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Jim on the set of “The Normal Heart”

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The much anticipated film adaption of Larry Kramer’s play, The Normal Heart, has assembled a star studded cast to retell the story of a New York gay activist who attempts to raise HIV/AIDS awareness during the early 1980s. Director Ryan Murphy has begun filming in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Fire Island.

Jim Parsons reprises his role of gay activist Tommy Boatwright from the 2011 Broadway revival.

Jim Parsons at Broadway

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Jim visits the SiriusXM Studios

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Jim Parsons visits the SiriusXM Studios on April 24, 2013 in New York City.

Jim was on the Leonard Lopate Show recently to talk about his role as Sheldon Cooper in “The Big Bang Theory” and his role in the upcoming HBO version of Larry Kramer’s “The Normal Heart” , and he discussed his theater work and that New York Times article…

What have you read or seen over the past year (book, play, film, etc…) that moved or surprised you?

Bradley Cooper in “Silver Linings Playbook.”  He was soeffective – I specifically adored him in the dance competition scene.

What are you listening to right now?

“The Bridge” on Sirius XM – I love that CSNY, Carly Simon music…

What’s the last great book you read?

I have only been reading murder mysteries lately, and while I think they’re so good, I can’t call any of them “great.”

What’s one thing you’re a fan of that people might not expect?

Fantasy Football.  I’m considering getting into Fantasy Baseball, but I think it may be too time consuming.

What’s your favorite comfort food?

Chicken fried steak w/ cream gravy and mashed potatoes.

News about ‘The Normal Heart’

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EXCLUSIVE: The Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons and Friday Night Lightsalum Taylor Kitsch will co-star opposite Julia Roberts, Mark Ruffalo and Matt Bomer
in The Normal Heart, HBO‘s original movie adaptation of the Tony-winning Larry Kramer play, which is being written by Kramer and directed by Ryan Murphy. The project tells the story of the onset of the HIV-AIDS crisis in New York City in the early 1980’s. Parsons plays gay activist Tommy Boatwright, reprising his role from the 2011 Broadway revival. He was previously attached to Murphy’s adaptation when it was eyed as a theatrical feature. Kitsch plays Bruce Niles, a closeted investment banker who becomes a prominent AIDS activist. Roberts plays physician Dr. Emma Brookner, a survivor of childhood polio who treats several of the earliest victims of HIV-AIDS. Ruffalo plays Ned Weeks, who witnesses first-hand the mysterious disease that has begun to claim the lives of many in his gay community and starts to seek answers. Bomer plays Felix Turner, a reporter who becomes Ned’s lover. Murphy executive produces with Jason Blum, Dede Gardner and Dante Di Loreto. Production is slated to begin later this year in New York for a 2014 debut.

 

Taken from http://www.deadline.com.

Jim at play in New York City

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Jim Parsons with his TV mom, actress Laurie Metcalf ( plays Sheldon Cooper’s mother) and colleagues from play “The Normal Hart” backstage at the play ‘The Other Place’ on Broadway at The Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on December 18, 2012 in New York City.

Jim on “The Dan Patrick Show”-video

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Jim Parsons Interview

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As an actor, it seems that Jim Parsons can do no wrong. Not only has he won two Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Emmys – he’s also was nominated once before winning and is currently nominated yet again – and a Golden Globe for his portrayal of THE BIG BANG THEORY’s fussy geek genius Sheldon Cooper but he won a Drama Desk Award and a Theatre World Award for his performance as Tommy Boatwright in the 2011 Broadway debut of the play THE NORMAL HEART (the show originally premiered off-Broadway in 1985), about the early days of the AIDS epidemic; according to IMDB, Parsons is scheduled to reprise the role in a 2014 film adaptation. He just wrapped his second Broadway gig earlier this month, playing Elwood P. Dowd in the revival of HARVEY, about a man whose best friend is a giant rabbit that only he can see. As if this weren’t enough, Parsons also had a show-stopping duet with Jason Segel in last year’s hit film THE MUPPETS.

