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Disgruntled Judge Reinhold walks out on premiere of New Theater’s ‘Harvey’

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The New Theatre had to cancel its Wednesday night opening of the play Harvey, after a disgruntled Judge Reinhold abruptly quit the production, according to reports from The Kansas City Star and Associated Press. Harvey instead opened on Thursday evening, after an afternoon matinee at the Overland Park, Kan., dinner theater.

New Theatre co-owner Richard Carrothers told The Kansas City Star that the Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Beverly Hills Cop star had appeared increasingly unhappy with everything related to the production. Kansas City-based actor Craig Benton will replace Reinhold in Harvey through Jan. 29, after which Los Angeles-based British actor Charles Shaughnessy will take over the lead role of the production. Carrothers says replacing Reinhold could be expensive because all of the signs and advertisements for the show now have to be changed.

American playwright Mary Chase won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1945 for writing Harvey. The whimsical play has been adapted for film and television several times, most notably in a 1950 film starring James Stewart. Harvey’s lead character, Elwood P. Dowd, is an affable man who claims to have an unseen (and presumably imaginary) friend Harvey —whom Elwood describes as a six-foot, three-and-one-half-inch tall spirit that resembles an anthropomorphic rabbit.

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