Publisher: Elizabeth Hurd

“Harvey” A Hit from 3rd Act Theatre

Taylor Reich as Elwood P. Dowd conversing with his best friend, the pooka, Harvey in “Harvey” Photo courtesy of April Porterfield

“Harvey” by Mary Chase is considered to be one of the greatest plays to ever grace a stage as well as one of the greatest movies ever made.  It is considered to be an ideal comedy and opportunity for comedians to show off their expressive skills. Caprice Sorg is directing “Harvey” at 3rd Act Theatre with a troupe of very funny folk.  They have mastered the double take, the deadpan, and the ridiculous in telling the story of Elwood P. Dowd and his beloved pooka.  Elwood Dowd inherited the family home and he invited his sister and her daughter to live with them.   He is a charming fellow but his family are embarrassed when he brings his pooka with him. 

A pooka is a mischievous spirit of Irish folklore who may become attached to a particular individual.   Elwood Dowd thought that he was just such an individual.  Pooka’s are often animals and Harvey’s pooka is a rabbit.  A tall rabbit at about 6 feet with a heart of gold as Elwood considers him as his best friend.  His name is Harvey and Elwood Dowd takes great delight in introducing Harvey to anyone and everyone. This greatly embarrasses his sister and niece as it plays havoc with their social life.  They hatch a plot to commit him to a sanitarium, but the plans go somewhat awry and results in more hilarious havoc than anticipated. 

From left, Lucas Schrantzas Dr. Sanderson conferring with Brian Wall as Dr. Chumley while Kate Adams as Nurse Kate and Korri Werner as Mrs. Chumley (seated) look on. Photo courtesy of April Porterfield

Caprice Sorg is an imaginative director and her casting for “Harvey” is well thought out.  Elwood P. Dowd is expertly played by Taylor Reich.  The deference shown to the imaginary invisible pooka with eyes and gestures indicates perfectly where Harvey is and what he is doing.  The performance is delivered with charm and wit as well as style and grace.  His dependent sister Vita Simmons is delightfully played by Lilli Bassett. Her excitable nature and lack of forethought indicate perfectly a loving but frustrated woman who is dependent yet determined.  Reich and Bassett have a delightful chemistry and it is easy to imagine the siblings as children growing up in the house Elwood inherits. 

Niece Myrtle Mae Simmons is realized beautifully by Rachel Schelen.  Myrtle is a sweet young thing who needs to make some sort of debut but cannot easily with her uncle’s foibles confounding her efforts.  It is this desperate need to appear like everyone else that drives her mother to hatch the plan to have her brother committed.  Schelen plays Myrtle with a sweetness that hides under the natural bitterness against her uncle’s folly. 

Mrs. Chauvenet, a socialite who must be impressed is played by Kristy Salisbury with humor and style.  Judge Gaffney played by Edmund Gert recognizes the necessity of doing something about poor Elwood Dowd and facilitates his placement in the sanitarium.  At the sanitarium are Dr. Sanderson performed by Lucas Schrantz, Dr. Chumley, played by Brian Wall, Mrs. Chumley is Korri Werner while Nurse Kelly played by Kate Adams.  Lofgren is played by Matthew Moreillon and Miss Johnson is portrayed by Caitlin Cairns  while Wilson is Grant Brittan.  These characters demonstrate the humor in the situation with excellent timing and facial expressions.  Notably, Schrantz as Dr. Sanderson has an elastic face that is amazing.  Overall the cast is as one and their performance is quite naturally comedic at all times.

Cast of “Harvey”
Photo courtesy of A;pril Porterfield

And Harvey?  He exists.  He exists because he has become much more than a flash of brilliance from the talented playwright, Mary Chase.  In every production of Harvey from the original in 1944, he gains just a little more substance, and he makes himself known to the audience and cast in every production.  He is loyal and funny, and he definitely shows up in this production of “Harvey” with grace.

The beautiful set is constructed by Don Taylor. Sorg has Kristy Salisbury as assistant director and Jacey Nichole and Christine Jolly as stage managers. Costumes are by Christine Lanning.  The entire backstage crew works diligently and smoothly in all the technical aspects .

“Harvey” runs from March 3 2023 to March 19, 2020 at 3rd Act Theatre in the Shoppes at Northpark Mall at 12040 N. May Avenue in Oklahoma City.  For tickets and information visit the website at or call the box office at 405-593-8093.  “Harvey” is a great show for general audiences and a fun date as well.  Don’t miss it, a good laugh is a good way to spring into spring!