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'Harvey' is a riotous comedy with a heart of gold

'Harvey' now at The Barnstormers Theatre

Kelley Curran as Nurse Ruth Kelly, Dale Place as Elwood P. Dowd, and Doug Shapiro as Dr. Lyman Sanderson at Charlie’s Place in The Barnstormers production of the endearing comedy, ‘Harvey’ playing through Saturday, Aug. 8. Brad Ball Photo. (click for larger version)
August 06, 2009
The Barnstormers' beloved Dale Place (Elwood P. Dowd) takes on the role that was played exclusively by Francis Cleveland, The Barnstormers' founder, in five productions of "Harvey" from 1950 to 1989. Place brings a calm, humorous sweetness to the part that is perfectly balanced by the decidedly uncalm humorous sweetness of his confused sister, Veta Louise, played with zany abandon by another Barnstormers' favorite, Jean Mar Brown.

Newcomer Rae Evelyn McCarey exhibits a comedienne's plasticity in her amusing portrayal of Veta's daughter Myrtle Mae. The rest of the cast, Barnstormers regulars and relative newcomers alike (including a charming turn by W. Clapham Murray as E.J. Lofgren, the cabdriver who straightens out Veta Louise as to what really matters in life), all contribute adroitly to the broad slapstick humor of this Pulitzer-prize-winning play.

In addition to the well-choreographed antics of the cast, Frank T. Wells' direction uses ingenious lighting and music as shrewd stand-ins for the presence of "Harvey." The skillful set design by Dane E. Leeman is enlivened by dancing-bunny set changes, which are as enjoyable as any other part of the show. 

With extravagant comic caricatures, a dash of magic, adorable set changes, and in the end, the better angels of human nature in ascendency, "Harvey" is a play that will delight theatregoers of every age. 

Friday Night is Family Night at The Barnstormers. Family groups (which include at least one person 18 or under) may purchase tickets on the day of the show for less than half price: $14.50 for orchestra seats and $9.50 for the balcony. These special tickets are subject to availability, so first come, first served. In addition, The Barnstormers also offers Saturday Matinee Young Audience Tickets for people 18 and under – $15 in the orchestra and $10 in the balcony. 

Harvey: Aug. 4–8 at The Barnstormers Theatre, Main St., Tamworth. Curtain: 8 p.m. Tuesday – Saturday, Saturday matinee at 2 p.m.  For information and tickets, call the box office at 603-323-8500 or email tickets@barnstormerstheatre.org. Family Night ticket sales begin at noon on Friday.

Martin Lord Osman
Coos County Commissioners
Tilton School
Town & Country
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