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story.lead_photo.caption Jack Harvey and Jennifer Wilson-Harvey are co-chairing Saints and Sinners, the Arkansas Repertory Theatre’s signature event. The couple promises good food and drinks and great entertainment at the Feb. 3 fundraiser. - Photo by John Sykes Jr.

Jennifer Wilson-Harvey and Jack Harvey are self-described theater lovers -- and they say the Arkansas Repertory Theatre is as good as or better than any other theater in a 300-mile radius.

Next month, the couple are chairing the Rep's premier fundraiser, the 2018 Saints and Sinners Gala.

"Jennifer and I both have been to Broadway theaters in New York many times and we typically go to New York to see theater. We might go for two nights to see four plays," Harvey says.

"It's the same kind of feel here," Wilson-Harvey adds of the Rep. "It's an intimate setting. This feels like a Broadway theater to me."

"And every play, whether it's a drama, a musical or whatever the venue, the actresses and actors are perfect," Harvey says, completing the thought. "Everything is so professional. For Little Rock to have a theater like this is, to me, very special."

Ticket holders for the Feb. 3 event are in for a one-time-only production written and directed by the Rep's production manager, Rafael Colon Castanera. The production, titled Believe, only will be shown at Saints and Sinners.

"It's a one-time shot," Wilson-Harvey says. "You don't get to see it any other time. It is not as if it's a little vignette from one of the other theater productions. It is created specifically for Saints and Sinners and that's the only time you are going to get to see it."

The story of Believe is being kept a secret, but the two gave away a few hints, saying it is the story of Castanera's childhood.

"This is his story," Wilson-Harvey says of Castanera. "It is called Believe and it's the story of a young boy learning how to believe in himself. He will probably shoot me for butchering his story.

"He doesn't want to give you the whole summary of the production, but it's about a little boy and growing up and he was a little fearful, a little shy, and he grows up in this production," she adds.

Wilson-Harvey is managing partner of Wilson & Associates law firm. Harvey is founder, president and chief executive office of Enterprise Financial Solutions Inc. Wilson-Harvey has two adult children -- Robert Martin Wilson III and Jillian Wilson -- who are both lawyers at Wilson & Associates.

Wilson-Harvey started attending productions at the Rep when the theater was in the old Hunter Memorial Methodist Church. The theater moved to its current location at 601 Main St. in 1988. Some of her favorite productions include Les Miserables, Mary Poppins and The Little Mermaid.

At past Saints and Sinners events, Wilson-Harvey bought the "walk-on" rights for two performances -- Evita and To Kill a Mockingbird. In Evita, she danced in a club scene. In To Kill a Mockingbird, she had a small speaking role.

In the scene, Wilson-Harvey played a juror who points to Jem and Scout in the balcony of the courtroom.

"They're up there, Atticus," was her only line.

"Jack and my parents and all my buddies were on the First Mezzanine when I said that," she says.

"It was kind of a serious part and we were all clapping and laughing when she said that," Harvey adds.

Harvey says he loves musicals and comedies. He is looking especially forward to Mamma Mia!, which opens at the Rep on March 16.

And they are both looking forward to seeing it on the Rep's stage.

"When you go to the theater in New York, you don't go to a theater that holds hundreds of people," she says. "This is that same intimate feel."

"There's not another one like it in 200 miles," he says.

"Maybe 300 miles," she answers.

"For Little Rock and central Arkansas, it is amazing that we have this," she says. "Truly."

The fundraising goal for Saints and Sinners is $450,000, Harvey says. That's the equivalent of about 10 percent of the Rep's annual operating budget.

"The Rep in the downtown area on the Main Street corridor is the cornerstone of the revitalization of this whole area and is very important to the community, very important to the economy," Harvey says. "It spins off a lot of restaurant revenue and hotel revenue."

About 600 people are expected to attend Saints and Sinners. Tickets are still available.

"We guarantee great food, great drinks, great fun and great entertainment," Harvey says.

To purchase tickets to Saints and Sinners, contact Fran Carter at (501) 378-0445, extension 204, or fcarter@therep.org. Tickets can also be purchased online at therep.org.

Photo by John Sykes Jr.
Jennifer Wilson-Harvey and Jack Harvey are avid theatergoers and are especially passionate about the Arkansas Repertory Theatre. This year, they are co-hosting the Rep’s Feb. 3 event, Saints and Sinners.

High Profile on 01/07/2018

Print Headline: Couple take starring roles in Saints and Sinners gala

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