Parsons is, in short, a success by any measure – and yet the actor from Houston, Texas, remains as cordial and courteous in person as if he doesn’t spend a good portion of his non performing time talking to interviewers. In the past two years of THE BIG BANG THEORY, Sheldon’s character has been greatly impacted by his so-far platonic girlfriend Amy Farrah Fowler, played by Mayim Bialik (also an Emmy nominee this year for her work on the series). It seemed at the outset that romance might be antithetical to the Sheldon audiences had come to know and love in the first three years of the show, but Parsons says he wasn’t worried by the prospect of love – or anything else, for that matter.

“I [thought] it would be fun,” the actors said. “I trust them implicitly, the writers, that is. I’m never frightened of where they’re going to take the character, because they always manage to keep it interesting. I’m always surprised by it, and it’s always a challenge in a good way to play what they decide upon.”

Sheldon’s early interactions with Penny, played by Kaley Cuoco, also had a big effect on the character, Parsons adds. “I feel like Sheldon being exposed to Penny has changed him in some small ways. There’s been an attempt to communicate with her, there’s been an attempt to find out.” At the time the friendship started, Parsons continues, “I think that Penny in his life [was] the biggest change he had so far from the outside world, during the show, at least.”

Sheldon Cooper is a fan of many TV shows, films and comic book characters. The actor who plays him says that he tends not to be excited about Sheldon’s favorites in the same way. “I have no overlap,” Parsons relates. “I was a huge HARRY POTTER fan – the books – and that’s apparently not in these. These guys,” that is, the BIG BANG THEORYcharacters, “don’t seem to care about HARRY POTTER at all. So the only thing that I was a geek about, they were like, ‘Nah, not so much.’”

Might this be a copyright issue? After all, HARRY POTTER is made by Warner Bros., whereasTHE BIG BANG THEORY is done by CBS and Paramount. STAR TREK, a favorite topic on BIG BANG, is owned by Paramount, butHARRY POTTER is not in-house.

Parsons thinks about the suggestion, then says, “That could be, too. Because why wouldn’t they like HARRY POTTER?”

In real life, Parsons has had a few travel experiences that Sheldon would likely enjoy. “I’ve been to the Observatory,” Parsons says, referring to the recently-refurbished installation devoted to astronomy and space exploration, sitting high atop a hill in Griffith Park in Los Angles, California. “I went and watched the presentation that they do. It was amazing. And it reminded me of the show in a way, just traveling through [space] history like that, and the discovery of this, the discovery of that and the making of the telescope. I just loved that.”

THE BIG BANG THEORY is co-created and executive-produced by Chuck Lorre, who rather famously went through some major production hiccups on another of his productions last year,TWO AND A HALF MEN. Parsons says there are no trace of those kind of problems on BIG BANG THEORY.

“We’ve been very lucky – as a cast, we’ve always gotten along so well. We have a very good energy on our set and I’m very excited to get back to work on this season.”

Parsons rejects the notion that Sheldon is a “standout” character. “I think everything seems very healthy on our show. None of the characters stand on their own very well. Aspects of each of these characters are so carefully highlighted by the way they reflect off of the others that, speaking for Sheldon, I feel like a character like Sheldon is palatable sometimes to an audience because of the way he is viewed through Leonard’s [Johnny Galecki] eyes or through Penny’s eyes. And when you view him through that way, it gives you a little bit of understanding, as opposed to maybe wanting to slap him sometimes,” Parsons laughs.

Then there is that fourth Emmy nomination. “I was surprised again,” Parsons says. “Because it’s such a crapshoot. I mean, it’s so fleeting.” When he was nominated for his first Emmy, Parsons continues, “That’s what I tried to tell myself, and I’m telling myself again this year with more ease actually about it is, ‘Enjoy this, because these moments go – they’re here and then they’re gone.’”

Taken from http://buzzymag.com

NY Times Profile – Jim Parsons

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Here is new interview with Jim Parsons, well it isn’t really interview but… I put quotes in green, but you can also read what others sad about working with Jim. It may be interesting to say that in this one he reveals that he’s gay. But that was already known and now is official :). Except that it is really good because he is talking about Harvey, Normal hart, his childhood and of course Big Bang Theory.

