Shortly after I moved to Folsom in 2013, my daughter took me to Sutter Street Theatre to see the play “Visiting Mr. Green.” I thought it was one of the best shows I’d seen, mainly because Mr. Green, played by Stephen Kauffman, made me completely believe in this sad old man. Kauffman was awarded a best lead actor Elly Award for his performance.
Since then I have become a regular at Sutter Street and soon learned that every year I would be seeing Kauffman, directed or co-directed by his wife Janelle, in what I came to expect to be Sutter Street’s best non-musical play of the season. Kauffman owns Neil Simon, appearing in “God’s Favorite” and “The Sunshine Boys” and at Chautauqua in Carmichael in “The Prisoner of Second Avenue.” In addition to comedies, Kauffman is gripping in drama, playing the evil industrialist in Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons” and the ex-president in Gore Vidal’s “The Best Man.” Somewhere in his amazing career—he began acting at age 68 after 35 years as a trial lawyer and judge—he has appeared in more than 25 plays and musicals and taken home many best-actor awards.
Somewhere in all this he won a best-actor award as Elwood P. Dowd in Mary Chase’s classic comedy “Harvey,” and Folsom theater-goers have the great good fortune of seeing him reprise this role through August 13 at Sutter Street.
Kauffman has won so many awards because he is one of those outstanding actors who really becomes the character he portrays. He is so much the charming Dowd, with his winning jump-for-joy when he makes someone happy, that you long for him to invite you to have a drink with him at a local dive. You know that if you did, he would be the same charmer you saw on stage, and you know he would take delight in introducing you to Harvey, his six-foot tall invisible rabbit friend.
Helping to bring this play, expertly directed by Kauffman’s wife Janelle, to life is an ensemble of perfectly cast supporting actors. The most…