Category Archive for: ‘Flora Lynn Isaacson’

RVP’s Harvey-A Time Honored Classic

Elwood P. Dowd (Steve Price) in Harvey at Ross Valley Players. Photo by Robin Jackson.

Ross Valley Players present Harvey, by American playwright Mary Coyle Chase.  Chase was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama when Harvey was named Best Play of the 1944-45 Season.  Harvey has been adapted for film and television several times, most notably in a 1950 film starring James Stewart.

Elwood P. Dowd (Steve Price) is an affable man who claims to have an unseen, and presumably imaginary, friend, “Harvey”—whom Elwood describes as a six foot, three and one half inch tall pooka.  Elwood introduces Harvey to everyone he meets.  His social climbing sister, Veta (Pamela Ciochetti), increasingly finds his eccentric behavior embarrassing.  She persuades family friend Judge Omar Gaffney (Wood Lockhart) to have him committed to a sanitarium to spare her and her daughter Myrtle Mae (Robyn Grahn) from future embarrassment.

When they arrive at the sanitarium, a comedy of errors ensues.  The doctors commit Veta instead of Elwood, but when the truth comes out, the search is on for Elwood and his invisible companion.  When Elwood shows up to the sanitarium looking for his best friend Harvey, it seems that the mild mannered Elwood’s delusion has had a strange influence on the staff, including sanitarium Director, Dr. Chumley (Norman Hall) and his business partner, Dr. Lyman Sanderson (Philip Goleman).  Only just before Elwood is supposed to be given an injection that will make him into a “perfectly normal” human being, do you know what “bastards they are” (in the words of a taxi cab driver played by James Dunn) who has become involved in the proceedings and Veta realizes she’d rather have Elwood the same as he’s always been—carefree and kind –even if it means living with Harvey.

This nostalgic production directed by Ross Valley Players Artistic Director, Robert Wilson, is old home week to many returning Ross Valley Players—Stephanie Saunders Ahlberg as Betty Chumley (Dr. Chumley’s wife), Norman Hall as Dr. William Chumley, Wood Lockhart as Judge Gaffney, Robyn Grahn as Myrtle Mae Simmons, Robin Wiley as Ethel Chauvenent, legendary stage director James Dunn as E.J. Lofgren, Pamela Ciochetti as Veta Louise Simmons and last but not least, Steve Price as Elwood P. Dowd. Ross Valley Players newcomer Lydia Singleton gives an impressive performance as Nurse Ruth Kelly.

The two sets by award winning Set Designer Ken Rowland are truly amazing. Michael A. Berg’s period costumes are quite authentic.

Harvey is a timeless masterpiece that audiences find hilarious even to this day.

Harvey runs November 15-December 15, 2013, Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday-Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Barn Theatre, home of Ross Valley Players, 30 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Ross.  To order tickets, call 415-456-9555 or go online at

Coming up next at Ross Valley Players is Journey’s End by R.C. Sherriff directed by James Dunn, January 17-February 16, 2014.

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