Silly Rabbit: Broadway-Bound Harvey Begins at Laguna Playhouse, July 8-Aug. 31

News   Silly Rabbit: Broadway-Bound Harvey Begins at Laguna Playhouse, July 8-Aug. 31 The Broadway-bound production of Harvey starring Charles Durning and Joyce and Dick Van Patten under the direction of Charles Nelson Reilly begins at California's Laguna Playhouse, July 8-Aug. 31.

Chase's comedy follows the story of a man who befriends a 6-foot-3-inch rabbit that only he can see. Harvey originally played on Broadway at the 48th Street Theatre, opening Nov. 1, 1944. The production — helmed by Tony Awards namesake Antoinette Perry — played 1,775 performances before closing Jan. 15, 1949. The Pulitzer winner was adapted for the screen in 1950 and starred James Stewart.

The show is expected to reach Broadway in the fall, according to production spokespersons. The staging canceled a pre-Broadway engagement at Boston's Wang Center (Sept. 9-23) "to ensure that [the producers] are able to secure the theatre they wish to play in," according to Wang president Josiah Spaulding. No Broadway theatre has yet been announced. Don Gregory produces.

Reilly (of "Match Game" fame) has directed Broadway productions of The Belle of Amherst, Paul Robeson, Break a Leg, The Nerd and most recently The Gin Game with Harvey star Durning. (Dick Cavett, who had been previously announced to star opposite Durning, is no longer with the project.)

Durning stars in the lead role of Elwood P. Dowd. The actor won a Tony Award for his portrayal of Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Among his other numerous Broadway credits include Gore Vidal's The Best Man, Inherit the Wind and That Championship Season.

Joyce Van Patten — who plays Dowd's sister — made her Broadway debut in Love’s Old Sweet Song at the age of five with her older brother Dick. The actress has also starred on Broadway in Same Time, Next Year, I Ought to Be in Pictures, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Jake's Women and Taller Than A Dwarf. Other credits include "The Danny Kaye Show," "The Mary Tyler Moore Hour," "St. Elmo's Fire" and "The Bad News Bears." Dick Van Patten — who portrays sanitarium director Dr. Chumley — is perhaps best known for his role as the father on television's "Eight is Enough." The actor has appeared on Broadway in The Skin of Our Teeth, Decision, The Wind Is Ninety, A Very Rich and Thieves.

A third Van Patten family member, James — Dick's son — also plays in the cast that includes William H. Bassett, Jack Betts, Leslie Easterbrook, Pamela Gordon, Stephen O'Mahoney, Erica Shaffer and Jill Van Velzer.

Tickets to Harvey at the Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road in Laguna Beach, CA, can be purchased by calling (949) 497-2787. For more information, visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com.