Stalked by Shadows (and a Rabbit)

AFTER seeing the “The Normal Heart” on Broadway last June, three teenagers from Minnesota were in a frenzy explaining why they had chosen the play. “Sheldon!” they all shouted, naming the socially clueless lead character on the CBS hit comedy “The Big Bang Theory” played by Jim Parsons, who had a small role in the play.

Here was celebrity casting in action, yet it had unintended consequences: the teenagers hadn’t known that the show was about gay men dying of AIDS, and they left disappointed that Mr. Parsons wasn’t acting as outrageously pompous as Sheldon, a role that earned him Emmy Awards in 2010 and 2011.

Mr. Parsons is back on Broadway during another summer hiatus from television, and this time he faces audience expectations that are even more complicated.

Not only is he dealing with the shadow of Sheldon again, but also that of a certain actor named Jimmy Stewart. Mr. Parsons is leading a Broadway cast for the first time, in a revival of “Harvey,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy from 1944 about the sweet-natured Elwood P. Dowd and his invisible friend, the title character, a 6-foot-tall rabbit. The show ran on Broadway for four years, opening with Frank Fay as the lead. Stewart later followed as Elwood before bringing him to wider fame in the 1950 film, for which he was nominated for an Oscar. He reprised the role in 1970, the only previous revival on Broadway of this play, which became feared for the task of taking on The Jimmy Stewart Role.

While Mr. Parsons is keenly aware that both Sheldon and Stewart are indelible, he has also drawn confidence from acting techniques and instincts that have served him well for more than 20 years, since choosing his career after performing in the farce “Noises Off” in high school.

“People may not like me as Elwood, people may say ‘I enjoyed Jimmy Stewart more,’ ” he said recently, over coffee at a Midtown Mahattan hotel. “There’s nothing I can do about that. But I have to come in and take a stand on the performance, as it were.”

He memorizes his dialogue well beforehand, writing out lines on white 3-by-5 index cards (he has 200 for “Harvey”). He creates precise physical worlds for his characters, down to where they would place a hat or coat or, in the case of Harvey, where the rabbit would be at every second. He obsesses over body language too: the angular, ungainly stride he created for Sheldon, and the alternately swift and halting paces of Elwood.

And he still has never seen the Stewart film or any stage production of “Harvey.”

“I try to master every facet of a character in order to build a safety net for myself, so I can go on to take more risks to create someone really distinct,” said Mr. Parsons, who is 39, roughly the same age as Stewart when he first played Elwood on Broadway.“One of my very early teachers said over and over again: ‘What are you bringing to the party?’ That expression never left me.

“Well, what about it? What am I bringing to this party?”

“If I’m not making a choice with each and every line,” he continued, “then why are you bothering watching me?”

Mr. Parsons hastened to add that he was not disrespecting Stewart, nor was he cavalier about audience reactions. He is the sort of person, in fact, you could imagine taking his bow then apologizing to theatergoers if any of them were disappointed with his work. His unfailing politeness has an old-fashioned courtliness to it; at a rehearsal for “Harvey” this month, he said sorry every time he had to ask the script prompter to remind him of a line.

It sounded almost automatic, reflecting a tendency to speak his mind without a trace of self-consciousness (a habit that makes his television character so winningly exasperating). At one point during the rehearsal, for instance, the actress Jessica Hecht — who plays Elwood’s sister, Veta — put a prop down on stage in a spot where Mr. Parsons wasn’t expecting it.

“Did Jessica leave that there?” Mr. Parsons said. “That’s never going to work.”

“It won’t happen again,” Ms. Hecht replied collegially.

“It never happened before,” he said — not in an accusatory way but, like Sheldon, with an almost absent-minded bluntness.

“Um, let’s talk about it more,” she joked.

Later, Ms. Hecht described the way Mr. Parsons speaks as a kind of afterthought.

“His concentration is so total that he sometimes says surprising things that I don’t even think he’s aware he’s saying,” said Ms. Hecht, a Tony nominee for her last Broadway role, in the 2010 revival of “A View from the Bridge.” “There’s something so dorky in the best way about him.”

