Talk about working from home. . . . Pulling Harvey Out of Her Hat chronicles the story of how Mary Chase—a housewife with three children from a working-class Irish community in Denver, Colorado—became a Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright for Harvey, a Broadway comedy about a gentle soul and his invisible six-foot-and-one-half-inch-tall rabbit friend. This entertaining and inspiring account traces how Chase achieved her dream of becoming a famous playwright while remaining in Denver—where she worked for the Rocky Mountain News, married an editor, and raised a family.
Pulling Harvey Out of Her Hat includes many vignettes and unforgettable stories about the theater industry. It brings to life the history of Franklin Roosevelt’s Federal Theatre Project; provides readers with an insider’s view of the Broadway scene in the 1940s; and highlights the importance of theater personalities, including Brock Pemberton (Harvey’s producer), Antoinette Perry (Harvey’s director and namesake for the Tony Awards), and Frank Fay and Jimmy Stewart (actors who played Elwood Dowd, the amiable, slightly tipsy gentleman lead character).
The author of fourteen plays, three screenplays, and two award-winning children’s books, Mary Chase created Harvey to counter sadness during the height of World War II. It would win the 1945 Pulitzer Prize (beating out Tennessee Williams’s The Glass Menagerie) and remain to this day one of the most beloved and underappreciated works of the twentieth century.
Mimi Pockross is an award-winning freelance writer who specializes in writing about the arts, education, and family. She has written articles for many local and national publications including the Chicago Tribune, Colorado Heritage, and The Denver Post. Like Mary Chase, she is a wife, mother, and grandmother who also writes, and like Mary Chase, she is a longtime resident of Colorado.
[Pockross] shows how Chase has been historically dismissed because she was a female playwright who lived and worked outside New York, specialized in comedies, and often wrote for children. She also demonstrates how Chase was deemed an amateur because she was a wife and mother . . . Pockross attempts to reverse years of neglect with this new biography, and to a great extent, she succeeds. . . . Overall, Pulling Harvey Out of Her Hat: The Amazing Story of Mary Coyle Chase makes compelling reading for those who want to learn more about a forgotten writer, or anyone with a soft spot for an invisible rabbit.
2/21/21, Denver Post: Article with regional books of note includes this book and cover in its feature.