When a Grown Man Has an Invisible Friend

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THE QUEEREST SHOW on Broadway in the summer of 2012 didn’t feature drag queens, buff chorus boys, or lesbian love songs. Instead, audiences attuned to the codes of same-sex relationships may have been surprised to find the delightful zing of transgression in an old-fashioned chestnut about the love between an amiable alcoholic and a six-foot-tall invisible rabbit.

Mary Chase’s Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy Harvey was one of the biggest stage hits of the 1940s, and its popularity endures thanks to the much-beloved 1950 film version starring Jimmy Stewart as the main character, a lovable lush named Elwood P. Dowd whose best friend is an enormous rabbit named Harvey. While Harvey has always been a delightful ode to the virtues of nonconformity, audiences at the recent revival by the Roundabout Theatre Company might have experienced the play as the story a male couple who triumph over the family and society that disapprove of their relationship.

At the center of this queer tale was a winning performance by Jim Parsons, best known to television audiences as the brilliant and arrogant physicist Dr. Sheldon Cooper on the hit sit-com The Big Bang Theory.

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