Growing up in Houston, the son of an elementary-school teacher and a plumbing company president, Mr. Parsons was a theater nerd from the start; he recalled throwing himself into the role of the Kola-Kola bird in his first-grade production of “The Elephant’s Child” by Kipling. His curiosity about performance grew from watching the physical antics and reaction shots in the television sitcom “Three’s Company.”

“There was a kind of musicality to the actors’ timing and rhythms that I really responded to,” said Mr. Parsons, who also played piano as a boy.

A turning point came in junior year of high school, when Mr. Parsons was mulling the idea of becoming a meteorologist (Gulf Coast weather had led to a fascination with hurricanes). Thanks to his drama teacher and a fellow student, he was persuaded to take the role of Frederick Fellowes, a nosebleed-prone actor who beats himself up when things go amiss, in the farce “Noises Off.” But as the show moved toward opening night, he became concerned that he and his castmates weren’t in fine enough form.

“All we had was each other, and our very basic mastery of the play, but at our first performance we pulled together and relied on each other and everything clicked,” he said. “We didn’t mug for laughs, we didn’t do anything showy — we just worked together as an ensemble. I felt totally comfortable in this warped world that was far away from the real world. And I wanted to keep doing it.”

Mr. Parsons went on to perform more than two dozen plays during and after his undergraduate years at the University of Houston; he was so busy that he failed a course in meteorology, putting an end to that career path. He did 17 plays in three years with an experimental theater company, Infernal Bridegroom Productions. He was the exploitative doctor in Büchner’s “Woyzeck” in a parking lot, and the servant Clov in Beckett’s “Endgame” and the gambler Rusty Charlie in “Guys & Dolls,” both performed in warehouses.

After graduation he pursued classical training in the master’s program at the University of San Diego, then spent several years in New York working Off Broadway and in guest appearances on television while making trips to Los Angeles looking for work.

When he received the pilot script for “The Big Bang Theory,” he said, the show — about a group of genius-level scientists with terrible social skills — seemed clever enough to him, but the role of Sheldon felt like a great fit.

“There was something in his inability to understand sarcasm, his inability to read emotions off people in a general sense, that I understood,” Mr. Parsons said with a crooked smile. (For the record, in person he is far more at ease and a much better listener than Sheldon.)

Chuck Lorre, one of the creators and producers of “Big Bang,” said Mr. Parsons’s audition was so “brilliant” that he asked the actor to return another day to make sure the performance wasn’t a fluke.

“He physically embodied a character who was like none we had seen before — the peculiar rhythms of the words, the way he held his body,” Mr. Lorre said. “He was uncanny in the choices he was making second to second.”

(Mr. Parsons is set to return to “Big Bang” in August; “Harvey” opens on June 14.)

By the winter of 2011 Mr. Parsons had won his first Emmy for “Big Bang” and was midway through Season 4 when he felt he was “spinning my wheels” as an actor, and began looking to do a play again. He landed the role of Tommy Boatwright, a young gay activist in “The Normal Heart” who bucks up the main characters in their fight against AIDS. The humanity and intensity of the play appealed to him, he said, just as Beckett and Büchner once did; in graduate school, too, his thesis project was a 15-minute performance piece about a mentally disabled death-row inmate, a psychiatrist and a murder victim’s father — all played by Mr. Parsons.

“If I ever wrote a script myself, it would be strongly emotional material,” he said. “Every time I think about writing, comedy doesn’t interest me in the slightest. I can play comedy, but I don’t think in terms of comic dialogue.”

“The Normal Heart” resonated with him on a few levels: Mr. Parsons is gay and in a 10-year relationship, and working with an ensemble again onstage was like nourishment, he said. As the production was ending last summer, he heard that theRoundabout Theater Company was considering a revival of “Harvey” — initially with John C. Reilly under consideration for Elwood — and last November the play’s director, Scott Ellis, asked him and Ms. Hecht to do a private reading of the work in Los Angeles.

“Jim was solid in ‘The Normal Heart,’ ” Mr. Ellis said, “but his character didn’t really change in the journey of that play, so I wanted to see if Jim could take on a challenge and float a couple of feet off the ground, so to speak, in that magical way Elwood has. And in the reading he was just smart, smart, smart.”

