Jim Parsons Pulls a Rabbit Out of His Hat for Broadway's Harvey

By Mervyn Rothstein
14 May 2012

Parsons and Harvey co-star Carol Kane
photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

What has he discovered about Harvey, and Elwood P. Dowd? On the surface, "it's a somewhat simple tale." But what's complicated, fascinating, "is how it's going to translate, depending on the perspective of the person watching it — depending on where they are in their lives, where their heart lies, how they look at the world. Because I think this play is about that. It's interesting in the play to see who can see this pooka, this rabbit, and who is willing to admit they can see it, what their reaction is when they've seen it, when they think they've seen it — do they run in fear, do they lie and say they haven't seen it, do they furtively admit to somebody finally that they're scared to death because they did?"

In Elwood's case, Harvey "seems to have set him free, to have knocked off layers of tension, of worry, anything that gets in the way of making full contact with people," says Parsons. In Elwood there is "freedom, peacefulness, happiness."

There's something about the story, "about this man's relationship to the world around him, and everybody else's reaction to that relationship, that feels timely. There's a real connectedness Elwood seems to have to the literal world around him that everybody else seems to be viewing as disconnectedness. Everyone else seems to feel he's missing the boat. I think that in many ways Elwood is riding on the boat," perhaps even "captain of his boat. He very much feels the waters of these seas."

How is Parsons riding the waters of his seas? "I love playing Sheldon Cooper," he says, and he expects to do so however many years the series continues. He's been cast in the movie of "The Normal Heart."

More Broadway? "God yes," he says.

"The whole time I've been an actor, from early in Houston, my goal has been to work — to keep doing it. I feel at my most satisfied as a human being when I'm working on a role."


The Roundabout Theatre Company's Harvey begins performances May 18 at Studio 54. Visit roundabouttheatre.org.