“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 the Roundabout 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.”
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The two-time Emmy winner has been in a relationship with his boyfriend Todd Spiewak for a decade.