Steven Hobbs, left, and Ethan Wright, right, in character for the rehearsal of the Sandy River Players’ production of “You Can’t Take It with You.” Cast members stand around the room waiting for their queue to enter the scene. Brian Ponce/Franklin Journal

FARMINGTON — The Sandy River Players will be presenting “You Can’t Take it With You”, a comedic play in three acts written by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, at the Emery Community Arts theater in Farmington.

There will be six showings and the dates and times are as follows: Friday, Jan. 12, Saturday, Jan. 13, Friday, Jan. 19, and Saturday, Jan. 20 at 7 p.m.; Sunday, Jan. 14 and Sunday, Jan. 21 at 2 p.m.

The Emery Community Arts theater is located on the University of Maine at Farmington campus, next to Dearborn Gymnasium, and is accessible from both Academy Street and High Street. Adult admission is $18, with seniors and children admission $14 and UMF students $10.

The production is helmed by Kyla Wheeler, who had previously worked with the Sandy River Players and is known for her work with the Teacher’s Lounge Mafia. Wheeler had starting working with the Sandy River Players when she was roughly 13 years old working behind the scenes in stage productions and directing. By her account, she has been associated with the theater company for 25 years.

“More recently, I took a few years off,” Wheeler told The Franklin Journal. “I had a job where I was on call weeknights, and I just couldn’t devote as much time.”

Wheeler said she was able to return to the Sandy River Players after moving back into a job with a traditional office setting, allowing her to contribute to the stage productions. She has assisted in a few productions over the last few years, but this year’s production of “You Can’t Take it With You” will see her directing, which she hasn’t done in roughly eight years by her account.


Steve Hobbs during rehearsal on Tuesday, Jan. 2, for the Sandy River Players’ production of “You Can’t Take It with You.” In this scene, Hobbs’ character Martin Vanderhof gets a visit from the IRS. Brian Ponce/Franklin Journal

The play was chosen for production in June, with auditions and rehearsals beginning in late September to early October, Wheeler stated. She added that the players had responded well to the play and managed to run through the play before taking a break for the holidays.

During their practice, which took place in the music room at Cascade Brook School, Wheeler also said they wouldn’t get a chance for a full rehearsal on the stage at Emery Community Arts theater until the week of the performance. All told, they will have four rehearsals before they go on stage for opening night, but Wheeler feels confident about the cast and crew.

The play is centered on the eccentric Vanderhof-Sycamore-Carmichael family, and is set during the 1930s. The curious and whimsical family features Grandpa Vanderhof, a whimsical old man who keeps snakes and has never paid his income tax. Steve Hobbs, who is playing Grandpa Vanderhof, says the cast has been having a lot of fun with the production and they are looking forward to presenting the show.

“It’s a great show,” Hobbs said. “It’s just one of those great comedies that have gone through the time, since 1936. It’s just a wonderful show, and we’re really looking forward to it. I think it’s going to be very interesting, and hopefully a lot of humor.”

“A lot of humor,” Ann Smith, who will be performing as The Grand Duchess Olga Katrina, added. “It’s hilarious, and it has a good message. It’s worth coming just to hear the message.”

For more information on the production, or to purchase tickets, visit the Sandy River Players Facebook page,

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