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4.7 out of 5 stars
Harvey,: A play;
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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on May 11, 1998
Format: Paperback
Linked inexorably with the late, great James Stewart, the play "Harvey" is actually stranger, darker and more clever than most of us remember from the film. Mary Chase establishes three forces in opposition - Elwood (and while this is "his" story, he is a minor character in the play), his family, and the "outsiders" who are caught in the middle. The distinctions between them are bound primarily in their reaction to Harvey, Elwood's best friend.
A much darker version of this same story can be seen in the British drama, "The Ruling Class," made into a film in the 1970s featuring Peter O'Toole.
READ "Harvey," then see the film again, and draw your own conclusions. Ms. Chase was quite a writer.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on June 24, 2005
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
When I was reading this I was replaying the movie in my head. This play is well written and very charming. It is a about a man Elwood P. Dowd whose best friend Harvey is a giant invisible rabbit. No Harvey is not an imaginary friend. I found it amusing that Elwood's sister wanted Elwood to be committed because of Harvey and yet she knew that Harvey really existed. With Harvey as his friend, Elwood had a very peaceful and gentle disposition, was very pleasant and thoroughly enjoyed every moment of his life. I wonder where I could find a giant invisible rabbit. :)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Here is the Dramatists Play Service version of the original 1944 stage play of HARVEY, the roaring Broadway success that got the Pulitzer Prize for author Mary Chase and went on to inspire the 1951 Universal Studios film comedy with Jimmy Stewart and Josephine Hull, who won Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role as Stewart's older sister Veta Simmons. (Of the original cast only Hull and Jesse White tracked through to the movie.) Most of the film's witty and often highly allusive dialog comes right out of this original, and although the movie was "opened up" considerably with numerous interiors and some exteriors, this play depends on only two sets: the library of the Dowd-Simmons house and the reception room of Dr. Chumley's sanitarium.

Of course, not everyone will want to plunk down money for this script when the DVD doesn't cost much more, but I very much enjoyed, in the play's brief 71 pages, the cavalcade of topics that HARVEY brings up and skewers. It takes on male-female relations, the class divide, sexual repression and of course the perennial joke: who can say who is REALLY crazy in this crazy world? To me it was money well spent. A true American original to be cherished and preserved.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on December 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
Ok: I had already seen the film by Henry Koster, and then I have red the play of Mary Chase; but I was really determinate to read this book, I've tried it 15 years, and only by Amazon I've found it. It was a good idea: the film is very good and it respects surely the text, but here we have the original form of a wonderful idea: Elwood P. Dowd is a man, sure not stupid, which doesn't like the normal life - even if he is rich and lucky ...or just because this? - and decides to go out from the official and serious society with a friend, a really special friend : a giant white rabbit, Harvey, which only Elwood can see! They have a exclusive world, without work, without love, without every problems. They live drinking all the day. Obviously , somebody does't like this situation: his sister Veta Louise, who lives in the Elwood's house with her daughter Myrtle Mae, an incredible old girl always hunting men. A day Veta wants to send Elwood in a psychiatric hospital, but...really we cannot understand who is crazy! After, the dr. Chumley prefer not to change Elwood and to "kill" Harvey: at contrary, he becomes their friend.
This play is wonderful and very clever; even if we can be happy reading, we understand that our life is really closed in many ways, even if we don't want to be drunk to forget our responsibilities we ask ourselves : is this the life we would like? The picture of the good society is very agreeable and true: a good woman cannot be good with her brother, a good daughter feels a violent man, a good doctor wants make a trip with an invisible rabbit, a good judge cannot see the reality... Only simple people are really kind, when meet Elwood and he and Harvey are near them: the great Herman Schimmelplusser (an old man which all call only Herman, only Elwood speaks him with respectful), or the taxi driver Lofgren (which remember the poetic, gentle soul of the crazy he carried at hospital), or Mr. Minninger, an old drunk a day in jail a day out.. These are the Elwood's best friends, he invites these people at dinner, producing big shame of Veta. At last we would like know something about the Elwood's past life, what made change him. We cannot, but it maybe we can: just seeing in ourselves. Mary Chase won the Pulitzer Prize with "Harvey".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
Mary Chase's 1944 comedy HARVEY was a great success on the stage, running 1775 performances in its Broadway debut and frequently revived thereafter. It was memorably filmed in 1950, and it has since become a staple of community theatres around the nation. The play is in three acts, and the action of the set alternates between two sets, the library at the Dowd home and a room at the asylum Chumley's Rest. The cast requires six men and six women.

