Esperanza Hurley Shines in Wyatt Hamilton’s ‘Harvey’ [VIDEOS]

When you’re a creative, something magical happens when an artist gets to work in their favorite medium. For our niece, Esperanza Hurley, this happens when she steps on stage to perform like she did in last weekend’s “Harvey.” 

Octavia Williams and Jasmine Warren in HARVEY

Veta Louise Simmons (Octavia Williams, left) tells her daughter, Myrtle May (Jasmine Warren, right) that she’ll take care of Elwood once and for all. (Photo by Jathan Fink, Jadeworks Entertainment)

We always knew she was a ham at home with family, that she had great comic timing and that she had a flair for the dramatic. But when she made her acting debut in the new Wyatt Hamilton production, it was the first time we got to see her get into character.

Yes, we’re the proud aunt and uncle, definitely. Yet we’re also huge theater buffs and can easily identify when someone has been bitten by the acting bug, and when they have that star quality many people call “it.” Esperanza possesses that, as do several of her fellow actors.

Victor Vargas, who played the lead as Elwood P. Dowd, is confident and poised, and quietly charmed the audience (and Nurse Kelly) as the debonair, affable bachelor whose best friend is a six-foot-tall invisible pooka named Harvey.

Octavia Williams is a phenomenal character actress who played Elwood’s sister, Veta Louise Simmons. She brought heart and aplomb to a complex role, portraying a widow who is torn between affection for her brother and wanting to please her difficult daughter.

Esperanza surprised us all, however, in her turn as Nurse Ruth Kelly, a beautiful woman who is by turns flirtatious, funny, and vulnerable. She works with the chauvinistic Dr. Lyman Sanderson, yet is drawn to the charismatic Elwood as soon as she meets him.

Wyatt Hamilton‘s  strong direction brought “Harvey” to life as he pushed his actors to reach new heights, making for a very enjoyable evening of comic theater. A veteran actor, he turned to education two years ago after performing in Louisville, Ky. for years. He now works at Arkansas High School as the Drama teacher.

As Esperanza’s family, we noticed how acting has impacted her personally too. Graceful and confident, she approached her role with zeal, while offstage her savoir faire remains intact and she is more polished and mature than ever before.

Victor Vargas and Esperanza Hurley in HARVEY

Elwood P. Dowd (Victor Vargas, left) charms Nurse Ruth Kelly (Esperanza Hurley, right) in the waiting room at Chumley’s Rest. (Photo by Jathan Fink, Jadeworks Entertainment)

Esperanza, Octavia and Victor are all stellar examples of why the arts play such an important part in our schools. Through programs like this they learn the importance of teamwork and the art of public speaking. But they also gain self-assurance, and find outlets for their creativity.

Now the sky’s the limit for these talented kiddos, and we want to thank Mr. Hamilton for everything he’s done for them. It takes great mentors like him to achieve big dreams, and he’s given them a step up toward reaching the stars.

Now Octavia can go on to college after graduation where she plans to study drama, according to Esperanza. Meanwhile, both she and Victor will keep working at the high school level, mapping out dreams and auditioning for future productions. We can’t wait to see what they accomplish next!

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About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

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