WALNUT RIDGE, Ark. – The Williams Baptist College Theatre Program will end its 2016-17 season with Mary Chase’s “Harvey.” The production will run April 20-21, beginning at 7:30 p.m., in WBC’s Old Chapel.
“Harvey,” a Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy, is the story of a perfect gentleman, Elwood P. Dowd, and his best friend, Harvey — a pooka, who is a six-foot tall, invisible rabbit. When Elwood begins introducing Harvey around town, his embarrassed sister, Veta Louise, and her daughter, Myrtle Mae, determine to commit Elwood to a sanitarium. A mistake is made, however, and Veta is committed rather than Elwood! Eventually, the mistake is realized, and a frantic search begins for Elwood and the invisible pooka.
“Audiences may be familiar with a movie done in 1950 that was based on the play and starred Jimmy Stewart as Dowd and Josephine Hull as his sister,” said Melinda Williams, director of the production. “There has also been a recent revival of the play on Broadway featuring Jim Parsons of “The Big Bang Theory” in the Jimmy Stewart role.”
The play features Ethan Risley of Farmington, Ark., as Dowd. “I actually picked the play for Ethan,” Williams explained. “He just seemed to be Elwood P. Dowd.”
Bethany Dorton of Judsonia, Ark., and Makenzie Free of Beebe, Ark., will be appearing as Dowd’s sister and niece. “They have really good chemistry on stage. You get the impression Elwood’s family loves him, but the embarrassment in society becomes too much for them,” added Williams.
For the staff at the sanitarium, Brittany Jo Wilson of Doniphan, Mo., will be playing Nurse Ruth Kelly; Andrew McDaniel of Jessieville, Ark., as Dr. Lyman Sanderson; Jace Tyler of Lepanto, Ark., as Dr. William Chumley; and Ryan Drendel of North Aurora, Ill., as Duane Wilson, an attendant.
Rounding out the cast will be Kayla Songer of Malvern, Ark., as Betty Chumley; Regan Hodges of Jonesboro, Ark., as E.J. Lofgren, a cab driver; and Maggie Morgan of Mammoth Spring, Ark., as Mrs. Ethel Chauvenet.
“This is a great play. Good storyline, great characters from top to bottom and some fantastic lines. My favorite is one of Dowd’s lines. ‘Well, I’ve wrestled with reality for 35 years, Doctor, and I’m happy to state I finally won out over it.’ It has a great lesson on being different and accepting that difference,” Williams concluded.
Admission for the production is $3 for students and senior citizens and $5 general admission.
Press Release – Grace Stoltz, WBC