The Theatre Department is pleased to welcome alum Matt Pfieffer ('99) back to campus this fall to direct the Act 1 season opener Harvey by Mary Chase. Matt returns to the Labuda Center after his summer stint directing The Two Gentlemen of Verona for the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival. As the associate artistic director of Theatre Exile, a seven-time Barrymore nominee and a recipient of the F. Otto Hass Award, Matt is an outstanding example of a theatre alum working steadily to build a terrific reputation and career in the greater Philadelphia theatre community. "He's a great role model for our current students," says John Bell, head of the Division of Performing Arts.
Harvey is one of those great plays written during the heyday of the American theatre - simple, well-constructed plays featuring interesting characters and clever plotlines. "Often, theatres overlook this type of play when programming for a modern audience and that's too bad because the young generation of playgoers should be exposed to this repertoire" says Bell.
As a testament to Harvey's appeal, the play has been produced on Broadway three times. The original production was directed by Antoinette Perry, for whom the "Tony" awards are named. And a Broadway revival in 1970 featured Jimmy Stewart and Helen Hayes. In 2012, The Roundabout Theatre Company produced a popular revival featuring Jim Parsons of television's The Big Bang Theory. The Pulitzer prize winning play revolves around charismatic Elwood P. Dowd, a charsmatic and loveable man who makes friends wherever he goes. His social-climbing sister, however, has a problem with his dear friend Harvey - an invisible, six-foot-tall white rabbit. When she tries to have Elwood committed to save the family from embarrassment, a comedy of errors ensues.
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