PCPA – Pacific Conservatory Theatre presents Kaufman and Hart’s delightful comedy You Can’t Take It With You playing in the Marian Theatre in Santa Maria February 16 – March 5, 2017.
You Can’t Take It With You is a batty reflection on the madness of sanity in a mad world and it remains as insightful and delightful as when it first graced the stage. It’s a heart-felt comedy that resonates with a 21st century audience in need of a laugh.
Tony, attractive young son of the unhappily affluent Kirbys, falls in love with Alice Sycamore and brings his parents to dine at her joyous quirky home, on the wrong evening. In a house where you do as you like, no questions asked, they encounter the open circle of Sycamore family and friends – novel novelist, devoted dancer, ballet master, ex-Grand Duchess waitress, amateur printer, tax evaders, society shirkers and free thinkers – and the evening explodes into hysterical, and all too real, fireworks.
You Can’t Take It With You cast includes Resident Artists Polly Firestone Walker as Penelope Sycamore, Karin Hendricks as Essie, Don Stewart* as Paul Sycamore, George Walker as Ed, Peter S. Hadres* as Martin Vanderhof, Andrew Philpot* as Boris Kolenkhov, Katie Wackowski as Gay Wellington, Brad Carroll as Mr. Kirby, and Kitty Balay* as Mrs. Kirby.
The show is directed by Roger DeLaurier with scenic design by Jason Bolen, costumes by Eddy L. Barrows, lights by Tim Thistleton, sound by Andrew Mark Wilhelm with Production Stage Manager Ellen Beltramo*
Director Roger DeLaurier said that the 1930s writing team of Kaufman and Hart utilized every form of comedy available to them to create this zany show, starting with farce. “In the first nine pages of the play there are 29 entrances and exits. That’s pure farce. It starts there, but we have slapstick comedy, we have comedy of language, some very American vaudeville rhythm jokes with set ups and punch lines, and then situational and character comedy along with running sight gags. And it bounces back and forth. It just has the whole arsenal of comedic techniques contained in it,” DeLaurier observed. At its basic level, the play is just a warm-hearted American play that looks at very American values of work ethics, money, achievement, and status, and how that affects your own true happiness.
The Sycamore family is a quirky household. Grandpa Vanderhof has raised some red flags with the IRS. His primary goal is to enjoy life, which he realized 35 years ago when he quit his job at 35 because work was interfering with his fun.
Most of the family members live up to the ideal of doing what you please instead of worrying about the outside world. Grandpa Vanderhof’s daughter, Penelope, also has a carefree attitude and wants to make sure everyone is happy. She has taken up novel writing after a typewriter was mistakenly delivered to her. That forced her to put her previous passion, painting, on the back burner. Her zeal for both art forms far exceeds her abilities.
Husband Paul Sycamore is obsessed with creating the perfect fireworks in his basement. Daughter Essie makes confections and has decided, at the age of 29, to seriously take up ballet, but, after 8 years of study, is still a terrible dancer. Her instructor is the boisterous Boris Kolenkhov who fled to America shortly before the Russian Revolution. He is most interested in world politics and understands his pupil will never be a great dancer.
Another adopted family member is Mr. De Pinna who delivered ice five years ago and never left. He assists Mr. Sycamore in his pursuit of the perfect firework and occasionally models for Mrs. Sycamore’s paintings.
Son-in-law Ed, husband of Essie, is in love with his xylophone and printing press. He prints the families’ dinner menus and whimsical quotes he makes up and places in Essie’s candy boxes which he cheerfully sells around town.
Daughter Alice Sycamore seems the most level headed of the family with her Wall Street job. She’s about to be engaged to the boss’s son, Tony Kirby. Tony’s straight-laced father and mother, Mr. and Mrs. Kirby, have been invited to the Sycamore’s for a dinner date but they show up on the wrong night.
“A portrait of tax-dodging, rule-defying, work-evading, good-hearted folk who live only to please themselves and suffer no serious consequences, You Can’t Take It With You is one of the most persuasive works of pure escapism in Broadway history.”
–New York Times
“You Can’t Take It With You is a time-released happy pill. Welcome side effects include laughing yourself silly during the play. Those giggles recur days later when you recall the antics of the Sycamores. …endearing and endlessly witty comedy about the joys of love, family, and bucking the trend.”
–New York Daily News
Pay What You Can Performance on Sunday February 19 at 1:30pm.
You Can’t Take It With You is generously sponsored by
Richard & Jean Jacoby and Ron & Mary Nanning.