POSTED BY ALTON TELEGRAPH
ALTON — Though there may be times when parents or siblings embarrass you, make you angry, or even do something you think you can never forgive or forget, usually, it isn’t long before you are all back on speaking terms.
After all, they are your people; your folks; your clan. Your family.
“You Can’t Take It With You,” by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman, opening at Marquette Catholic High School Thursday, Nov. 17, offers a comedic example of the roller coaster ride of emotions that can happen among family members. Relationships can go up and down, around and around, but hopefully, will end with a happy compromise.
“Timing is everything in this fast-paced, three-act play,” said Loftin C. Woodiel, director of the Marquette production.
The story focuses on two contrasting families — the delightful Sycamores, and the unhappy Kirbys. When the Kirby’s attractive son, Tony, falls in love with Alice Sycamore, he brings his parents to dine at the Sycamore home — on the wrong evening.
The Kirbys are shocked that they are invited to eat cheap food, and Alice realizes that marriage to Tony is out of the question. Her family does not agree. Meanwhile, Tony will not give up Alice because he knows the Sycamores are right and his own family is wrong. In the end, Mr. Kirby is converted to the happy madness of the Sycamores, particularly after stopping by during a visit by an ex-Grand Duchess, now earning her living as a waitress.
Strange or unusual activities and items raise questions about what else is going on in the household, like the manufacture of fireworks; a printing press set up in the parlor; Rheba the maid and her friend, Donald; and Grandpa’s interview with the tax collector, whom he tells he doesn’t believe in “the income tax,” all resulting in a hilarious “coming to terms” with each other and differences that can sometimes bring people together.
“When you first meet the Sycamore family you believe they are nuts, but as it moves into the second act, you realize they are not crazy, they are very simply — your family,” Woodiel said.
Penelope Sycamore is portrayed by Margaret Sommerhof; Essie Carmichal by Emma Mattix-Wand; Rheba — Trinity Brooks; Paul Sycamore — Joseph File; DePina — Catherine Hamilton; Ed Carmichal — Samantha Moore; Donald — Kelcey Johnson; Martin Vanderhof – Anthony Shepard; Alice Sycamore – Hayley File; Henderson – Alaina Cribbett; Tony Kirby — Skylar Cribbett; Boris Kolenkhov — Jacob Figueroa; Gay Wellington — Helen Mormino; Anthony Kirby, Sr. — Owen Fahnestock; Mrs. Kirby — Taryn Fox; The J Woman — Anna Grace; and a team of J Women is made up of Iyla Blankenship, Ryann Jenkins-LaFlore, Grace Ruyle, Olga Katrina and Abigail Fahnestock. Understudies for various roles are Darryl Hunter, Fox, Fahnestock, Katrina, and Alice Sycamore.
“I am blessed with a very strong cast capable of delivering the most unusual of fervent characters,” Woodiel said.
Crew members include Mattix-Wand, who is the stage manager; stage crew — Brittany Jacobsmeyer, Faith Griffon, Shannon O’Neill and Katelyn Maher; Fahnestock is the properties manager; costume manager — Ikeyah Edwards; technical managers — Dexter Elmendorf and Jon Podner; technical crew — Elizabeth Wurth, Hunter, Sarah St. John and Ashley Koelker; and cosmetology manager and crew — Abigail Whitelaw, Keelie Stork, Katherine Droste and Rhiannon Robinson.
Producer of the production is Cynthia E. Woodiel; visual arts are by faculty member Molly Velikis and the art club.
Hart had his first Broadway smash in 1930 with the farce, “Once in a Lifetime,” also written with Kaufman. The two teamed up on several hits, including “You Can’t Take It with You” in 1936 (which won a Pulitzer Prize), and “The Man Who Came to Dinner” in 1939. Hart’s biggest success was the musical, “My Fair Lady” in 1956, adapted from George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion,” which won the Tony Award for Best Musical, while Hart won the Tony for Best Director.
Kaufman’s first successful play was “Dulcy” in 1921, co-authored with Marc Connelly. Kaufman was often referred to as “The Great Collaborator” because he most often wrote plays with a co-writer.
Kaufman created two Marx Brothers shows, “The Cocoanuts” and “Animal Crackers,” both in 1929 with Morrie Ryskind, and “Of Thee I Sing!” in 1931, a political satire, also written with Ryskind and Ira and George Gershwin that became the first musical to win the Pulitzer Prize. As a director, one of Kaufman’s biggest hits was “Guys and Dolls” in 1950.
“You Can’t Take it With You,” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17, to Saturday, Nov. 19, at Marquette Catholic High School, 219 E. Fourth St., Alton. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $5 for adults; $3 for children 5 and older. Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance at www.marquettecatholic.org/artstickets.
If you go:
What: “You Can’t Take it With You,” presented by Marquette Catholic High School
When: 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 17 — Saturday, Nov. 19; doors 7 p.m.
Where: Marquette Catholic High School, 219 E. Fourth St., Alton
Info: Tickets cost $5 for adults; $3 for children 5 and older. Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance at www.marquettecatholic.org/artstickets.