CPVA offers award winning comedy You Can't Take It With You

Published: February 03, 2016 | Read Time: 4 minutes

When a girl from an eccentric family of spirited non-conformists falls in love with a boy from a conservative business pedigree the result can only be outright hilarity. SUU’s Department of Theatre Arts and Dance presents Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy You Can’t Take It With You. Directed by Richard Bugg, SUU Professor of Theatre Arts and founder of Cedar City’s Neil Simon Festival, the production is a zany clash of ideals, ambitions and romance. The laughter begins on Thursday, February 4 at 7:30pm. Performances continue on February 5, 6 and 8 at 7:30pm with a special Saturday matinee on February 6 at 2pm. The show will be performed at SUU’s Randall L. Jones Theatre.

Directed by co-author George S. Kaufman, You Can’t Take It With You opened on Broadway in the middle of the Great Depression on December 14, 1936 and ran for 838 performances. The play won the 1937 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It was adapted for film in 1938 and won Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director (Frank Capra) out of seven nominations. The timeless comedy has been revived on Broadway five times –- most recently in 2014 in an acclaimed production that received five Tony Award nominations. The popular comedy has been produced for television in four separate broadcasts beginning in the late 1940s.

The Vanderhof-Sycamore-Carmichael household in upper Manhattan is unique. Grandpa enjoys going to college commencements, tending to his snakes and avoiding paying his taxes. His daughter Penny pursues playwriting and painting with equal zest while her husband, Paul, manufactures fireworks in the basement. Their daughter, Essie, is a would-be ballerina and part-time candy maker, and her husband, Ed, is a xylophone player and delivery man for his wife’s candies. Then there is Alice Sycamore, Paul and Penny’s other daughter, who, despite the eccentricity thriving all around her, holds down a job in a highly respected New York business firm and has fallen in love with her boss, Tony Kirby. However their relationship is threatened when Tony insists that their families meet – resulting in a would-be dinner party that remains a high point in American comedy.      

Creating the colorful and eccentric environment of the comedy are scenic designer Brian Jude Beacom, costume designer Chyanne Christensen, lighting designer J.D.  Sargent, sound designer Ryan Turpin and properties master Ruth Faulkner. Kristine Nordby serves as the production’s stage manager assisted by Chris Stewart and Kat Taratko.  

You Can’t Take It With You marks the return of local favorite Dan Frezza to the SUU stage where he previously appeared as Shylock in The Merchant of Venice and in A Christmas Carol on the Air. Dan is also known for his numerous appearances at the Utah Shakespeare Festival with roles in Two Gentlemen of Verona, Richard II, King John, Loves Labors Lost, Mary Stuart, As You Like It, Coriolanus, Winter’s Tale and Measure for Measure to name a few. In the Kaufman and Hart comedy classic, Dan plays the beloved patriarch of the zany family, Martin Vanderhof.

The Sycamore family is portrayed by Tatem Trotter as Penny, Alex Grieg as Paul, Amber James as Alice, Brittany Reed as Essie, and Robert F. Wilson as Paul. The other members of eccentric household include Steve Turner as Mr. DePina, Kade Cox as Boris Kolenkhov, Kaitlyn Curry as Rheba and Justin Stockett as Donald. Joshua Leigh Hopkins plays Tony Kirby with Henry Ballesteros and Madeline Peck as his parents. The cast also includes Devin Anderson, Nicole Heath, Benjamin Knowlton, Max Kunz, Abigail Nakken and Parker Rawlins.    

Ticket prices for You Can’t Take It With You are $10 for Adults, $8 for Alumni with card and $5 for Youth. SUU Faculty, Staff and students are admitted free with a valid ID. Faculty and staff are entitled to bring one guest. The CPVA Flex Pass offers six admissions to any theatre, dance or music event and can be used for a single entrance to a production or can be used to admit six people to one event. The cost of the Flex Pass is $40 per pass (a $65 value). For tickets or the Flex Pass, call the SUU Ticket Office at (435) 586-7872, Monday-Friday, 8am-4:30pm, or purchase in person at the Centrum Arena box office. Single tickets may be purchased online at www.suu.edu/pva/arts. 

The 2015-2016 Theatre Arts & Dance Series includes the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning musical RENT and Elevated Movements: the Faculty-Choreographed Dance Concert.  

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