisible Celtic supernatural creature.
whatever2
Broadway Legend
joined:8/25/06
HARVEY Reviews
Posted: 6/14/12 at 10:40pm
good observations, both, owen22; i thought the "imaginary" references were odd, too.
"You, sir, are a moron." (PlayItAgain)
henrikegerman Profile Photo
henrikegerman
Broadway Legend
joined:4/29/05
HARVEY Reviews
Posted: 6/15/12 at 01:07am
Critics have always presented a variety of viewpoints about productions. So maybe I'm merely imagining that lately critics seem to disagree more dramatically about shows and even individual acting performances than I can ever remember. Subjectiveness is to be expected, but this degree of it makes me wonder if something has altered. It's as if people who write professionally about theater, rather than having different opinions, seem to be from different planets.
Gypsy9 Profile Photo
Gypsy9
Broadway Legend
joined:5/27/06
HARVEY Reviews
Posted: 6/15/12 at 07:41am
But, Henrikegerman, almost all of the reviewers of HARVEY love it and Jim Parsons. The lone dissenter seems to be the Associated Press reviewer who hated it. Only he fits your description of different reviewers being from different planets.
"Madam Rose...and her daughter...Gypsy!"
bjh2114 Profile Photo
bjh2114
Broadway Legend
joined:4/19/06
HARVEY Reviews
Posted: 6/15/12 at 08:19am
I think henrik was referring more to some of the individual performances other than Parsons. For instance, many of the mixed review praised Jessica Hecht, while several of them panned her.
henrikegerman Profile Photo
henrikegerman
Broadway Legend
joined:4/29/05
HARVEY Reviews
Posted: 6/15/12 at 10:12am
I was referring to the performances specifically, and also t the production in general, and no so much the general conclusion but the specifics of what works and what doesn't and how they interpret the production.. Also, I wasn't really singling out Harvey but to a lot of openings lately.
Auggie27 Profile Photo
Auggie27
Broadway Legend
joined:10/13/03
HARVEY Reviews
Posted: 6/15/12 at 10:21am
These are fine reviews, and they make me wonder if HBO or even a network might want to do a TV film. Parsons is a TV star, and he's scored some of the best press any television actor has managed in recent years. It would be a smart commercial move, if the rights are offered, and they could streamline the play.
"I'm a comedian, but in my spare time, things bother me." Gary Shandling
jstarr2
Chorus Member
joined:12/2/11
HARVEY Reviews
Posted: 6/15/12 at 06:07pm
Was really shocked by how negative that AP review was.

Anyway, Curtain Critic has it right now at
73 Overall
80 Cast
76 Script
90 Tech
http://www.curtaincritic.com/Shows/HARVEY_REVIEWS-171.html

 
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