Columbia Heights Fine Arts Foundation is putting on the 1940s comedy “Harvey” as its annual fundraiser for Columbia Heights senior scholarships.
“Harvey” tells the story of Elwood P. Dowd, played by Nickolas Dibley, who is best friends with a 6-foot-tall invisible rabbit named Harvey. Once Elwood begins introducing Harvey to the townspeople, his sister Veta Louise, played by Debbie Schneider, becomes embarrassed of him.
This embarrassment leads Veta and her daughter Myrtle Mae, played by Molly Turner, to commit Elwood to a sanitarium. Something goes amiss, and Veta ends up being committed instead.
“There’s all kinds of hijinks that ensue after that,” said Jon Rehlander, who is the foundation president and plays Dr. William R. Chumley in the show. “There’s a lot of fun stuff that happens in it.”
The play is an all-ages comedy that everyone can get something out of, Rehlander said. There’s shenanigans children can laugh at and content for adults to think about, he said.
Annually for the last eight years, the Columbia Heights Fine Arts Foundation has put on a production where the proceeds go toward scholarships for students planning to study arts after high school.
“(The funds raised) keep getting bigger and better, so we’re excited about this one,” said Kim Davis, who plays Mrs. Ethel Chauvenet and E.J. Lofgren in the play.
The foundation was formed because founder Keith Roberts noticed there wasn’t a lot of funding going toward the arts. He wanted a foundation that would not only give opportunities for the community to perform, but also a means of providing students with funds for their futures in fine arts.
The foundation’s mission is to help maintain and enhance the fine arts experience for the community and school district.
Last year the Columbia Heights Fine Arts Foundation was able to give out two $1,500 scholarships to seniors using the funds raised by the performances.
“We don’t ever set a dollar amount (as a goal),” Rehlander said. “It’s as much as we get. We try to keep costs as low as we can. ... We look at this as honoring Keith’s vision.”
The foundation works with Columbia Heights High School to find the students who receive the scholarships.
“We’ve had a great partnership with Columbia Heights High School,” Davis said. “They’ve allowed us to put this play on for the last eight years. They’ve been wonderful.”
This year, 100% of the money made from ticket sales and concessions will go toward scholarships because the foundation received a grant that pays for the director, set designer and set itself. Most people on the production are volunteers.
Performances will take place at Columbia Heights High School, 1400 49th Ave. NE, Columbia Heights.
Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at chfaf.wordpress.com or at the door. “Harvey” is being performed at 7 p.m. July 25-27 and at 2 p.m. on July 28.