AUBURN — “You Can’t Take It with You” is a popular comedy classic with the eccentric Vanderhof/Sycamore family living in New York City. Auditions will be held at 6 p.m. Sunday. March 1, and at 7 p.m. Monday. March 2, upstairs on the second floor of The Community Little Theatre, 30 Academy St. Doors open at 5 p.m. Sunday and at 6 p.m. Monday.

Set in 1936, the play centers on the home of Martin Vanderhof and his extended family – a brood that “goes on about the business of living life in the fullest sense of the word.” The play opens with the everyday ordinary lives of the family: plays being written; candies being made; ballet performed to the music of a xylophone; snakes being fed; fireworks going off in the basement; communist propaganda being printed – the usual.

Things start happening when Martin’s younger granddaughter, Alice, announces the imminent arrival of Tony Kirby into their lives. Tony wants to marry Alice, but she knows that her family is the antithesis of Tony’s family because he is the son of her boss, the wealthy founder and owner of Kirby and Company. As preparations proceed for the two families to meet, plans are thwarted as the Kirbys arrive for dinner on the wrong evening (accidently?).

Proverbial hilarity ensues – hot dogs are sent for; dull honeymoons and sex are discussed; a Russian ballet master wrestles Mr. Kirby to the floor – the usual. When all seems hopeless, government agents show up and arrest everyone. In the end, it is not just Alice and Tony’s love that wins the day. The true winners are the love of family, the love of friends, and above all, the love of life. A happy ending brings the families together and even includes a tax refund.

“You Can’t Take It with You” by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart originally premiered on Broadway in 1936, won the 1937 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and was adapted for the screen in 1938, winning an Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Director. The shows revival in 2015 earned many Tony nominations, including Best Revival of a Play and Best Direction.

Nakesha “Kay” Warren is the director; assistant director, Jackie McDonald; producer, Emily Flynn; and stage manager, Christopher Dostie

Characters are as follows:

Penelope Sycamore: Usually goes by Penny, Penelope is the mother of Essie and Alice, wife of Paul, and daughter of Martin. She writes plays and paints as hobbies because it makes her happy, but is terrible at both. Penny is a loving mother and wife who is constantly concerned with the welfare of her family. Her main goal is to make sure everyone is happy, particularly her daughter Alice.

Paul Sycamore: Father of Essie and Alice, husband of Penny, son-in-law of Martin. He is a tinkerer who manufactures fireworks in the basement with the help of his assistant Mr. De Pinna. His hobby is playing with erector sets.

Essie Carmichael: Wife of Ed, daughter of Penny and Paul Sycamore, granddaughter of Martin, sister of Alice. She is child-like. As a hobby she makes candy that Ed sells. Essie dreams of being a ballerina. She has spent eight years studying with Boris Kolenkhov but is a terrible dancer.

Ed Carmichael: Husband of Essie, son-in-law of Paul and Penny. He is a xylophone player and distributes Essie’s candies. Ed is an amateur printer who prints anything that sounds ‘catchy’ to him. He prints up dinner menus for his family and little quotes that he places in the boxes of Essie’s candy. He also likes to make masks.

Rheba: The African-American maid and cook to the Sycamore family. She is treated almost like a part of the family. She is dating Donald. In the words of Mrs. Sycamore, “The two of them are really cute together, something like Porgy and Bess.”

Mr. De Pinna: The ice man who came inside to speak to Paul eight years before and never left. He helps Mr. Sycamore build fireworks, and moonlights as a model in Mrs. Sycamore’s paintings.

Donald: The African-American boyfriend of Rheba, who seems to serve as volunteer handyman for the Sycamores.

Martin Vanderhof: Referred to mostly as Grandpa in the play. Father-in-law to Paul, father of Penny, grandfather of Alice and Essie. He is an eccentric happy old man who has never paid his income tax because he doesn’t believe in it, as he feels that the government wouldn’t know what to do with the money if he paid it. Once a successful businessman, he left his job 35 years prior for no reason other than to just relax. He lives his life by the philosophy “don’t do anything that you’re not going to enjoy doing.” He goes to circuses, commencements, throws darts and collects stamps.

Alice Sycamore: Fiancée of Tony Kirby, daughter of Paul and Penny, granddaughter of Martin, sister of Essie. She is the only “normal” member of the extended family. She has an office job and is rather embarrassed by the eccentricities of her family when she has Tony and his parents at her house, yet she still loves them. She tends to be a pessimist.

Tony Kirby: Fiancé of Alice, son of Mr. and Mrs. Kirby. He sees how, even though the Sycamores appear odd, they are really the perfect family because they love and care about each other. His own family is proper and has many issues none of them will admit. He is vice president of Kirby and Co.

Anthony W. Kirby: Husband of Mrs. Kirby, father of Tony. He is a proper man who is president of Kirby and Co. and secretly despises his job. His hobby is raising expensive orchids. He is also a member of the Harvard Society, the Union Club, the National Geographic Society and the Racquet Club.

Miriam Kirby: Wife of Mr. Kirby, mother of Tony. She is an extremely prim and proper woman and is horrified by the goings-on in the Sycamore household. Her hobby is spiritualism.

Boris Kolenkhov: A Russian who escaped to America shortly before the Russian Revolution. He is concerned with world politics, and the deterioration of Russia. He is the ballet instructor of Essie, aware that she is untalented at dancing, but knows that she enjoys dancing so he keeps working with her. He admires the ancient Greeks and the Romans, questions society, and is interested in world affairs.

Gay Wellington: An actress whom Mrs. Sycamore meets on a bus and invites home to read one of her plays. She is an alcoholic, gets drunk and passes out shortly after arriving at the Sycamore home.

Wilbur C. Henderson: An employee of the IRS. He comes to collect the tax money owed by Grandpa and can’t understand why the latter won’t pay income tax.

The Grand Duchess Olga Katrina: She was one of the Grand Duchesses of Russia before the Revolution, another being her sister, the Grand Duchess Natasha. Since then she has been forced to flee to America where she has found work as a waitress in Childs Restaurant. The rest of her family has had a similar fate, such as her Uncle Sergei, the Grand Duke, who is now an elevator operator. She loves to cook as a hobby.

G-Man 1 (The Man), G-Man 2 (Jim), G-Man 3 (Mac): Three agents who come to investigate Ed because of the communist origin of some of the ‘catchy’ quotes he printed and placed in Essie’s candy boxes, such as “God is the State – the State is God.”


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