This Week on Stage: Jim Parsons returns to Broadway in 'Harvey'

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Image Credit: Joan Marcus

Tony Award voters may have been falling slowly for the musical Once, which won eight prizes (including Best Musical), but theater fans at home weren’t quite as enthused. Despite the efforts of Neil Patrick Harris and special award winner Hugh Jackman, the CBS telecast posted its worst ratings ever. In the days that followed, a bunch of Broadway shows announced plans to close: Anything Goes (Aug. 5), Godspell (June 24), The Lyons (July 1), and A Streetcar Named Desire (July 22). Three other new productions — Don’t Dress for Dinner, Other Desert Cities (featuring Tony winner Judith Light), and Venus in Fur (starring Tony winner Nina Arianda) — will have their final curtain calls this Sunday. Even so, this week saw the opening of three major new productions. Here’s our take:

Harvey Jim Parson (above with Carol Kane) is “perfectly suited” to the role Jimmy Stewart made famous in the 1950 film about a seemingly ordinary guy whose constant companion is a six-foot-three-inch rabbit named Harvey that no one else can see. While the star of The Big Bang Theory “commands the stage in a surprisingly offhanded way,” I write that the overall production of the revival is “oddly sluggish” and “lurches from scene to scene when it should be bunny-hopping briskly along.” EW grade: B–

Rapture, Blister, Burn “There’s nothing more enjoyable than watching super-smart characters make exceedingly dumb decisions,” writes Melissa Rose Bernardo of Gina Gionfriddo’s “fascinating new drama” starring Amy Brenneman as a middle-aged academic who’s single, unmarried, and unhappy. EW grade: A–

Storefront Church Despite fine performances by a cast that includes Giancarlo Esposito, Bob Dishy, and Tonya Pinkins, writer-director John Patrick Shanley’s “hamfisted” new play about a church vs. state conflict never quite jells in the way that his earlier Pulitzer winner Doubt did. “The characters feel like proxies rather than flesh-and-blood humans, and the situations in which Shanley places them too often strain credulity,” I write. EW grade: C+

Read more:
Al Pacino back to Broadway in ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’
Six things we love about Tony winner Steve Kazee
‘Peter and the Starcatcher’ gets box office bump even before Tony wins
Tony Awards 2012: 10 Moments We Loved

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