In rehearsals Mr. Parsons focused particularly on his relationship with Harvey — a character who is not there. He chose spots in the Studio 54 theater to fix his gaze, at the exact height where Harvey’s face would be, and developed a series of hand gestures when Elwood was speaking to or making way for the rabbit. If the show has plenty of the laugh lines that Mr. Parsons finds familiar from television, he said he was more aware of the differences between Elwood and Sheldon — and was savoring them.

“Elwood has such warmth, and wants nothing more than to connect with other people, whereas my nine-month-a-year job is a character who says things like, ‘If you don’t mind, I’d like to stop listening to you and talk now,’ ” Mr. Parsons said. “The jump-out-of-bed happiness I feel transcends any nerves about taking on a history-laden role.

“Now, would it have been preferable to take on a role that had not been created before? God yes. But breaking in a new role takes more time than I’ll have until my time on TV comes to an end. And when it does, I hope I’ll be back for longer.”

Roundabout interview – A Conversation with Jim Parsons

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Before rehearsals began, Education Dramaturg Ted Sod sat down with Actor Jim Parsons to discuss his role in Harvey.

Ted Sod: Can you tell us about yourself? Where were you born and educated? When did you decide to become an actor?

Jim Parsons: I was born in Houston, Texas and I lived there until I was about 27 or so. I went to undergrad at the University of Houston. I did a lot of theatre in Houston in addition to being at the university. Looking back, it’s fun to see how important that was to me. I learned a lot in class but I learned much more by having to get out there and perform. I was very fortunate. There is a Shakespeare festival that the university had an affiliation with and although it wouldn’t guarantee a part, it certainly guaranteed that the students would be involved. So I was a part of this Shakespeare festival as well as a children’s theatre festival. There was a company of actors and writers, really a company of misfits in a way that I had the opportunity to work with. We got to do all sorts of work, everything from Beckett to Guys and Dolls, so I had a wide and varied playground in Houston.

Did you go to graduate school?

I decided I really wanted to go to New York or LA and I knew that I needed a reason to leave. So I auditioned for grad schools and I spent two-and-half-years in San Diego at the Old Globe theatre in their Master’s program. It was a lot of work because you understudy many roles in the Old Globe season while you’re also taking classes. There were three separate productions that I actually had to go on for. It was a little unusual. I don’t think many students had the chance to go on and it was really an adrenaline rush when one of us did.

Understudying those roles at the Old Globe was one of the most informative things that has ever happened to me.  I’ve always felt pretty strongly about any role that I approach based on what I see on the page. As an understudy, you’re paired with another actor, and as far as making decisions, their opinion is more important to the production, but you get to bounce ideas directly off that person.  Sometimes I disagreed with the choices the actor made and that was as informative as anything.  One of the most challenging things about understudying is figuring out how another actor came to a particular choice, and sometimes you would come to see their way and sometimes you wouldn’t. That gave me strength and confidence.

You ultimately came to New York, didn’t you?

When we were graduating from the Old Globe, we did a showcase in LA in 2001 and not very many agents attended but when we did it in New York, it was highly attended. I had different meetings that I went on with different agencies and that is still to this day the single most fortunate thing that has ever happened to me as an actor. I struggle when actors ask me about getting an agent. For me, there was some luck involved or at least some good fortune as far as the people who were attending these showcases. The right person attended for me and it was a good match.

Did you get work right away?

As soon as I moved to New York in November of 2001, I went on my very first audition which was for this version of Kafka’s The Castle at Manhattan Ensemble Theatre.  It was very little money but it was hugely important to me to be thrust into a working environment and to meet so many working actors. It made me feel like I was on the right path and running in the right company. From there my career started moving into different directions: I started doing commercials and I did a couple of regional theatre shows at La Jolla Playhouse and did a couple of smaller parts in independent movies. One of them was Garden State which was seen by a lot of people and, again, that was just fortunate. Then I started booking a lot of pilots for television and some didn’t get picked up and then one of them did and that brings us to today.

