“You Can’t Take it With You” Opens WFU Theatre Season

Wake Forest University Theatre will open its season with “You Can’t Take It With You,” the 1930s madcap comedy about an offbeat Manhattan family, on Friday, Sept. 26.

Performances of the farce by George Kaufman and Moss Hart run through Sunday, Oct. 5.

In the play, Alice Sycamore’s (junior Catherine Justice) hopes of marrying the son of her boss are almost lost when he (sophomore Brad Stephenson) and his family drop in on her family unexpectedly.

Heading the wacky Sycamore family is Grandpa Vanderhof (sophomore Adrian Greene), who for 35 years has pursued his favorite hobbies-snake hunting, dart throwing and tax evasion. Alice’s mother, Penelope Sycamore (senior Elizabeth Thalhimer), has become a playwright because a typewriter was delivered by mistake to her house. Her husband, Paul (junior Drew Droege), manufactures fireworks in the basement with Mr. De Pinna (junior Kyle Haden), a long-time houseguest. Essie (junior Linda Kryzewski) practices ballet in the living room, while Ed (McHenry Kane) writes revolutionary propaganda to distribute with the candy he sells.

Donald Wolfe, chair of Wake Forest’s theatre department, directs the play. Of presenting a 1930s play in the ’90s, he said, “One of the things I am impressed with is how accepting the students are of these bizarre characters.”

When it was first presented in the Depression era, the play “shook up the sense of what family life should be,” Wolfe said. “But, it is really a Cary Grant sort of romance where love is young and beautiful and innocent.”

“You Can’t Take It With You” won the Pulitzer Prize for best play in 1936 and the movie version won an Academy Award two years later.

All performances begin at 8 p.m. on the Main Stage in Scales Fine Arts Center, except an Oct. 5 matinee performance at 2 p.m. Tickets, available at the theater box office (910-759-5295), are $10; $5 for students. The box office is open weekdays from 12-5:30 p.m.

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