Harvey premiered on Broadway Nov. 1, 1944, starring vaudevillian Frank Fay. In 1947 Fay took leave for a seven-week vacation, and producer Brock Pemberton brought in James Stewart, by then an established film star, as his replacement. Stewart's celebrity packed houses for the entire seven weeks and breathed life into the play's run.
Stewart later returned to the production for an extended engagement, and his performance was preserved on film in the movie version of Harvey, which was released in 1950. He returned to his Broadway roots nearly 30 years later for the first revival of Harvey, which co-starred Helen Hayes.