You were on Broadway in The Normal Heart last summer—correct?

I get summers off from working on The Big Bang Theory. Last summer, I thought I hit the jackpot. The Normal Heart was running in the exact time that I was going to be away from The Big Bang Theory. It had a creative team, mostly George Wolfe, who said, “I’m okay with him only arriving in New York six days before the preview.”  That was kind of a head-over-heels experience for me; it exceeded my wildest expectations. I used to say when we were doing The Normal Heart it was exactly what I wanted to be a part of when I was a young actor. It was a real ensemble effort, a team. You’re part of a group of people passionately committed to telling this story the most honest way they can, and passionately committed to the vision of the director.

How did you respond to Harvey when you first read it?

In my mind, the story of the play is not hard to follow, but it has the possibility of going much deeper into the heart of an audience. That is very exciting and I am thrilled to get to be a part of it.

I’m curious about your take on Elwood. It seems like everyone loves him and yet he needs this imaginary friend. Do you have an opinion on that?

I can see why you would think that he seems to need this friend, but I think a choice has been made. Elwood says a few things that imply that.

There’s this line that he has, “I wrestled with reality for years, and I’m happy to say I finally won out over it,” and another line is, “For years I was smart, I recommend pleasant.” His mother would always say, “You need to be very smart or very pleasant.” It seems to me that there’s this switch that happened for Elwood. It’s not explicit, and I’m certainly not married to the idea, but it seems like Harvey appeared soon after the death of Elwood’s mother. Someone says, “He always took things so easily, he took change so easily, the appearance of the white rabbit he took so easily.” There is something so lovely that this pooka appeared and he stepped into the opportunity and this is where it’s led him.

You don’t hear a lot of the other characters talk about Elwood being unpleasant. They say that they liked him, but it seems to me that he must not have been as happy in the past as he is in his current state. If there is one thing that you can say for sure, it’s that he is very happy. He’s in no hurry, why would he be? If you’re in too much of a hurry, then you don’t enjoy the people around you, you don’t really take them in. There’s nothing that is anxiously driving Elwood. The only thing driving him is to make these connections with people, with strangers. This is something that I think intrigued me as much as anything about doing this role. I love the chance to step into this character. He takes opportunities to spend time with others and to discover other people’s dreams, their hurts, their worries, their whatever, and, in the process, he doesn’t really state any of his own. He doesn’t seem to have any. Of course, it’s possible that once we start rehearsal, I’ll find that he does have all of the above, but I don’t see that right now.

I think you have a very cogent understanding of Elwood. Some people might say he’s just a happy drunk, but I think what’s motivating him is bigger than that.  I think that’s one of the reasons this play won the Pulitzer Prize in 1945 and is still so popular. It seems to hit a chord in people about the way we’re living. It seems to say that there is a simpler, gentler way for us all to live.

I think it’s one of the reasons it’s such a good play for right now. I won’t pretend to know the social implications of why. I speak more from a general buzz of a feeling than anything else.  After reading this script and thinking about it for a moment and letting it have an effect on you, you feel a hint of something. That’s why I feel Elwood has made a choice.  If you don’t want to miss out on certain things in this world, if you want to experience this world in a certain way, you have to make that choice. I don’t know if he’s gotten off the train as it were, but he’s certainly protected himself.

One of the things I love, and I guess you could call it a deus ex machina, is when the cab driver comes in at the end and says, “Lady, after this, he’ll be a perfectly normal human being and you know what bastards they are!” I think that has a lot to say.

I think you’re absolutely right. This idea of yes, you can change Elwood and you can make him more aware of all the things in the world that you want him to be aware of, but you need to understand that he won’t be the same. For any embarrassment or awkwardness he’s bringing to your life, there’s a good chance that if you take that away, you will also take away the joy and lightness that he brings to your life at the same time.

Elwood’s really an amazing creation. The audience falls in love with him because he’s unconventional and yet, people still have issues with those who are different.

