Okeechobee Community Theatre presents 'Harvey'

Posted 3/15/24

"I'm saying this is the South, and we're proud of our crazy people. We don't hide them up in the attic …"

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Okeechobee Community Theatre presents 'Harvey'


"I'm saying this is the South, and we're proud of our crazy people. We don't hide them up in the attic. We bring 'em right down to the living room and show 'em off … no one in the South ever asks if you have crazy people in your family. They just ask what side they're on." From the television show, Designing Women.

Okeechobee Community Theatre’s Spring production is a delightful comedy that has stood the test of time.

 “Harvey” is a 1944 Pulitzer Prize winning play by Mary Chase. Audience members may be familiar with the story, as it has been adapted several times for television and film, most famously in the 1950 movie starring James Stewart.

The title character is a Pooka – a magical creature found in Celtic folklore. For those who can see him, he is said to look like a very large white rabbit – 6 foot 3.5 inches tall. But to most people (including the audience) Harvey is invisible.

Harvey is the best friend of Elwood P. Doud, a kind and generous man who has inherited the family home and fortune, much to the consternation of his sister, Veta, and niece, Mrytle Mae. Veta's efforts to earn a place in New Orleans society for herself and find suitors for her daughter are thwarted by Elwood’s habit of introducing guests to Harvey.

When Veta attempts to have Elwood committed to a sanitorium, a series of misunderstandings results in the medical staff wondering just which family member should be locked up.

Christian Garner shines as Elwood Dowd, borrowing some of Jimmy Stewart’s mannerisms for the role.

Katherine Hardy is hilarious as Elwood’s sister Veta Lousie Simmons, trying to maintain her Southern belle composure despite the chaos all around her.

Grace Thomas has a nice turn as Elwood’s niece Myrtle Mae Simmons, who fears her chances to meet a potential beau are doomed.

Joe Marcinek plays Dr. Sanderson, a doctor at the sanitorium who is fascinated with the Pooka story.

Katelyn Martin is Nurse Kelly who is fascinated with Dr. Sanderson and charmed by Elwood.

Joshua Boon plays the menacing sanitorium orderly Duane Wilson who takes a fancy to Myrtle Mae.

James Garner plays Dr. Chumley, the sanitorium director, who has a surprising experience of his own with the Pooka.

Robyn Garner is the chatty and clueless Mrs. Chumley.

Mike White plays the blustering Judge Omar Gaffney, determined to sue the sanitorium over injuries real or imagined.

Martha Bucholtz plays society matron Mrs. Ethel Chauvenet. Bethany Garner plays the maid, Miss Johnson.

Harry Moldenhauer, as the taxi driver, appears just in time to give the Veta – and the audience – something to think about: Is it better to be fit into the mold that society considers normal or to be a kind, generous person who makes others smile?

On opening night, the whole cast did a wonderful job of keeping the audience engaged and entertained. While the cast and crew are all volunteers, the production was very professional.

The play is directed by James Garner. Assistant director is Tina Welborn. Stage managers are Grace Morgan and Martha Bucholtz. Laura Murray is in charge of lighting. Stage crew includes Chloe McCullers, Starla Martin, Damon Tyner and Adanya Oliveira. Caroline Crews and Jane Robards are in charge of photography and marketing.

The play opened March 15 and runs through March 30, with performances on Fridays at 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 2 p.m.

For ticket information, go online to okeechobeecommunitytheatre.com. Tickets are also sold at the theatre before performances, if available.

OCT, Harvey, play, Okeechobee