The story is very famous: Elwood P. Dowd is mild drunk and town character who sees a six foot tall white rabbit named Harvey, who follows Elwood everywhere he goes. The situation has become more than his sister Veta and niece Myrtle Mae can stand, and after Elwood causes social disaster by introducing Harvey to guests at a formal tea, Veta decides to have Elwood committed. Unfortunately, when Veta takes Elwood to Chumley's Rest, the doctors commit her and release Elwood, who promptly goes off on an other toot--this time with Dr. Chumley himself, who is shocked when he himself begins to see Harvey.

Although HARVEY is a very funny play, it suffers from two problems. The first is the fact that much of the action happens off stage and is later described by the various characters. Sometimes this works brilliantly, as when Veta tells of being locked up in Chumley's Rest; sometimes it is less effective, as when Elwood describes his drinking spree with Dr. Chumley and Harvey. But more significantly, the play is greatly overshadowed by the 1950 film starring James Stewart, which has become a widely seen classic. It is difficult to read the play, or see the play, without imagining Stewart and co-star Josephine Hull (Veta) playing out the scenes. In any case, HARVEY is long on charm, and strongly recommended.

GFT, Amazon Reviewer
In Memory of Mrs. Marie Madden.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
This was the first play I directed. I was 24. It was 1960. A year or two later, I would direct Mary Chase's Mrs. McThing --it was magical but nowhere as much as Harvey. It's 53+ years later and I remember almost everything so but it as clear as day --the actors, the staging and set, and also, because music is important to me, the music I used along with it --in this case, Elwood P. Dowd's sister's recital off stage. I used Jonathan and Darlene Edwards's off-kilter rendition of "You're Blasé'." Jonathan was Paul Weston, Darlene his wife Jo Stafford, and he played and she sang deliberately off-key, but not so much that you could immediately label it as wrong, rather, a slow PRESENCE.

There's nothing modernist or revolutionary at all about this play but it is one of the purest theatrical experiences I have had in (now) fifty-five years of acting, directing and writing about theater. Theater is supposed to be magic. This play truly is.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2015
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Janice told me to buy this stage play after years of not getting along with my best friend, Max. Max says she's just jealous of our close friendship, but I think it's something else. Janice is constantly trying to keep me away from friends and relatives (which is usually fine by me) and always complaining about the time I spend with Max either in the house or at the bar. Regardless, as soon as Janice, Max, and I get back from this trip to the doctor, I'll sit down and read this. Maybe I'll figure out what all the fuss is about.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
For any Harvey lovers out there this is completely worth it. It is extremely cheap.
I gave it five stars because I knew it wasn't hard back, even though I wish it had a hard cover and was more professional looking, it does the job.
It has the play in it and of course the waiver for any use in production for monetary gain. It is enjoyable to read the play after seeing the Movie so many times. Of course it is written as a play and not as a story, so those who are looking for a novel, look away.
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on April 9, 2015
Format: Paperback
A year ago my college performed this play and discovered something unique. I was lucky enough to play Elwood and really connected with the character because not only is the play well written, the dialogue quick, and the humor overflowing, but the characters are real and honest. This play connects with the underdog, the oddballs whom everyone looks at as strange. Harvey shows that being different is a good thing and that people who try to be normal are not. Lessons can be learned from Harvey and Elwood's friendship. I can honestly say that this play changed my life. I was pessimistic, always looking for the unhappiness in life, but Elwood changed that. That is the power of this play.
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on November 15, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
A classic story of a very simple man. Everyone thinks Elwood P. Dowd is simple-minded & delusional. What they don't understand is the depth of simple reason he possesses. Harvey is Elwood's best friend. Together, they both shock & amaze people, because no one but Elwood can see Harvey - a 6 foot tall rabbit. This is a wonderful book, which was made into a movie starring Jimmy Stewart. A must read for anyone who loves classic stories.
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