There have been huge societal changes that have happened from 100 years ago and even 50 years ago, but it doesn’t seem to ever stop. It’s one of those ongoing, organic things; there’s always going to be differences between people. There’s always going to be another way of doing things that rattles your own and that needs further investigating on your part and, ideally, acceptance. I think that’s another reason this story survived so well — that conflict is forever. There’s always a battle for acceptance going on.

Is there anything else you would like to add about the play or Elwood?

I feel like there’s a wealth of interpretations as to what’s going on in this play. I feel that everyone will have their own take on what it is that they are or are not seeing.  I don’t think the audience will be able to pinpoint the why of everything that they see. That’s the beautiful thing about this play and something I’m drawn to. I’m excited about making specific choices and I’m equally excited about the idea of working with Harvey. My greatest hope is that he is made clear to the audience.

COVER STORIES: JIM PARSONS – WATCH! MAGAZINE

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FIVE SEASONS INTO PLAYING supergenius Dr. Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory, Jim Parsons still isn’t any good at physics. Admittedly a poor science student back in his native Texas, Parsons notes that even now “it isn’t any easier” embodying TV’s smartest, most lovable curmudgeon. Because when it comes to the brainiac jargon he is expected to spout, “the scripts have not gotten any less challenging.”
What does come naturally to the 38-year-old actor is comedy. Although Parsons is quick to credit the Big Bang writers for their ongoing insights into Sheldon’s beautiful mind (“I will never understand in a logical sense the depth of Sheldon’s peculiarities like the writers do. I’m very much at their mercy,” he says), it is he who takes the writers’ basic elements and, through the most gifted actor’s alchemy, turns the character into comedy gold. Imbuing Sheldon with a combination of innocence and self- assurance, Parsons cleverly makes a character who could have been abrasive impossible to resist. “The thing that’s fun about playing Sheldon is that he’s so decisive,” he says. “He so clearly knows what he wants, and what his opinion is on any matter.” Actually, Parsons notes, in the past two seasons Sheldon has begun having a few unsure moments, often catalyzed by his new “girlfriend.” With the addition of Mayim Bialik’s Amy Farrah Fowler as his intellectual—and, to a lesser extent, romantic—foil, Parsons says he feels privileged that lately, “every once in a while, we’re doing a scene and it feels as if the work is allowed to be a little deeper and richer than it was in the past.”

Emmy voters certainly seem to be of the same mind-set, awarding Parsons the statuette for Best Actor in a Comedy in each of the past two years. “I was flabbergasted and just so honored to be invited to these awards shows at all as a nominee. And then to win—who has those kinds of expectations? I certainly didn’t. You just do your job,” the actor says. “That’s why I still feel like, on a certain level, it must have happened to somebody else. Sally Field or Kelsey Grammer, they win things like that.”

When Parsons squeezed in a Broadway run last summer of The Normal Heart—he also will appear in Harvey this spring—he was able to assure producers that after conquering Sheldon’s science-laden tirades, he’d have no problem with the play’s lengthy monologues. “If there’s one thing that I am currently good at, it’s memorizing like a machine,” he notes. So will there be more plays in his future? Or, perhaps, movies? “I’ll keep going on essentially the same way I got here,” Parsons says plainly. And then, taking a very un-Sheldon-like approach: “I’m just going to continue following my instincts, and my heart.” — Jim Colucci

Jim Parsons and Kristin Chenoweth to Announce 2012 Tony Award Nominees

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Kristin Chenoweth, the Tony Award-winning star of ABC-TV’s GCB and Emmy winner Jim Parsons (Broadway-bound in a revival of Harvey) will co-host the announcement of the 2012 Tony nominations on Tuesday, May 1. The event will be broadcast live at 8:30 AM by NY 1 from the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

Chenoweth is a Tony winner for You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown and received an additional Tony nomination forWicked. She most recently appeared on Broadway in the 2010 revival ofPromises, Promises.

Parsons, an Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner for The Big Bang Theory, made his Broadway debut last season in The Normal Heart. He is set to begin previews on May 18 in Roundabout Theatre Company’s production of Harvey.

The 66th annual Tony ceremony, presented by the Broadway League and American Theatre Wing, will be held on June 10 at the Beacon Theatre, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris and telecast live by CBS-TV.