The new production of Mary Chase’s Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy HARVEY directed by Lindsay Posner and starring James Dreyfus as Elwood P. Dowd and Maureen Lipman as Veta Louise Simmons, will play a limited season at London’s Theatre Royal Haymarket from Tuesday 17 March until Saturday 2 May, with a Gala Night on Monday 23 March. The production will first open at Birmingham Repertory Theatre on 6 February, running until 21 February, with a national press night on Tuesday 17 February. After Birmingham, the production will play in Malvern from 24 to 28 February and Richmond from 3 to 7 March.
Joining James Dreyfus and Maureen Lipman in the 2015 production are David Bamber as William R. Chumley, Desmond Barrit as Judge Omar Gaffney, Felicity Dean as Betty Chumley, Ingrid Oliver as Myrtle Mae Simmons, Amanda Boxer as Miss Ethel Chauvenet, Sally Scott as Nurse Ruth Kelly, Youssef Kerkour as Duane Wilson, Jack Hawkins as Lyman Sanderson and Linal Haft as E J Lofgren.
Don Gregory, who produced the play on Broadway in 2012 with Jim Parsons as Elwood P. Dowd. He also produced a television version of HARVEY with Leslie Nielsen in 1998. Don Gregory’s other Broadway productions include the recent highly acclaimed production of The Belle of Amherst with Joely Richardson and the original production of the same play with Julie Harris, My Fair Lady with Rex Harrison, Camelot with Richard Burton, Othello with James Earl Jones and Christopher Plummer and Clarence Darrow with Henry Fonda.
Elwood P. Dowd has only one character flaw: an unwavering friendship with a six-foot tall, invisible rabbit named Harvey. In order to save the family’s reputation, Elwood’s sister Veta takes him to see psychiatrist Dr William Chumley. But when the doctor mistakenly commits anxiety-ridden Veta instead of her brother, it sets off an hilarious whirlwind of confusion and chaos as everyone tries to catch a man and his invisible rabbit.
HARVEY premiered on Broadway in 1944, winning writer Mary Chase the Pulitzer Prize for Drama the following year. The production was directed by Antoinette Perry, after whom the Tony Awards are named. The play premiered in London in 1949 at the Prince of Wales Theatre. In 1950, Mary Chase adapted her play for the big screen, with James Stewart in the role of Elwood P. Dowd. James Stewart went on to star in the Broadway and London revivals of the stage play – in 1970 with Helen Hayes on Broadway and in 1975 with Mona Washbourne at the Prince of Wales Theatre.
HARVEY will be directed by Lindsay Posner and designed by Peter McKintosh, with lighting by Howard Harrison and sound by Paul Groothuis.
HARVEY OPENS AT THE THEATRE ROYAL HAYMARKET FOR A STRICTLY LIMITED SEASON ON TUESDAY 17 MARCH.